RHINELANDER - About 2,500 cars use Boyce Drive in Rhinelander each day, according to a recent Wisconsin DOT study. It's not the busiest entry point, but well-traveled nonetheless. Drivers heading into the city passed a faded and peeling welcome sign along that stretch for decades, but Wednesday the sign got new life.
"They're going to notice it. It's such a pretty sign," Rhinelander Parks Director Jeremy Biolo said.
The new "Home of the Hodag" sign went up in a matter of minutes Wednesday afternoon. It replaced a nearly identical one that sat about 20 feet farther back off the road on private property.
"We didn't know whose it was, if it was supposed to be the Street Department's or Parks'," Biolo said. "We all just worked together and took care of the problem."
After setting sign posts in cement, Biolo and a co-worker placed the large wooden board along Boyce Drive.
"We've had it in our shop for about a week and we're just totally stoked to get it up," Biolo said.
The Parks Department may have placed the sign, but it wasn't their project. That fell, at first, on the Kiwanis Club of Rhinelander, including board member Scott Henrichs, who remembers seeing the sign as a child.
"It's been here at least... 40 years," Henrichs said with a laugh.
Henrichs says his group started talking about a replacement sign six or eight months ago. The club's board thought a fresh look would complement the city's new dog park in nearby Shepard Park.
"A nice sign would just accent that and complete the project," Henrichs said.
The sign includes a big yellow and blue Kiwanis Club logo underneath it, which gives the appearance the project was solely theirs, but the group incorporated a number of different people, including the Three Lakes High School Fab Lab to etch the new sign.
Local sawmill owner Jim Nordstrom donated the wood and posts, while George St. Catherine designed the look, handed it off to the Three Lakes students, then painted the finished product.
"[Hopefully people will say] wow, the kids were involved, the students were involved, the community came together and they put up a very, very nice sign," Henrichs said.
The Kiwanis Club hopes the new sign lasts many decades. Biolo plans to use his parks department staff and skills to make sure drivers notice it for just as long.
"Any time you get something new and shiny, it says a lot about the community," Biolo said. "We want things looking decent in Rhinelander and that's the step we're going now."
The Kiwanis Club wanted to make sure it thanked those who volunteered their time to make the project happen. The club gave money to the YMCA of the Northwoods (per St. Catherine's suggestion) and the Three Lakes School Fab Lab for their work.
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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