Three Lakes to spend $10,000 on study for potential hotel developmentSubmitted: 01/06/2020
Maya Reese
Maya Reese
Reporter/Digital Content Director

Three Lakes to spend $10,000 on study for potential hotel development
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.

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MILWAUKEE -  Milwaukee's former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd's death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department. 

The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

 Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. 

Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he's retiring because if he returned as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would negatively impact his pension payments. 

Morales also defended his record as chief. 

His attorney says he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.

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Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.

"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.

And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.

"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.

A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.

"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."

For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.

"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."

But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.

"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline. 

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In August 2018, Foxconn committed $100 million to the university to help fund an engineering building and for company-related research. It gave the school $700,000 in the first year of a 5-year agreement and records show the school has received no additional money over the past year.

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Garland Nelson, of Braymer, is facing the death penalty in the deaths of 24-year-old Justin Diemel and 35-year-old Nicholas Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin. They disappeared after visiting Nelson's farm in July 2019 and their burned remains were later found in Missouri and Nebraska.

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