Rhinelander sees snowiest year on record following winter stormSubmitted: 12/30/2019
Rhinelander sees snowiest year on record following winter storm
Story By Newswatch 12 Team

RHINELANDER - Heavy snowfall at the start and end of 2019 made it the snowiest year on record in Rhinelander. 

Before Monday, people in Rhinelander saw 124.2 inches of snow throughout the year. Nearly half of that precipitation fell in February with 61.5 inches hitting the ground.

More than 8 inches of snow fell Monday, pushing the 2019 year-to-date total above the previous record of
131.5 inches in 2014. Before that, Rhinelander saw the most snowfall on record in 1950 with 108.2 inches. 

An early snowfall this winter also added to the year's record breaking total. More than 11 inches fell in the span of 24-hours at the end of November. 

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RHINELANDER - The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic forced schools and colleges around the world to shut their doors.

It's been hard for most students. But seniors are especially concerned 

They worried they may miss out on important milestones. 

"When we are in school it's a whole lot easier to go down the hall, call a classroom to get a kid, talk to them in the hallways, go to the performances and games and all that to just be more present in their life," Tienhaara said.

Rhinelander High School counselor Ryan Tienhaara is doing his best to make sure students are getting the support they need during the Coronavirus pandemic.

"It's important to talk about those frustrations if you are frustrated," Tienhaara said.

Tienhaara says while most seniors have some idea of what's next after high school, some students, including juniors will have to make big decisions remotely.

"Most schools are closed down for who knows how long so it could be lots of virtual visits," Tienhaara said. 

For kids feeling lonely, stressed or anxious, Tienhaara urges students to lean on family and friends.

"Open up those lines of communication with everybody because we are all kind of struggling through this together," Tienhaara said.

While many are worried about missing out on certain experiences, counselors suggest seniors to create new ones by capturing this moment in its own milestone.

"All seniors across the U.S. essentially have lost their spring semester. Not necessarily that that's a good thing but to know that they are not alone while going through these emotions and feeling the frustrations," Tienhaara said.

In the meantime, Tienhaara hopes education is prioritized from here on out and nothing is taken for granted.

"I hope that it will kind of provide a sense of privilege that it is to get an education, go to school and to just kind have a normal life that we used to have. You know it's that saying you don't know what you got until it's gone. I think we are all feeling that right now," Tienhaara said.

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MARATHON COUNTY - In a press release, the Marathon County Public Health Department confirms that a fourth person tested positive for COVID-19.

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ANTIGO - For Tapped Maple Syrup co-owner Jeremy Solin, harvest season usually means enjoying the outdoors with his four employees, neighbors and family.

"Maple syrup is a big family and community time for us usually," said Solin. "We love to have people out in the woods with us, tapping trees and collecting sap and being part of the cooking process. We just can't do that this year and so its kind of a lonely maple syrup season.

But the growing fears of coronavirus shrunk the team down to just five - making his farm in Antigo eerily quiet.

"I think we'll be okay," said Solin. "It just means a lot more work for fewer people essentially to try and keep up and more stress in a sense during the process of the season."

It's more work for Solin, but still same volume of syrup.

Supply won't be the issue - Solin is concerned about the demand.

"We work with a lot of restaurants, bars, coffee shops who are obviously really struggling at this point," said Solin. "We're concerned about their survival as a small business and partner of ours and friends of ours so as we lose those businesses that's going to affect our business as well."

Coronavirus does not discriminate between essential and non-essential businesses.

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Drive to the entrance at Rib Mountain State Park and you usually have to stop there to pay.

That's no longer the case, after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) waived entrance fees at all state parks and trails to encourage sensible outdoor activity.

"We want folks to use those responsibly and travel within their own communities and maintain social distancing in small groups," said recreation partnership sections chief Missy VanLanduyt

Getting rid of the fees is meant to cut down on potential overcrowding problems at the parks.

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WASHINGTON - Former Vice President Joe Biden took his virtual presidential campaign to the next level Monday when he launched a podcast as the coronavirus forces him to get creative in reaching voters otherwise distracted by a global pandemic.

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MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers asked President Donald Trump on Tuesday to issue a major disaster declaration for the state of Wisconsin due to the coronavirus pandemic, as unemployment claims hit a daily high and the state's health secretary warned lawmakers that Medicaid enrollments were going to increase dramatically.

Evers said he hoped the declaration, which also would cover Wisconsin's federally recognized tribes, would allow the states to access critical programs to support its response, including community disaster loans, public assistance, direct assistance and crisis counseling.

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WAUSAU - Aspirus ambulances are still responding to other emergencies besides the coronavirus - but the health system has decided to dedicate some vehicles to potential COVID-19 cases.

Aspirus System MedEvac and Trauma Director Jason Keffeler showed the modified ambulance at a press conference outside of Aspirus Wausau Monday.

Minor adjustments include a plastic cover on the ventilator monitor and reducing items that would not be needed for a coronavirus patient.

"The ambulance behind us is just a regular ambulance. But we just want to make sure we have proper protective equipment on the ambulance," said Keffeler. "So masks, faceshields, glasses, gown and gloves that we would wear with any suspect patients that we may be transporting."

Specific staff will be using the COVID-19 ambulances.

Keffeler said EMS workers were in short supply before the coronavirus outbreak.

"If anyone of are staff goes down we're not going to have them to take care of the next people going around," said Keffeler. "So taking appropriate safety precautions at all steps is critical."

The ambulances will be throughly disinfected after each use.

This includes the final step of using a UV light.

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