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Improvements on the way for this weekend's PotatoFestSubmitted: 08/28/2014

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/24/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll show you what happened on day 1 of the trial for an Eagle River man who is charged with sexually assaulting a woman at knifepoint.

We'll update you on the progress of the expansion of the Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes.

And we'll take you live to Medford where they're turning the city blue and walking for Autism Awareness month.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - You can get almost anywhere around Pine Lake on an ATV or UTV.  But there are two key Oneida County highways that don't currently allow those vehicles.  Now, a Rhinelander-area ATV club is pushing the county to change that.

The Pine Lake ATV/UTV Club hopes the county will allow access on highways W and C.  The club formed about a year ago and got town approval to open access to all Pine Lake roads except for North and West Birchwood drives.

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THREE LAKES - Three Lakes taxpayers will chip in $900,000 dollars to the remodeling and expansion of the Demmer Library.

After years of meetings and votes, that plan became official last week at the town's annual meeting.

The money will accompany $1 million in money from the library's foundation and $100,000 from the Three Lakes Historical Society.

"The library is excited to be able to develop plans for a library that's going to continue to serve the community for many years in the future," said library director Erica Brewster.

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WOODRUFF - Sixty-three Wildfires burned all across the state in the last week.

The DNR suspended burning permits in 44 counties Monday, including all counties in the Northwoods.

The fire danger level ranged from "High" to "Very High" in most counties.

DNR fire crews have been on stand-by all day Monday.

"On days like today we are fully staffed and on high alert. All our stations are pre-positioning equipment. We're taking equipment from one part of the state and moving it to more critical areas. We are definitely on high alert," said Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele.

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MOLE LAKE - Dozens of members of the Sokoagon Chippewa community came together Monday morning to participate in Earth Day festivities.

Armed with large garbage bags, metal grabbers and plastic gloves, members picked up garbage and debris along a ten mile stretch of the reservation.

One volunteer worked the majority of the day in a blackberry bush, grabbing anything that didn't fit with the natural scenery.

"I would rather see green grass and green trees than tin cans, aluminum cans and plastic," said the volunteer.

57 volunteers came out to help.
Sokoagen Chippewa Environmental Director Tina Van Zile wanted to celebrate Earth Day on a week day because she believed more people would participate.

"Litter bothers me really bad," said Van Zile.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - The case of a woman found hanged in her car will go down as an "undetermined death."

Michelle Rosinski was found in a car outside a Lac du Flambeau home on Longs Point Lane last September.  Emergency responders tried CPR on Rosinski, but they couldn't revive her.  The 45-year-old woman had a choker-style dog collar wrapped around her neck.  

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office initially investigated her death as suspicious.  But Monday, Lt. Carl Gauger told Newswatch 12 it appears Rosinski probably committed suicide.

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MERRILL - County lands exist for the public to enjoy.

But when people mistreat the land it can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

After a group of trucks damaged county land in Tomahawk over the weekend, Lincoln County wants to send a warning to other drivers.

Lieutenant Tim Fischer from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says places with county forest and logging roads tend to be easy targets for people who want to tear through the woods on their vehicles.

"[It causes] damage to the property that isn't easily repaired. 

[It] prohibits county workers from accessing areas in the forest that they have to get to," said Fischer. 

People find mud holes and drive their cars through them.

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