RHINELANDER - In a sea of green and purple, the gold and black of a bumblebee tickled Baerbel Ehrig pink.
"It's really exciting," Ehrig said.
Thursday morning, the Oneida County pollinator coordinator happily walked through her nearly finished garden, dodging raindrops while spotting at least two bees and a monarch butterfly.
"There's a lot of food and shelter," Ehrig said.
Plants like tickseed, anise hyssop, and yellow cornflower all offer the insects a natural home behind the Oneida County Courthouse. Ehrig's Land and Water Conservation Office and volunteers planted the flowers in late June, just after workers from Hanson's Garden Village installed a walkway through the space.
The project dates back to last October. It was largely made possible through a $5,000 grant from the Bayer Corporation and $1,500 from Wisconsin Public Service.
"[We want people to] experience the garden, to not just be able to look at the flowers from the sidewalk but to be inside the garden," Ehrig said.
Ehrig wants people to enjoy nature, but the garden goes deeper than that. She wants you to understand the importance of bees and other pollinators, which is where the sign comes in.
"I like how vibrant it is, and it catches your eye," graphic designer Janice Bureta said.
Bureta worked with Ehrig for about a month on the "perfect pollinator garden" display. It provides tips and a smartphone-accessible QR code with more information on pollinators. The project was all part of a learning process for Bureta.
"[I knew] a little bit [about pollinators], but not this much. Now I know a lot more," Bureta said with a laugh. "And now I already have plans for my garden next year."
Ehrig knows the upcoming winter's snow will put her bright garden to rest for the season, but the perennials are set to offer a home to the very insects she plans to protect and a rest stop for the people who will benefit from the work.
"It's definitely become a space for the community," Ehrig said.
Students from Lakeland Union High School will help complete the garden next year. They'll build a bee house and water tank to install next spring.
RHINELANDER - Oneida County Supervisor Bob Mott felt sadness as he toured the Doctors Foster and Smith property in Rhinelander on Feb. 22. Mott knew he couldn't save the nearly 300 jobs that are disappearing after Petco announced in January it was closing most of the facility.
However, Mott is now pushing the county to look at a new option for the buildings and land that could generate money and create jobs.
At Tuesday's county board meeting, Mott submitted a resolution that would form a committee to look at Oneida County buying the property from Petco.
RHINELANDER - By landing in New Zealand last week, Rhinelander's Darlene Machtan and her husband checked off another continent in their world travels. They landed and were confronted by huge national news.
"It's all people are talking about," Machtan said in a FaceTime interview.
Last Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand, a white supremacist started shooting at two mosques in a terrorist attack, killing 50 people.
Most years, the entire country has fewer than ten homicides with guns.
ANTIGO - A sandbag can serve as a cheap, easy tool to stop floodwater from reaching homes, businesses, and other buildings. In Antigo, city workers have seen their fair share of sandbags lately. The city made a thousand of them. It's something workers do every year, but hope to never use them.
"Every melting season," said Antigo Public Works Project Manager Charlie Brinkmeier. "We never know, the weather changes day to day."
Since the flooding that took place in 2004, the city of Antigo has been doing its best to stay prepared.
"Everybody in this community has institutional memory from the 2004 event," said Antigo Administrative Services Director Mark Desotell. "It was quite an impact on the city. It impacted a lot of businesses."
MERRILL - Dozens of people in Merrill considered who is representing them in city government. A group is pushing to recall five of the city's eight representatives and held a rally Tuesday night to make their case to their fellow taxpayers.
"It's now or never," said LaDonna Fermanich, one of the rally organizers.
The Recall Rally was held at Les and Jim's Lincoln Lanes less than a mile away from Merrill City Hall, where a common council meeting was taking place at the same time.
"This is nothing personal for the alderman. We believe you're all of good character," said Steve Sabatke, addressing the council. Sabatke plans to run for Merrill's 8th district seat.
RHINELANDER - The first day of spring on Tuesday greeted us with snow and cold, but a handful of people across Rhinelander did their best to deliver some warm feelings.
Hometown Chiropractic employees stood outside the Rhinelander District Library starting at 12:30 p.m. with motivational signs. This is the third year the chiropractic office decided to do "Sunshine on the Street."
It was a simple half-hour commitment to spread joy.
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