WAUSAU - Wausau West, Eau Claire North, Lakeland, Merrill, and Antigo scrimmaged in Wausau on Friday. High school football teams are cramming as much as they can during their last days of practice. The coaches agreed that it was a great opportunity for their players to get a taste of game speed. "We have a lot of young guys and that had to see how fast varsity football is," said Nick Sturm, the head coach at Merrill. "They got a taste of it today and I think it was an eye opening experience early on and I think they started catching up to the speed."
"Game speed is a lot different than practice speed," said Mike Mestelle, the head coach at Lakeland. "It takes you a few games to get up to that game speed and I think our guys responded to that challenge pretty well." The scrimmage included three teams from the Great Northern Conference. All three coaches believe the conference is anyone's to take. "I think it's going to be wide open this year," said Matt Weberpal, the head coach at Antigo. "I really do there aren't many returners starting." "I think its wide open," Sturm said. "There are a lot of good teams out there but they're young." "It's a wide open conference," Mestelle said. "We're excited, I think we have our best group we've had in four years." The teams will continue to put on their final touches before kick off on August 22nd.
EAGLE RIVER - If you want a new summer activity, look no further than Eagle River. A new art studio offers many different classes to kids and adults.
"We've been here for a month, but the organization has been together for about three years," said Summer Program Director Erica Bush. "We're very excited to be in our own building finally."
Classes can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. People can sign up for classes ahead of time or just walk into the center. Program directors think it's important for kids to get involved in art early on.
"It's the creativity that the kids learn about," said Bush. "Creativity can go into all different aspects—math, science—it's everywhere. So enforcing art when they're really young will really lead to a more intelligent future for these kids."
The center offers anything from painting to pottery to cooking. Kids shared why they love to take art classes. "You could just grab a piece of paper or something and then you can just doodle on it," said 4th grader Nicholas Fluegel.
"It's really calming, and there's no bad way to do art," said 6th grader Grace Florence.
LINCOLN COUNTY - A Tomahawk homeowner was able to scare off burglars back in March, even after being hit in the face with the hatchet. Now, a Merrill man will need to find 25 dollars in cash to get out of jail.
28-year-old Chad Staehle was charged with four felonies for breaking into a home in Tomahawk. Police believe he and three other men broke into the home with a hatchet and crowbar.
FLORENCE - People in some areas of Wisconsin may take easy access to groceries for granted. People in Florence don't.
Last year, the USDA considered the Florence area a "food desert". There was no grocery store in all of Florence County, and it had been that way for seven years.
That's all changed. Pat's Foods has now been open for a year in town.
A vacant space in Florence looked like a slab of concrete with a roof a year ago. Now, Pat's Foods stays busy every day at the location. The full service grocery store supplies food and fresh produce, meats, and dairy. That convenience means people are shopping steadily at Pat's, and business is good.
RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Musical Festival kicks off on Thursday.
But there are already plenty of people camping out for the big event in the Northwoods.
Those campers benefit businesses in the Northwoods both new and old.
Johnny Nickolaou, who opened his liquor store in Sugar Camp around Thanksgiving, understands the importance of tourism.
"Huge, you know you depend on locals year round and they are great, but if it weren't for them I could never afford to be open," said Nickalaou. "But it's really nice getting this push to hopefully get us through the winter months."
Nickolaou set up a deal in preparation of Hodag Country Festival. He discounted around 10 large orders.
"15 case orders, most of them which is quite a bit I thought," said Nickalaou.
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