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NEWS STORIES

Early snow believed to draw more tourists to NorthwoodsSubmitted: 02/28/2014
MINOCQUA - Many of us can't wait for the chilly temperatures to give way to spring.

But people in the tourism industry say the weather brought more visitors to the Northwoods at the end of 2013.

The Lakeland Area saw a $4,500 increase in room tax collected this past October, November and December.

That's compared to the same time last year.

Hotels and other places of lodging collect room tax on all accommodations.

People in the industry believe the increase was because of the early snowfall in early December.

"We think a large part of the reason that we experienced that increase was really due to our early snow-cover and heavy snow cover that allowed the snowmobile clubs to get the trails open. Most of the trails in Oneida County opened December 15th. That was very early considering it's usually about two weeks later at least that the trails open," Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kim Baltus.

The room tax rate in Arbor Vitae, Woodruff, Lake Tomahawk and Minocqua is 4%.

Three-quarters of that goes to the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce to promote the area.

The Chamber advertises heavily in the Chicago area and southern Wisconsin.

The cold weather isn't just drawing more people to the area now.

It also has many people thinking about the spring and summer.

"I've had many, many calls from people that are making those plans and they're anxious to start thinking about summer and coming up to the lake," added Baltus.

They hope the numbers will also be up for January, February and March.

January and February are the strongest winter months for tourism.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Hawkins Library incorporates science into their summer reading programSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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HAWKINS - You could face challenges trying to get kids to sit down and read during summer. But kids in Hawkins believe they're doing more than reading this summer. It's all part of a country wide theme called Fizz, Boom, Read.

"The whole idea is to get kids excited about reading, to keep them coming to the library to check out great books, and hopefully have some happy teachers at the end of the summer," says Hawkins Library Director Arlene Mabie.

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Accused driver had received license only weeks before deadly crash, case moves forwardSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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CRANDON - The case against an 18-year-old Laona man will go ahead after a Forest County judge found enough evidence to move forward Wednesday.

Austin Ginter, 18, faces reckless homicide charges in Forest County after a car crash killed 15-year-old Chance Harcus. Another 16-year-old girl was also injured in the July 13th car crash on Old 8 Road west of Crandon.

New information from a preliminary hearing Wednesday shows that Ginter only had his driver's license for two weeks before the crash.

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Family gets new houseSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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ANTIGO - Just a few months ago, the Moore Family was looking for a new affordable home. They filled out paperwork with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in Langlade County and were told yes.

"We look for a number of things; we look for an identified need, and the need for housing if the current housing is not serving the family's needs," said Langlade Habitat for Humanity President Paul Grinde.

For the home to become theirs, the Moore's must put in 500 sweat-equity hours divided between themselves and volunteers. Leaders say it doesn't matter what set of skills you have, all you need to do is donate a little bit of your time.

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Update-Man dead after being pulled from a Vilas County LakeSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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CONOVER - We now know the man pulled from the water of a Vilas County lake Wednesday died.

The Sheriff's Department says the man was in Upper Buckatabon Lake in Conover.

They now say the man collapsed over the side of his boat before being rescued from the water.

The first call to the sheriff's department yesterday afternoon said it appeared the man was hit by his own boat.

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Sokaogon Chippewa Health Fair draws attention to well-being on reservation with unique challengesSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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MOLE LAKE - Health workers often face different challenges on the Sokaogon Chippewa reservation in Mole Lake compared to elsewhere in the Northwoods.

"I think they're a little different. We have a (few) more challenges. Sometimes, for a lot of people, it's more crisis than prevention, or preventative services," said Tammy Queen, who works at the Sokaogon Chippewa Health Clinic. "A lot of times, they'll come in when something's bad instead of coming in before something gets really bad."

On Thursday, the tribe wanted to get people thinking about their health before problems occur.

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Phillips couple celebrates 75th wedding anniversary Submitted: 07/31/2014

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PHILLIPS - A Phillips couple proves that hard work and love can make a marriage last.

Russell and Dorothy Sawallish just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

The couple got married on July 29, 1939.

Over the years, the couple always seems to work through their problems together.

"You have your troubles and you work through them. We never had really serious, serious trouble. We had trouble but they got better," says Dorothy.

"God always settled our serious problems," Russell said.

Russell and Dorothy met when they were kids.

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Former school janitor will spend three years in prison for having child porn Submitted: 07/31/2014

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PHELPS - A former janitor for the School District of Phelps will spend three years in prison for having child porn.

Richard Buell, 62, pled guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography.

The district attorney dismissed the eight other counts of child pornography.

Buell will also spend three years on extended supervision.

He can't have any contact with children.

He also can't have access to a computer or the internet.

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