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Empty lot in Wausau turns into a Christmas tree havenSubmitted: 12/06/2017
Erin Beu
Erin Beu
Reporter/Anchor
ebeu@wjfw.com

Empty lot in Wausau turns into a Christmas tree haven
WAUSAU - A neighborhood that some people might have deemed crime ridden now offers a touch of its own Christmas spirit.

Driving down the intersection of Third and Short Street in Wausau you can find socks, Santas and stockings hanging from trees.

"I guess they kind of reflect each person's personality," said Wausau River District Assistant Director Blake Opal-Wahoske.

Opal-Wahoske saw the empty lot and wanted to turn it into something special this year.

"[I wanted] to spread some Christmas cheer," said Opal-Wahoske.

Opal-Wahoske teamed up with a bar owner to turn the empty lot into the "Christmas Lives Here Lot."
"Each neighbor and some bartenders have decorated trees," said Opal-Wahoske.

However, the area hasn't always been this well-lit up.

"It was a very crime ridden area," said Opal-Wahoske.

Opal-Wahoske says in the past decade the city has redeveloped the area.

"If you came to this neighborhood 10 [or] 15 years ago you wouldn't recognize it," Opal-Wahoske.

Now, the only issue Opal-Wahoske sees is the wind knocking down all the trees.

"Oh my gosh that wind was wicked," said Opal-Wahoske.

Regardless if the trees stand tall or stand down, Opal-Wahoske hopes the "Christmas Lives Here Lot" will come around for years to come.

"I'm proud to call this home," Opal-Wahoske.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/12/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Department of Transportation is holding a public information meeting today about possible changes to a major Rhinelander intersection. We'll preview the meeting and bring you coverage tonight on Newswatch 12 at 10.

We talk to a fisherman and a DNR conservation warden about how safe or unsafe the Northwoods lakes are for ice fishermen.

And a historic Wabeno bed and breakfast is in a building that used to be the mansion of a lumber baron. We'll show you the place where the owners are offering tours for a good cause.

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

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ELCHO - An Elcho couple's Christmas tradition now serves as a tradition for many others in the Northwoods.

Carl and Lissa Bloechl spent only a week setting up thanks to the stretch of warm weather early in the season.

It's common for the couple to drop everything to take an emergency EMT call which adds time to decorating.
 
They say they can't stop the display though!

"We get people from Rhinelander or Antigo or people that we know, even from outlying areas! They'll say 'Do you have the lights up yet, we want to see them!" Then we have to scramble and beat the weather," says Carl Bloechl.

The couple spends about $300 adding new items to their display every year, such as the new nativity scene Carl built.

This is the fifth year the couple has decorated their apartment complex.


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ANTIGO - Getting your family a new dog or cat for Christmas can be more troublesome than thoughtful.

Shelter animals tend to be extra sensitive when they come to a new home.

With visitors coming and going, the holiday season often creates an even more stressful environment.  

Those Christmas decorations can also frighten a new pet.

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MERRILL -
A Tomahawk man charged with 12 felonies from a string of burglaries will spend the better part of the next decade in prison.

Jon Schenk, 45, was sentenced to seven years in prison in Lincoln County Court Monday morning. Schenk chose not to say much during his hearing, but judge Robert Russell had plenty to tell him.

"Here we are again," Russell said to Schenk.

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RHINELANDER - An orthodontic office in Rhinelander wants you to add one more person to your holiday card mailing list.

Dr. Joshua Bruce of Schmidt and Bruce Orthodontics is organizing this year's "Hope and Healing" thank-you card program for wounded veterans.

Dr. Darrell Schmidt first collected the cards for injured service members around Christmas last year.

Bruce says helping veterans is something he cares deeply about.

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RHINELANDER - Monday night the Rhinelander City Council made a big decision it hopes will bring more success to the Northwood Golf Course.

The Council voted seven to one to end its restaurant lease with Dave O'Melia, and to let golf pro Dan Buckley go. The council will begin looking for an outside management company to handle the course.

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RHINELANDER - A new state law could help northern Wisconsin open a mine in the next three to five years, if Sen. Tom Tiffany's predictions are correct.

Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) wrote the bill repealing a Wisconsin law often called the "mining moratorium," and Gov. Scott Walker signed it in Rhinelander on Monday.

Walker said the new law, branded the Mining for America Act, "might as well be called the 'Keep Our Kids in Wisconsin' bill."

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