RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's first-ever PotatoFest last year started as a charity fundraiser and a way to recognize the potato's importance in our area.
After last year's success, the event will expand even further this weekend.
PotatoFest features a parade, eating and cooking contests, live music all day, and the YMCA Couch Potato Race.
"We're hoping in the long run that PotatoFest is going to be the go-to event that you have to go to on Labor Day," said Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. Executive Director Maggie Steffen. "It's going to bring people from all over the state and hopefully the surrounding states, and this is where they come."
New events this year include a three-on-three basketball tournament, the second-ever appearance of the Spudmobile, and Alice in Dairyland.
We asked Steffen why she was wearing a duck hat for her interview.
"One of our new events is the Duck Regatta, which is, you buy your duck for five bucks," Steffen said. "Your duck has your ticket number on it. It gets floated down the river. Then it's captured, and we have prizes from first to twentieth. It ranges from $2,000, $1,000, $500, $250."
Trig's is the major sponsor of PotatoFest, and events will center around the greenspace near Trig's.
The festival starts with Bonus Friday Night events in the evening.
WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.
Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.
A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.
TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.
The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.
The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.
Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.
Several Tomah VA officials — including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan — have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.
APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.
The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.
The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.
Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."
MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.
Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.
The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.
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