Rhinelander WHEDA forum introduces public funding, lending sourcesSubmitted: 07/25/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Rhinelander WHEDA forum introduces public funding, lending sources
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) believes there's plenty of momentum to invest in rural communities.

That state organization hosted a resource forum in Rhinelander on Wednesday.

WHEDA Senior Business & Community Engagement Officer George Petak pointed to a plan for a $50 million state program for rural economic development. It didn't get considered by lawmakers this year, but likely will next year.

"There's a great deal of focus on rural economic development needs, and that includes farms, it includes the communities, it includes workforce housing," Petak said.

Antigo-based CoVantage Credit Union is one business taking advantage of WHEDA programs for its members. It offers low interest, low down payment mortgages with WHEDA backing.

"It's hard to find programs that work so well with families that don't have a large down payment. Not many people have that tucked away in their savings account," said CoVantage Mortgage Loan Originator Angela Retzlaff.

Wednesday's session offered elected officials and economic development workers an introduction to even more government resources. They learned about funding from the state Department of Administration, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

"We're always looking for programs or different things we can do to help our members," Retzlaff said. "If there's even one thing we can pick up today that can help someone, that's really our goal."

"We don't have all of the answers and the government doesn't have all of the answers," Petak said. "But working together, we hope to bring some solutions to the problems that are facing rural Wisconsin."

The Oneida County Economic Development Corporation helped host the forum.

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Kirker 'still in the wind'Submitted: 08/20/2018

CRANDON - Police still don't have Crandon's Patty Kirker in custody.

She skipped a court appearance last month in Texas. That was after skipping her sentencing hearing in Forest County in May.

Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono said Monday she's "still in the wind."

Earlier this year, a jury convicted Kirker of helping an inmate sneak narcotics into the Forest County Jail. After the trial, Kirker didn't show up to her sentencing hearing. Police later found her trying to cross the Mexican border at Laredo, Texas.

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WISCONSIN - Expect to see extra publicity on teen dating violence in the Rhinelander area soon.

The "Dare 2 Know" campaign is targeting local movie theaters, radio ads, and social media.

One in five teens experience abuse in a dating relationship, according to End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, the group organizing the program. The group used input from teens to craft the campaign.
"We're making sure that it really is a youth-led and youth-driven effort. We are really just the conduits for a lot of that energy and creativity," said End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin Associate Director Tony Wilkin Gibart

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin says obsessive or controlling behavior, especially using technology or social media, is common in teen dating violence situations.

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MERRILL - The DNR wants your help to expand a statewide program.

Snapshot Wisconsin is looking for volunteers from every county across the state.

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RHINELANDER - An Oneida County man accused of sexually assaulting a 76-year-old woman pled not guilty in court Monday.

In June, the victim's daughter found her bruised and bloodied in her Town of Pelican home.

Police believe 21-year-old Isaiah Moren targeted the victim after he discovered she lived alone.

DNA results link Moren to the crime scene.

Moren faces more than 100 years in prison if convicted and is being held on a $500,000 cash bond. 

He will be back in court October 9.

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TOWN OF NEWBOLD - Walking on top of the cap of an old landfill, Jackie Cody could see her dream coming true, almost as clearly as her bright orange disc she tossed around.

"This is a spectacular use, I think, of recycling land," Cody said.

Cody and her husband Pete showed off the specially printed "Rookery Run" disc golf equipment, which will come in handy for a grand opening ceremony this fall, about four years after the duo hatched the idea.

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TOWN OF BRADLEY - Two people wound up in a trauma center after their motorcycle hit a bear in northern Lincoln County.

Deputies tell us it happened Saturday just after 5:00 p.m. in the Town of Bradley.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander Area food Pantry General Manager Jane Motowski sees firsthand how many families struggle to feed their kids.

"It's hard times. Money is tight," said Motowski. "About a third of the people who go through [the pantry] are children."

Motowski said that struggle increases during the school year. "It's a lot of food and a lot of work," said Motowski.

Every year, Motowoski reaches out to companies to help with the 'Weekend Food for Kids' backpack program.

"The 'Weekend Food for Kids' is an awesome thing to give to," said Trig's Store Director Don Theisen.

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