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Wausau Chamber of Commerce gives local businesses a chance to stay afloatSubmitted: 08/13/2020
Story By Nate Meihak

Wausau Chamber of Commerce gives local businesses a chance to stay afloat
WAUSAU -

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on many businesses. Even something as simple as networking with other business owners can be complicated. But, the Wausau Chamber of Commerce is trying to help. They've hosted their networking events for years, but since going virtual they've had to adjust to help local businesses stay on track.

"This desire was out there," said Chamber Marking Manager, Brian Otten.

There was a common desire among businesses to get back to normal and doing so meant making changes.



"It's been well received. We've had individuals who have attended numerous Nothing but Networking Programs," Otten said, "We've got a lot of people that check it out for the first time we do it and a lot of those people return as well."

Nothing but Networking has been a staple for Wausau Chamber members, that includes Health in Motion's Stacey Marcum.

"I think it's been really, really positive. It's also people from different industries who can tell their stories, say what's going on, and pitch their business, and also talk about how we can get through these harder times together. And make our community stronger because of it," Marcum said.

With the meetings moving online for the time being, it's given Chamber members a learning experience. One that will impact the future of business.

"Everything that we've learned the last few months is going to incorporated into what the chamber is and does," Otten explained.

"And I think even moving forward, if there's not an opportunity even after the pandemic. To do an online event, to still connect with each other, and I think that would be very beneficial," Marcum added.

The next Nothing but Networking event is scheduled for August 24th. Marathon County business owners can register for the event on the chamber's website.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Farm adapts to COVIDSubmitted: 09/24/2020

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MERRILL - Grampa's Farm in Merrill like a lot of businesses have had to adapt because of COVID.

"We've expanded our hours and we've expanded our play areas to include more things and outdoor space," said Jered Severt, operator at Grampa's Farm.

But change is something that Severt and his family are used to.

"The dairy industry just wasn't working out for the smaller farmer," Severt said.

Severt and his family have had their barn for over 100 years.

"When I was born I came back to this farm," Severt said. "When my father was born he came back to this farm. My grandfather and his father and the previous father have all worked the soil here and have been a part of Grampa's Farm."

And without all the help from his family and friends, he knows none of this would be possible.

"It still continues to be family run but friends and neighbors," Severt said. "A lot of people working together to make this happen for a lot of other people." 

For more information on Grampa's Farm check out their website.

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- The way lawyers for Kyle Rittenhouse tell it, he wasn't just a scared teenager acting in self-defense when he shot to death two Kenosha, Wisconsin, protesters. He was a courageous defender of liberty, a patriot exercising his right to bear arms amid rioting in the streets.

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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison lifted quarantine orders for two of its largest dorms on Wednesday, on a day when the state added 56 hospitalizations from COVID-19 complications to its record total.

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WASHINGTON - Spotify and the makers of Fortnite and Tinder are taking on Apple and Google as part of a newly formed coalition calling for "fair treatment" in the way the tech giants run their app stores.

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- Park Falls Police Department is investigating two incidents when a man approached middle school boys earlier this month. It's an incident that the City of Park Falls Chief Jerome Ernst says he has not experienced in the last 30 years.

"This type of report is very rare for us, but you see these types of things happen. You now all over the place, Park Falls is not exempt.," Ernst said.

Ernst says back on September 8th, a middle school cross country runner was approached by a man after his practice near Chequamegon High School in Park Falls. The man told the boy that he was from 'Up North', and was asking for help to find the hospital. The second incident occurred on September 16th, when a man matching a similar description was seen on Saunders Avenue in Park Falls near Hines Park. When he approached two boys who were also in Middle School.

"The person only stated 'Do you want to race', and the kid just kinda ignored him, because he is a stranger, and he wasn't comfortable about it," Ernst said. "The other child however, tells us that the person said, 'Do you want to race me to my house. If you win I'll give you some prize or treats', Something like that," Ernst said.
Then last Friday a man matching a similar description was also seen in Wausau. According to a Facebook post and video posted online, he was accused of watching a group of girls.
"The description of the individual, looks a little bit like the person in the video. Although it's hard to tell because the videos are a little bit shaded and dark. The vehicle is definitely not the same like it is in Park Falls," Ernst said.
However, Park Falls and Wausau Police Department are partnering up to see if the incidents may be connected.
Even if the cases are not connected, Ernst says it's a good reminder of stranger danger.
"If you are going out to play or do things or walk over to the park, stay in groups with your trusted friends or family. Talk to them about stranger danger. Not to immediately trust, a new person or strange person," Ernst said. 

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WASHINGTON - Many American workers applying for unemployment benefits after being thrown out of a job by the coronavirus face a new complication: States' efforts to prevent fraud have delayed or disrupted their payments.

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MADISON - On September 22nd the United States hit a staggering 200,000 COVID-19 deaths. Wisconsin alone has 100,000 cases. The high numbers of deaths and cases can be lowered by modifying our behaviors and by wearing a mask properly.

There have been revisions to the mask mandate. Originally, it was said that only people not feeling well are required to wear it. It was changed when it was discovered that just talking could cause an outbreak.

Dr. Jeff Pothof of UW Madison Health spoke about how not wearing a mask can affect your long term health.

"People who had no idea they were sick had enough virus where they could spread it and the only thing they needed to do to spread it was talk to someone else," said Pothof.

COVID-19 is all across the country and not wearing a mask is putting yourself and the people around you at risk.

"There is no way you can know. It is everywhere right now. To think that you live in a location where COVID-19 hasn't reached yet is just not true," said Pothof.

To ensure you're protected, wear a cloth mask that is two layers thick to prevent your droplets from escaping and to protect from other droplets.

Make sure to wash your cloth masks once a week and change paper masks once every three to 5 days.

"They need to cover your nose and your mouth. If you only cover your mouth, the mask is not effective. Those droplets are coming out your nose and it just doesn't work," said Pothof.

For those thinking there's no repercussions from catching COVID-19, there are health risks that can be long term and affect your everyday life.

"People who have had COVID-19 may not ever return to normal lung function and that can impact them in ways such as in physical exertion and their ability to do things. Their physical stamina may decreased because their lungs are no longer as effective as they were before they had COVID-19," said Pothof.

The other long term health risks of COVID-19 is an inflamed heart.

"Likewise people that have an inflamed heart muscle tissue their hearts don't pump as effectively. The more severe COVID-19 the more inflammation they saw in the heart muscle. And we don't know how long that will last. The more severe the COVID-19 the more inflammation they saw in the heart muscle," said Pothof.

In cities like Madison and Milwaukee, their hospitals are equipped to handle a large influx of people and have special wards to combat COVID-19--unlike the smaller hospitals in our communities.

"Even if you have a small outbreak , you're going to quickly strip the healthcare resources in your community and when that happens only bad things happen to those people," said Pothof.

Make sure to mask up properly, to keep your loved ones and your community safe. For more information, you can visit the CDC website.

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