THREE LAKES - Americans spend nearly $162 billion per year on temporary stays at hotels and motels. Community members of Three Lakes hope a small chunk of that number can go towards boosting their economy.
The Three Lakes town board has approved funding for a hotel feasibility study, costing up to $10,000. It's part of a collaborative effort to improve tourism housing options and bring back the business they lost when the town's last hotel caught fire.
All that remains of the March 2019 fire is the Oneida Village Inn sign. It's a burning reminder of the lost hotel. Three Lakes Town Chair Jeff says the hotel brought a lot of business to the Northwoods.
"They would come here and snowmobile, stay for hockey tournaments, stay in the summer time, and things like that," said Bruss. "We lost the ability to have whatever that was 40 plus or minus rooms that were full on busy weekends."
Bruss says the study will help find out if it makes sense for Three Lakes to develop another hotel.
"The last thing we want to do is build a great big new hotel in town and then have somebody say it doesn't work and then there's an empty hotel and nobody wants to run it and it has really no value," said Bruss.
Bruss is not alone. Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, a hotel chain, Oneida Village Inn, and prospective investors requested this study to hopefully prove the potential money-making aspects. Three Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Collete Sorgel says she believes adding a hotel to their community would do nothing but help their economy.
"Having the hotel gone has really hit our tax base in a lot of ways. We don't have the tax income coming in from the building," said Sorgel. "We don't have water and the taxes from that. Plus, we don't have the visitors."
At a recent town board meeting, a few people disagreed with the study due to it using the town's funds for a private sector. Regardless, the Three Lakes town board voted 4-1 in favor of financing the study.
"Most of the people I've talked to who have heard about the study are excited that we're actually taking a positive step forward to take a look at what can happening three lakes and what we can do to make sure we have viable store fronts and hotels," said Sorgel.
If the study comes back with glowing recommendations, the parties involved hope it will go on the same lot where Oneida Village Inn once was. They would like for future developments to take place within the next two to three years.
LA CROSSE - The Diocese of La Crosse has released the names of 25 clergy men with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse made against them.
At least 16 of the men on the list face multiple allegations of child sex abuse.
Of the 25 men on the list, 18 have died. All of the men have been taken out of public ministry.
The list did not specify when or where the alleged abuse took place.
Eight of the men on the list have worked in Eau Claire including Bruce Ball (Immaculate Conception-Regis High School), Thomas Dempsey (Sacred Heart of Jesus-Sacred Heart Hospital), James Ennis (Sacred Heart of Jesus), James Finucan (St. James the Greater), James E. Mason (Immaculate Conception-Regis High School, Newman Center-Regis High School), James Stauber (St. Patrick Jr. High School-Regis High School), Raymond J. Wagner (St. Patrick) and Daniel Budzynski (Newman Parish).
Seven of the men have worked in Chippewa Falls including Eugene Comiskey (Holy Ghost), Thomas Dempsey (Northern Colony and Training School), Richard Herrmann (St. Charles Borromeo-McDonnel High School), William Hertzenberg (Notre Dame), James E. Mason (McDonnel High School), Albert Sonnberger (Notre Dame, St. Charles Borromeo) and Francis Zimmerer (St. Joseph's Hospital).
MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Sunday he wants state lawmakers to pass a package of bills aimed at curbing youth vaping and educating the public about vaping's potential dangers.
The bills Evers, a Democrat, is requesting would ban vaping and vapor products on K-12 campuses and expand the definition of public health emergencies. Another bill would fund a public health campaign to address youth vaping in the state and a fourth proposal would expand the enforcement capacity of the Departments of Revenue and Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to prevent vaping products from being sold to minors.
The governor's office outlined his proposals in a press release Sunday.
"As a parent, grandparent, and lifelong educator, I am deeply concerned about the health and well-being of our kids," Evers said in a statement. "Vaping is a serious public health epidemic and it is time to take action."
The governor's office said vaping products pose serious health risks to young users because the nicotine contained in e-cigarettes can harm parts of the brain that control attention and learning.
EAGLE RIVER - Professional snowmobilers took to the racetrack in Eagle River this weekend. However, they weren't the only ones riding on some top-of-the line sleds.
Arctic Cat was at the derby offering demo rides on their 2021 models. People got a chance to try out the different machines, and put money down on a model of their choice.
Sales director Joe Klosterman said it's important for people to try before they buy.
"We do it to give an experience to the consumer," said Klosterman. "You wouldn't buy a car without driving it. We've also got a new model this year that I think is going to bring a lot of new people into the industry."
Demo workers took guests out on a 10-mile loop to experience some of the best trails in the Northwoods. Those trails featured curbs, some fresh powder, and lots of bumps to test the machines' suspension.
Klosterman said Arctic Cat sold lots of sleds over the weekend thanks to the promotion.
IRON COUNTY - One person died in a snowmobiling incident in Iron County early Sunday morning. The victim was identified as a 47-year-old female.
According to a press release by the Iron County Sheriff's Department, dispatch received a call at 1:52 a.m. reporting a snowmobile crashed on Trail 17 just outside Hurley and the operator was unresponsive.
First responders arrived at 2:04 a.m. and began taking life saving measures. The driver was then transported by rescue sled to Beacon ambulance and then to Aspirus GVH in Ironwood, MI.
After continued life-saving measures, the 47-year-old female was pronounced dead at Aspirus Hospital.
OSHKOSH, WIS. (AP) - A Wisconsin teenager who was shot and wounded when he stabbed a school resource officer has been ordered to stand trial.
Grant Fuhrman, 17, is charged as an adult with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the Dec. 3 attack at Oshkosh West High School.
Fuhrman is accused of stabbing Mike Wissink multiple times with a barbecue fork. Court documents say the officer was unable to reach his stun gun so he shot Fuhrman twice. Neither was seriously injured.
The school was evacuated and classes were cancelled for two days.
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