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Northwoods Spotlight - Packers Tailgate Tour in Merrill - Apr 23Submitted: 04/23/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas

Northwoods Spotlight - Packers Tailgate Tour in Merrill - Apr 23
MERRILL - The official Packers bus rolled into Merrill last weekend. It was the final stop of their 9th annual Tailgate Tour.

More than 650 fans of the green and gold were delighted to see current and former players up close.

"Fans come to watch us at games," Packers kicker Mason Crosby explains. "They come to where we are all the time. So this is really a cool experience to go out, go in the community and just tell them thank you."

Former Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey adds, "Every stop that we've had, the fans are all so hungry and just starving to see us."


"It's very important to us and that's why we come out and do these type of events," Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush said. "Just to let them know that we have their backs."

Travis Ziegel - one of the hundreds of Packers fans in attendance was excited.

"Being able to meet superstars, you know we're in the small town of Merrill," Ziegel explains. "There's not a whole lot of stuff that goes on around here and to get another autograph and add another thing to my collection, it's an incredible feeling."

It also gave the players a chance to reconnect in a relaxed atmosphere.

"There's not a lot of serious moments and that's the way we approached our football season too," Dickey said. "You've got to joke around and have a sense of humor. I could spend a lot of time with those two. They're a blast to be around."

Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy enjoys the tour every year.

"What I really enjoy is seeing the interaction between the current and former players. By the end of the week they really have established a bond and they realize there's not that much difference even though there's about 30 years difference in age."

The party raised close to 50 thousand dollars. One hundred percent of it will go to improve the Riverbend hiking and biking Trail.

"Part of our whole purpose is to provide a venue for people to be able to enjoy the recreational opportunities first," Gene Bebel of the River District Foundation explains. "But also for the economic development of the entire community."

Now that the fun is over, it's time to get back on the field. Offseason workouts begin this week and the first OTA's are scheduled for May 28.


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TOMAHAWK - Young aspiring writers got the chance to meet two authors over the weekend, and get some feedback from them. The Headwaters Reading Council held a Young Authors Festival at Tomahawk Elementary.

About 30 kids participated in the event. Each author held presentations on their books and explained the process of getting them published.

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RHINELANDER - A sustainability fair in Rhinelander connects people who want to keep the earth clean and healthy.
Organizers celebrated Earth Day by teaching people how they can accomplish that.
Abby Meyer came up from Green Bay for her first Sustainability Fair in Rhinelander Sunday. She sells all natural skin care products.

"It's the future of being able to have a planet, such great energy here," said Meyer.
Meyer and 42 other exhibitors feel energized to protect the earth.
"It's kind of interesting what other people do and the good they're doing for other people," said maple syrup vendor Leroy Schmieder.

Schmieder said being around people with the same mission is encouraging.
"It's kind of a community thing, you learn what everybody else is doing," said Schmieder.
Fair organizer Ann Eshelman said the fair teaches the community, but also brings people with a message together.
"They're providing something that we as a group think is valuable, they're kinda isolated," said Eshelman.
When the fair started eight years ago organizers wanted to end that isolation. Bringing vendors together to share their message, make connections, and walk away with new information.
"Giving each other jobs and work and supporting each other," said Meyer.

Eshelman believes that support is what the community needs to help move in the right direction.
"[It] can enable even ordinary Northwoods residents to do something for the earth," said Eshelman.
It can also show them that helping the environment starts at home.
"An important part of sustainability is helping out your community," said Meyer.

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RHINELANDER - All That Glitters opened for the first time this weekend in Rhinelander.
The store gives customers a chance to experience another culture.
Melody Majcherek decided to open the store after developing a love for henna and practicing at art fairs.
She said it took her two months to transform the store into a unique outlet.
"I wanted to create a space where people can walk in and feel like they have traveled to a different place and oasis. I think I accomplished that," said Majcherek.
People can buy henna tattoos products and other trinkets.
She incorporated cultures from India and Morocco by buying fabrics and products from there.
"Very unique with the different cultures. It's interesting, something different in Rhinelander. Something you don't see all the time," said shopper Chris Albrent.
The store is open Tuesdays through Sundays and is on Kemp Street.

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MINOCQUA - Some people in Minocqua noticed their water had a brown tint on Friday. The Lakeland Sanitary District says the water is clean and safe.

Crews were running fire hydrants to fix a water main. A well unexpectedly started and mixed iron into the water which left a brownish color. 

A superintendent from the sanitary district says water is now clear but If you do see color in your water run the cold faucet for a few seconds. 

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MADISON (AP) - A former driver for House Speaker Paul Ryan who has been active in Wisconsin Republican politics for years is running to succeed Ryan in Congress.

Bryan Steil is an attorney from Ryan's hometown of Janesville and a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. He becomes the likely Republican front-runner after the field of better-known potential candidates cleared for his entry.

Steil entered the race Sunday less than two weeks after Ryan said he would not seek re-election. Ryan said Friday he has no immediate plans to endorse in the primary.

Steil has been a regent since 2016 and also works as general counsel and secretary at a company that makes packaging for food and other consumer products.

Union iron worker Randy Bryce and Janesville teacher Cathy Myers are running as Democrats.


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TOMAH (AP) - A veterans affairs hospital in Wisconsin is using nontraditional therapies for pain and mental health as officials continue to address problems with over-prescribing medication at the facility.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the Tomah VA Medical Center is one of 18 veterans hospitals across the country launching the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Whole Health program.

Whole Health coaches help VA patients set personal health and wellness goals, address chronic pain, prevent illness or injury and treat mental health needs. The program also uses alternative therapies like tai chi, acupuncture and Healing Touch, which focuses on restoring a person's energy field.

The initiative comes four years after a veteran died at the facility from a mixture of prescribed drugs. Federal investigations found that some staff were over-prescribing drugs.

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RHINELANDER - A Northwoods radio station did something special to celebrate World Record Store Day. WXPR Public Radio created a pop-up record store in Rhinelander.

The temporary store was created inside Art Start and ran from 12 p.m. to four p.m. on Saturday. Organizers say listeners donated about 4,000 vinyl records and 2,000 CD's for the pop-up shop.

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