More specialty food stores in northcentral WisconsinSubmitted: 07/31/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson

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."

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RHINELANDER - The yellow Historical Society Museum on Pelham Street looks like many houses here in Rhinelander, but step through the doorway and see early 1900's history packed from wall to wall.

The Historical Society Museum will have an open house Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Pieces of Rhinelander's past are preserved inside the house.

Some of those items include a black and white photo of the original hodag, a drum from the old paper mill marching band, and a dining room set made by the Rhinelander Boat Company.

Not only are those items inside the house artifacts, so is the house itself.

"If the walls were empty there would be stories and neat things to see here. You take that, just the neat house and then of course fill it up with all of the items, every room is just a multitude of stories of different items that are in it," said Vice President of the Rhinelander Historical Society Bill Vancos.

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SCHOFIELD - With a tight senate race between Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Russ Feingold coming to its last few days, Johnson hopes to get a push with the help of a well-known Republican senator.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) came to north central Wisconsin Thursday morning. It was part of a campaign stop in Schofield with Sen. Johnson.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A spinoff in the Ashlee Martinson saga seems to have come to a close.

The man convicted of stealing from the home where Martinson killed her parents will spend a month in jail.

Mark Spietz, 39, of Kaukana, was sentenced in Oneida County Court on Thursday.

Back in August, a jury decided Spietz was guilty on four counts of burglary and theft.

According to the criminal complaint, Spietz took ATVs, bows, a tractor, a trailer and Jennifer Ayers' purse from the home. Spietz claimed he was securing the property for a company based in Arizona.

In court on Thursday, Spietz's wife, siblings and parents all testified to his character and work ethic. They testified Spietz is a good father to a seven-year-old son and two step-sons. They said he also takes care of his parents who have health problems.

Spietz's attorney said he believes his client is still innocent.

"I believe that Mark had he had intended to steal the ATVs he wouldn't have gone through the bother of finding the titles," said Spietz's attorney Brian Bennet. "I believe that a person doesn't commit burglaries in broad daylight with the name on the side of his truck or trailer."

However, the state said it didn't seem Spietz took responsibility for what he did. District Attorney Mike Schiek asked for jail time.

Judge Michael Bloom agreed. He recalled sentencing Ashlee Martinson.

"And I looked at her sitting right where you're sitting now, before I had to look an 18-year-old girl in the face and send her to prison for 23 years, and I told her, you had a choice," Judge Bloom said. "And Mr. Spietz, you as well had a choice."

Spietz will also spend 18 months on probation. He can serve his jail time in any county jail as long as he clears it with the Onieda County Sheriff's Office. He also received Huber privileges and will be allowed to go to work and help his parents during his jail time. 

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Packers' Abbrederis WaivedSubmitted: 10/27/2016

GREEN BAY - Thursday evening, it was announced that Wisconsin native, Wisconsin Badger alum, and Green Bay Packer Jared Abbrederis has been waived.

According the the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wide receiver Abbrederis was waived on Thursday. He was placed on injured reserve on Monday due to a quad injury ever since the game with the Cowboys. From the article, Abbrederis negotiated an injury settlement and wanted to be waived immediately so it would help him potentially be picked up by another team.

Abbrederis was originally drafted by Green Bay in 2014 in the fifth round. He missed that whole season due to an ACL injury and then a big majority of the 2015 camp with a concussion.

This story will be updated if new information is released.

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MADISON - A 74-year-old man will no longer face disturbing child pornography charges in Iron County.

Instead, Charles Raimondi is now charged in federal court, which could mean a harsher sentence if he's convicted.

Raimondi is accused having a five-year-old girl pose for sexually explicit pictures over a span of about two years.

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RHINELANDER - It took 10 years, but Rhinelander may finally get the spark it needs to build a dog park.

An anonymous woman gave dog park advocate Tina Werres a $10,000 dollar donation recently.  Werres raised about $2,000 -- literally pennies at a time with donation jars -- over the last decade.

But many people didn't want to give a lot of money until a specific location was chosen.  Werres says she still doesn't have a spot approved, but this big donation puts her much closer to actually building a park.

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TOWN OF CRESCENT - Who should pay what to keep a Northwoods lake healthy?  That's -- in part -- the question people around Squash Lake near Rhinelander have debated for months now.

Some want to form a lake district to generate money, but not everyone is on board.  Supporters sent out a petition this summer and got more than 51 percent of landowners to say they support the district.

The organizers say the district fees would pay for DNR divers to clear Eurasian Water Milfoil, which costs around $20,000.  Those fees would cover a grant that's coming to an end.

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