Phelps, Wabeno to get help revitalizing downtownsSubmitted: 07/02/2014

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

PHELPS, WABENO - Two small Northwoods communities will be able to use state-level resources to help revitalize their downtowns.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation accepted both Phelps and Wabeno into its Connect Communities Program last week.

Phelps and Wabeno will be able to connect with similar communities around the state to share ideas.

State-level staff will also visit to offer training for revitalization and redevelopment.

"Phelps and Wabeno, I've been working with those communities for almost two years now in both cases. They have some potential with regards to the dedicated group of individuals that are there working with them," said Naletta Burr, a WEDC Community Account Manager.

We've told you about the Friends of Wabeno group.

The volunteers are committed to making Wabeno a more vibrant community.

"Phelps is not that different from that standpoint, either. They've got a very strong base of elected officials that are working with them," Burr said. "They're working on downtown. They've got some tremendous opportunities with regards to some redevelopment opportunities. Both of them are great candidates. I'm excited that they're both in the program this year."

The Village of Marathon City will also participate in this year's program.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp portraying lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. all had a piece of history to share.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event had a hay maze, horse drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

"People come to this whether there's good weather of bad weather," said Executive Director of the Eagle River Chamber Kim Emerson. "And with this year being great weather, we had above-average crowds and it was just spectacular. We're so happy about that."

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the World's Largest Cranberry Cheesecake had already been devoured. Sales of slices go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. 

Organizers said they also almost sold out of cranberries, but they said they would still have more to sell on Sunday. 

There were also dozens of craft vendors, food and wine and cranberry marsh tours.

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The land, about a half mile off Highway 47 along Ole Lake Road, was the site of an old landfill that the DNR closed in July 1988. The site has been empty ever since.

Buying the land would essentially double the space Newbold already owns for its planned recreation area.

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VILAS COUNTY - In July, Karen Wessel gave her life to save a boy from drowning in Vilas County's Star Lake.  Now she is being recognized for her heroism.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced Wessel as one of 22 recipients of the Carnegie medal.  It's presented to people who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while trying to save the life of another.

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MERRILL - Firefighters need to be prepared to rescue people from more than just fires.

People can get trapped in tree stands, water, or a tight spot. 

Local fire departments respond to those emergencies.

Merrill's first Citizen's Fire Academy learned about these specialized rescues Thursday night.

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The UW Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction just wrapped up its summer research season.

The UW Trout Lake Station is a research station for limnology students at UW Madison. It's mostly graduate students and faculty from Madison's Center for limnology.

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