Nicolet College lands WEDC entrepreneurial grant for second straight yearSubmitted: 01/23/2018
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Nicolet College lands WEDC entrepreneurial grant for second straight year
RHINELANDER - Through a smartphone in Nancy Brekke-Jones' hands, she can access the business she literally built from the ground up.

"I took it in little chunks, just little step by step," Brekke-Jones said.

Her idea for helping people's feet started a couple years ago. Brekke-Jones opened "Replace-a-Lace" after working for a Rhinelander shoe store for 26 years.  People who can't easily tie their shoes (elderly, disabled, and people with arthritis) can log onto Brekke-Jones' website to find Velcro-like closures she sells from her home.

"It's one of those garage businesses except it's at my kitchen table," Brekke-Jones said smiling.

Brekke-Jones went from her kitchen to Nicolet College Tuesday morning. That's where Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch announced a new round of grant funding that will help pay for business-starting classes Brekke-Jones took through the college last fall.

"I love the stories where someone is walking around with a light bulb above their head," Kleefisch said. "Take the light bulb from above their noggin and actually develop a business plan."

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation offered Nicolet a piece of $500,000 going to 11 groups across the state. Thirty-six groups applied for the funding this year.

"Nicolet College put up the numbers, they said we are really going to invest the $25,000," Kleefisch said.

Nicolet received $27,000 through the same WEDC grant program in 2017.

"We know these entrepreneurship grants are connecting people, regardless of where they live or what they look like to the resources they need," Kleefisch said.

Matching money from places like the Vilas County Business Incubator in Eagle River, the Juday Enterpreneurial Development Fund, and Nicolet College students themselves mean classes that Doris McAllister teaches can expand into more area towns like Eagle River.

"There are some great business ideas coming out of northern Wisconsin that I never would have thought of, so I get to encourage them and think of ways that i can help them," McAllister said.

McAllister was a student of the college program herself, starting her own jewelry business. She now is the executive director of Grow North, an organization that helps foster business growth across eight northern and northeastern Wisconsin counties.

"While not every business succeeds, we still have a road map that we can build on in the future," McAllister said.

Kleefisch points to that as a big reason Nicolet won the WEDC funding for the second straight year: its ability to spark creativity across all six of the area counties it serves.

Brekke-Jones knows just how valuable those classes can be.

"It's overwhelming at first, but really, when you see it's all laid out for you of how to write a business plan, it became very easy," Brekke-Jones said. "If you want to do something and you just put your mind to it you can do it."

Nicolet College will offer its NET entrepreneur class in Eagle River this year. The nine-week class is free if you live in Vilas County thanks to the grant funding. People who don't live in Vilas County pay just $100 for the course.

The college will also hold free workshops throughout the district. The next one is Tuesday, Jan. 30 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the Vilas County Business Incubator.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/14/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Citizens all over Wisconsin are going to the polls today to exercise their right to vote in the primary elections. We'll take you live to local polling places to see how the turnout has been for the elections and tell you why some ballots may not go into the machine the first time.

Today's elections involve several local and state races in Wisconsin. We'll bring you a preview of the races on Newswatch 12 at 5 and 6, and we'll give you the latest totals on Newswatch 12 at 10.

And we talk to employees at a Lac du Flambeau construction company and tell you why businesses in that area are hiring people both inside and outside of the reservation.

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

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The Feeding America food truck was parked at Sara Park in Tomahawk Tuesday.

Anyone, no matter their income or living situation, could fill a shopping cart full of groceries to take home.

This is the 5th year Darlene Laabs and the Northwoods Vineyard Church raised money to bring the food truck to the Northwoods.

Laabs started this in honor of her late husband who always worried about children being hungry.

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LDF Construction is part of the tribe's Business Development Corporation. The BDC was created to maintain sustainable jobs throughout the community in 2012.

"The Lac du Flambeau area is definitely growing [in business]," said Krause.

Even though the area is growing, Krause said nearly every business involved with the BDC needs more workers.

LDF Holdings employee Tiffany Boman lends money to customers. She thinks people might not be applying to Lac du Flambeau businesses because they think the reservation is only open to native workers.

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Police Chief Alfonso Morales says officers were following up Monday afternoon on a suspect who fled from them earlier in the day. Officers conducted a traffic stop, and Morales says the Milwaukee man got out of the vehicle with a gun.

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Wisconsin Public Radio reports that 24-year-old Alexander Emery Good-Cane-Milk of South Dakota and 26-year-old Kyla L. Hassig of Minnesota were also found guilty of trespassing on the site where Enbridge was working to replace a 12.5-mile (20-kilometer) segment of its 1960s-era oil pipeline in Wisconsin.

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RHINELANDER - A judge will decide whether a Minocqua man committed a cold-case murder.

In Oneida County Court Monday, a judge accepted a motion from Robin Mendez to waive a jury trial, a choice that will leave the judge to decide if Mendez is guilty based on the evidence.

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