NORTHWOODS - It seems more all-natural and specialty food stores are popping up around the Northwoods. Antigo and Three Lakes welcomed new all-natural and specialty food stores this year. And last week, Eagle River welcomed one, as well.
"We were painstaking about finding things that you cannot find at other shops here in the Eagle River area," said Homeward Bound Specialty Foods owner Patti Katz Black. She and her husband, Dave, opened their Eagle River store last week.
"The foodie explosion's been around a long time but the market for people that are looking for health needs and a little broader choice in a specialty market, the time had come," Katz Black explained.
The time had come for the Blacks to open a store like the ones they enjoyed visiting during their travels. Homeward Bound offers ethnic and gluten-free foods, specialty sauces, imported waters and teas and Wisconsin cheese. They're also offering freshly made grab and go meals, sides, dressings and sauces by Dave who is a chef.
"We're trying to fill a niche that secretly lives everywhere," said Katz Black. "People get bored and are looking for something different."
That niche has become larger since The Country Seed opened its doors 29 years ago in Rhinelander. The store's manager, Cynde Goll, has seen interest grow since she started 7 years ago.
"The gluten-free products, the dairy-free, soy-free those type of things, there was not as many people shopping for it as I can tell that there are now," Goll said.
Stores like The Country Seed and Homeward Bound aren't alone. Two all-natural food stores, Wild Berry Market in Minocqua and Golden Harvest in Rhinelander, moved to larger locations this year to keep up with demand. There are about a dozen all-natural and specialty food stores in the area stretching from Merrill to Minocqua, over to Eagle River, down to Antigo.
The Country Seed's manager thinks people care more about what they eat than they did a few years ago.
"People are more aware of what they're putting in their bodies," explained Goll. "They're more conscious of the things that are in our foods nowadays and what they're consuming and it's easier to go to a specialty store and know you don't have to do as much label-reading and it's more convenient to find what you're looking for."
The Homeward Bound owners hope to provide that convenience to their customers. Katz Black says they're "trying to make eating enjoyable, healthy and easy, and affordable."
TOMAHAWK - If you feel stir-crazy this time of year, taking a quick drive Tuesday afternoon might help.
Hometown Chiropractic in Rhinelander and Tomahawk hopes to spread smiles during, "Sunshine on the Streets."
The doctors will wave signs with their favorite positive quotes starting at 12:30 in the afternoon.
Chiropractors normally work to get your physical health in check, but they want to help your mental health, too.
"I want to say we are one of the smaller countries in the world, but we take almost 80 percent of the world's anti-depressants. So we want to make sure we have positivity energy and positive thoughts because it will help us heal better and feel better," says Dr. Grace Zuiker Nash.
"Sunshine on the Streets" also marks the First Official Day of Spring.
RHINELANDER - Some members of the Hyms and Hyrs singing group have shared a stage together for more than 30 years. However, they almost had to stop when one of their key members passed away. "When it all works really well, nothing can top it," said Hyms and Hyrs singer Corky. The 25 members of the Hyms and Hyrs singing group are used to hitting the right rhythm together.
"We have a lot of fun," said Hyms and Hyrs singer Jim Priovolos. However, when the group's director and founder of the group died, they thought they would have to put their beats on hold. "We were wondering where we were going to end up with that," said Hyms and Hyrs singer Ken. Just a few months before their talent showcase at Nicolet College Sunday, Priovolos stepped in. "I feel very honored to be conducting them," said Priovolos. Priovolos got the group to pick up exactly where they left off. "He's kept us going," said Ken.
MADISON (AP) - An environmental organization and the U.S. Forest Service are working together to harvest timber in northern Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the 2014 Farm Bill has allowed the two groups to enter into a stewardship agreement. The conservancy will hire loggers, sell timber and use the proceeds for projects the Forest Service can't afford to do.
The conservancy plans to use some money to restore Simpson Creek by rerouting the channel and exposing the gravel floor that fish need to spawn. The group also plans to rebuild a handicap accessible boardwalk on the Oconto River and will use funds to restore habitat for the endangered Kirtland's warbler.
Forest Supervisor Paul Strong says the Forest Service's budget has been stretched by efforts to fight wildfire that have become more frequent and more intense.
RHINELANDER - A New York based dance company brought their talent to Northern Wisconsin. The Equus Projects performed at ArtStart in Rhinelander Sunday. ArtStart Program Director Ashley McLaughlin was excited to bring art the community usually doesn't get to see She also wanted to bring new talent to the area.
The group doesn't perform traditional choreography. "[I's] improvisation of dance so they're reacting off of each other. [Their] acting off the spot. Very little is choreographed. So that goes to the whole emotion of the group," said McLaughlin. ArtStart collaborated with the Ware House in Eagle River. The Equus Projects will participate in dance classes at ArtStart all week.
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