RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
Each child gets $100 to spend on themselves and family, but organizer and patrolman Chad Brown says the real present isn't something you can buy.
"When I'm out in the community and a bus drives by of a bunch of kids waving, "Hi, Officer Brown!' out the window, that's what's great to see," Brown said. "They put a name with the face."
Brown brought the program to Rhinelander in 2008. The morning includes free breakfast at Burger King and an emergency vehicle escort on a donated Bowen's school bus. The program runs entirely on donations, which Brown says the police department can always use more of.
"You never know if these kids are going to get the Christmas that they want based on economic issues in their families, so we really like to be able to help these kids get that one gift that they really want," Brown said.
Brown says a number of businesses and individuals donate each year, which makes his job of finding enough money easier.
If you'd like to donate to the program you can drop off money at the Rhinelander Police Department during normal business hours. Checks should be made payable to the Rhinelander Professional Police Association.
The police department's mailing address is 201 N. Brown Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501.
MILWAUKEE - A Wausau-based company that makes architectural metal finishing took home a big honor Thursday night. Linetec won the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's Manufacturer of the Year Award in the Large Company category.
The annual awards program celebrates Wisconsin companies that are well respected, serve their communities, and make Wisconsin "a better place to live, work, and play", according to a press release from the WMC.
MERRILL - Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill doesn't have room for any more kindergarten students next year.
Its class is already full, partly because some families can send their kids to Trinity for free.
For the third straight year, Trinity will participate in Wisconsin's private school choice program.
This year, the state pays tuition for about 30 of Trinity's 120 total students.
"Parents like the Christian base, obviously. That's the main reason people send [their kids] here," said School Administrator Kathy Yahr. "They're keeping them here more now because of the opportunities that we offer."
NORTHWOODS - Lakes and nature bring people from all over the country to the Northwoods during the summer. Those same attractions get some people to stay here. Home sales and home prices in the Northwoods went up in 2017.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association reports about 1,300 more homes sold last year than in 2016 in Wisconsin. A local broker saw the increase firsthand.
"The markets that are going crazy right now are premium homes. The Minocqua chain is red hot, the Eagle River chain is pretty hot the Three Lakes chain is pretty hot and there are some chains of lakes that are less hot," said Coldwell Banker broker Jim Mulleady.
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