RHINELANDER - Finding ways to raise about $40,000 can wear you out. Rhinelander Police Officer Chad Brown knows it well, having done so to get his police dog, Odin, and a new squad car to go with him, so a donation worth thousands of dollars came as a nice surprise.
Wisconsin Vest-A-Dog gave Rhinelander police a tactical vest, a medical kit, and an automated door opening system for the German Shepherd for free. Brown estimates the donation is worth between $3,000 and $4,000 in total.
"They offered all three of them to us," Brown said. "We didn't have to ask or fill anything out. They're an amazing organization. They're volunteer-based. It's just donors from all over Wisconsin."
The "Hot n' Pop" system keeps track of temperature and carbon monoxide levels in the squad. If they get too high, the system sends a page to Brown, who can go back to the car or remotely open the doors. If Brown is unable to get to the car, the door can automatically open to let Odin out.
Brown says Odin isn't crazy about wearing the vest, but it is knife and gun resistant and will serve him well.
"You see the videos where they put the little winter booties on dogs and they walk real funny, that's kind of what he did when I first put it on him," Brown said of the vest. "He's getting used to it, but with training dogs, anybody that has ever trained a dog it's baby steps."
Odin joined the force late in the summer of 2018. Brown is grateful for the gifts, but appreciates the smallest donations just as much.
"You see people coming in and they want to give whatever they can," Brown said. "And, you know that they might be living paycheck to paycheck. That just shows the support the community is giving."
Brown expects most of the gear to last Odin's full career, which is approximately nine years.
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 - 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.
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.
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."
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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