PHELPS, WABENO - Two small Northwoods communities will be able to use state-level resources to help revitalize their downtowns.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation accepted both Phelps and Wabeno into its Connect Communities Program last week.
Phelps and Wabeno will be able to connect with similar communities around the state to share ideas.
State-level staff will also visit to offer training for revitalization and redevelopment.
"Phelps and Wabeno, I've been working with those communities for almost two years now in both cases. They have some potential with regards to the dedicated group of individuals that are there working with them," said Naletta Burr, a WEDC Community Account Manager.
We've told you about the Friends of Wabeno group.
The volunteers are committed to making Wabeno a more vibrant community.
"Phelps is not that different from that standpoint, either. They've got a very strong base of elected officials that are working with them," Burr said. "They're working on downtown. They've got some tremendous opportunities with regards to some redevelopment opportunities. Both of them are great candidates. I'm excited that they're both in the program this year."
The Village of Marathon City will also participate in this year's program.
VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.
The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.
VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
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