RHINELANDER - Many people enjoy driving around neighborhoods at Christmastime to look at light displays. But what if you could put all of those lights in one central spot? It's a dream inching toward reality in Rhinelander.
The non-profit Lights of the Northwoods steering committee wants to put a large holiday lights display at Hodag Park. Vice President Shawn Will laid out his business plan for the Parks Committee on June 26.
The group wants to run a small-scale version this December to show the city and community they're serious about making this an annual event.
"An event like this will actually allow us to get use out of Hodag Park when it's normally dormant and there really isn't much else to do," Will said. "I expect this to be not only the talk of Rhinelander but northern Wisconsin, and I think we'll all be talking about it."
Lights of the Northwoods is currently under the oversight of the Rhinelander Lions Club until it finishes the 501(c)(3) application process, which should wrap up in fall 2018. Will says the light show would act as a fundraiser for local food pantries. People could bring a non-perishable food item.
The idea is modeled on La Crosse's Rotary Lights show, which has grown to 3.5 million lights over the last two decades. Will says this display wouldn't be nearly as large, at least not initially.
"It's really cool, it's fun, it's part of Christmas, it's a tradition," Will said of holiday light displays. "If we could do that and make Rhinelander a part of that tradition and make Hodag Park that go-to spot to see the lights, that's why I do it."
The group would start by decorating existing trees at Hodag Park and bring in some temporary displays. Eventually, the group would work with area contractors like Gaber Electric to install more lighting infrastructure for the light show and other events at Hodag Park.
Will says the Parks Committee was largely supportive, but the city wants the group to run the idea past Hodag Park neighbors and formalize lighting plans. The group would also become a regular fixture on the committee's agenda for future meetings.
"Keeping the city well informed about what we're doing and what we're planning on doing next and addressing their concerns in a quick manner, we definitely need to be there," Will said.
The group suspects the light show won't cost the city anything, thanks to potential non-profit and volunteer partnerships and grants.
The show is tentatively set for December 14 through 17, pending approval.
For more information about the show or to offer your services, you can email email@example.com or call 715-966-3341.
RHINELANDER - A man died near the entrance of Nicolet College in Rhinelander on Thursday afternoon.
Neither the campus nor the public were in danger, according to the Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office. Due to the circumstances of the man's death, Newswatch 12 is not releasing more information, but there appears to be nothing suspicious about the death.
Police got a report at 3:55 p.m. about a man lying face down near the entry drive to Nicolet College. Emergency responders took him to St. Mary's Hospital, but he died.
The Oneida Co. Sheriff's Office, Rhinelander Fire Department, Pelican First Responders, and Oneida Co. Medical Examiner's Office were involved in the response.
The Oneida County Beekeepers Association promotes beekeeping in the Northwoods.
It does its part to save the bees, and wants to encourage to do the same. It works to recruit new beekeepers, as well as teach people the importance of honeybees in our everyday lives.
"Bees are essential for our food supply," said Oneida County Beekeepers Association member, John Bigley. "If we lose the bees, we lose most of the food supply. So, we got to keep them healthy. We have to ensure that they are pollinating not only the flowers, but the fruit trees and vegetable gardens."
The organization is holding a class on June 1st for anyone who is interested in learning how to become a beekeeper.
It's also an advanced class for beekeepers to learn more about bee tips and tricks.
ARBOR VITAE - Do you know where your food comes from? Kindergarteners at Arbor Vitae-Woodruff elementary do. They have been growing their own fruits and vegetables all year. On Thursday, their work culminated in a final celebration as part of the first-ever Wisconsin School Garden Day.
Each kindergartner was partnered with a fifth grader to help them with planting and weeding.
Organizer Adriane Morabito said it is important for young people to know where their food comes from.
"It teaches them important skills like empathy, compassionate, and kindness," said Morabito. "It also helps them eat healthy."
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