PHELPS - Imagine driving a snowmobile, while blindfolded.
"Not being able to see totally disorients you," racer Jeremiah Chmiel admits.
Another racer, Ray Kangas explains, "It's a freaky feeling cause you're only going by what someone is telling you."
This unique fundraiser came about in memory of Ken and Peto Buell. The Phelps community rallied around the idea.
Race Coordinator Cindy Regozzi is proud.
"Blindfolded snowmobiling race! We're a fun, goofy place and have lots of great ideas," Regozzi says. "That came up in a discussion one night and we tried it. That was last year and it was very successful so this is our second year."
This is the helmet the drivers used to go around the track. They assured me that once you put it on, you can't see a thing.
"There is absolutely zero vision," Chmiel adds. "If you're claustrophobic it's probably not the best thing to put on, cause there's nothing there."
The weather didn't cooperate, but the experience was like nothing else you've ever seen.
"It sounds scary, but once you do it, it's exciting and you'll want to do it again," racer Ron Buell proudly explains.
Three Phelps seniors are competing to win a scholarship from the money raised. The decision will be made based on academics, extra curriculars and community service.
Jackie Samuelson - a Phelps senior has big goals.
"I plan to go to the University of River Falls for Pre-veterinary medicine," Samuelson says. "I'm going to try everything I can to get a lot of scholarships and this is one that I'd greatly appreciate."
"Hopefully we can draw some more people, raise some more money," Buell points out. "Help these kids out and give them a better chance to go on in life."
MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.
Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!
"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."
Gardens need some help with large temperature swings in summer
RHINELANDER - Northwoods heat the past few days forced plants to endure different weather, but you don't need to do extra gardening just because it's hot.
Experts at Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander say plants can manage the heat just fine. On hot, sunny days, many plants will wilt, but that doesn't mean they need more water.
"If the soil is moist on a hot day, I wouldn't water more. That's probably more harm. The plant can only take up so much moisture at a time, so I would just hold off on watering," says Sue Hanson, Hanson's Garden Village Co-Owner.
WOODRUFF - Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wednesday, millions of Americans celebrated National Hot Dog day. That was the case in the Northwoods.
Hoggie Doggies Snack Shack is a staple in Woodruff. Their All-American favorite is the Chicago Style Dog.
The owner Judy Rossi has been there for 12 years and says they go through a lot of dogs.
"Last season we went through almost 17,000 hot dogs. This year we're on track for about 18,000," says Rossi. "Statistically we go through about 8 tons of potatoes in a season, which is close to 16,000 pounds for our homemade french fries. Those are some big numbers for this little place."
MADISON - Unemployment is up in all of Wisconsin's largest cities and most counties.
The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11.
Wisconsin's monthly unemployment rate in June was 5.7 percent, unchanged from May.
EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.
Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.
The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.
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