A Ministry Medical Group spokesperson hopes people remember their New Year's resolutions to get more physically active and join a group starting soon at the YMCA of the Northwoods.

Ministry Medical Group is teaming up with the YMCA of the Northwoods and the Northwoods LEAN Coalition to begin the Kick Start program.

Ministry Medical Group health coach Hope Williams says the program is designed to get people moving during a time when many people are sedentary...

The 11th Annual Labatt Blue USA Adult Pond Hockey Championships are set for this weekend on Dollar Lake in Eagle River.

The event brings hundreds of teams and thousands of spectators to watch amateur hockey the way it was played in its earliest days: sticks, a puck and teams playing on a lake. 2

80 teams consisting of seven players have signed up. Each team brings friends and family to the tourney. For Eagle River Chamber of Commerce Director Kim Emerson, the weekend is a boost for the economy during a normally slower time of the year...

State Approved Photo ID Required For Elections

Feb 2, 2016

  As of February 1, Wisconsin residents could start voting at their local clerk’s office for the February 16 local primaries, including three-way State Supreme Court contest. This is the first statewide election in four years that voters will have to show photo IDs. League of Women Voters Spokesperson Jane Trotter says voters need a state approved photo ID in order to receive a ballot.

It appears that southwest Wisconsin, the state's mid-section, and Lake Superior will get the brunt of the Groundhog Day snowstorm that's moving in.

The National Weather Service says the snow and strong winds will begin at mid-to-late morning in the western half of the state -- and some places could get freezing rain late Tuesday(2/2/16) before it snows again Wednesday.

Enplanements at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport last year were nearly the same number as the year before. Airport Director Joe Brauer says the number of passengers were down about 25 from the year before. He says they are limited by the number of flights they have...

".....we have, basically, our 100 seats a day. There are only so many people we can get on and with no least we're glad it's staying pretty steady...."

It's time to file taxes, and a state Department of Revenue spokesperson says filers need to be wary of someone trying to steal their money electronically.

Spokesperson Stephanie Marquis says about 85 percent of all state tax filings are online. She says the Department of Revenue's system has never been compromised...

Public Domain Images

  El Nino has been the center of attention this winter making for surprisingly warm temperatures. But participants in the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count may also be in for a few surprises. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a worldwide count tracking changes in bird distribution. Local bird enthusiast Bob Dall says some of those changes may be traced back to El Nino and other unusual weather patterns.

Many people without warm winter clothing will be helped as the state Department of Tourism reports a record number of items donated to their annual "Big Bundle Up" campaign.

Department of Tourism spokesperson Kristina LeVan says residents, travelers and businesses across the state were very generous...

"....we broke our collection record with more than 22,000 items donated across the state. The whole campaign over the last couple of years has collected more than 71,000 items in total..."

Legislature Favoring Private Municipal Water Owners

Feb 1, 2016

A state Senate panel has endorsed a bill that could make it easier for private investors to own public water utilities in Wisconsin.

The G-O-P measure was endorsed on a three-to-two party line vote, and it now goes to the full Senate after the Assembly earlier approved a similar bill. Right now, private out-of-state firms can buy public water supplies, but affected voters must approve the deals in referendums.

The bill from Assembly Republican Tyler August of Lake Geneva would make referendums optional.

While parts of Wisconsin are seeing very low unemployment numbers, 5 of the 15 highest numbers of unemployment come from Northwoods.

Preliminary December 2015 rates decreased or remained the same in 68 of Wisconsin's 72 counties compared to rates in December 2014. The latest rates ranged from 2.9 percent in Dane to 8.7 percent in Iron. lsewhere in the Northwoods, Vilas had the state's fifth highest rate at 7.8 percent, Forest at 7.2, Oneida 6.2, Langlade 5.9, Lincoln 4.9 and Price at 4.7 percent.

Caterpillar Inc has confirmed they will close its forest products facility in Prentice and move production to existing Caterpillar facilities in LaGrange, Georgia, and Victoria, Texas.

The company issued a statement on its reorganization today.

The transition will impact approximately 220 positions in Prentice. Those positions include office and production employees as well as agency workers.

  The Town of Newbold is working to build an outdoor recreation area, but the committee is asking for sponsors to support the build. The area will offer a hiking/snowshoe trail, disc golf course, birding, wildlife viewing and benches. Committee member Jackie Cody says people can make an unrestricted donation or fund their project through a sponsor.

“…they can support it through a basket or a hole at the course or they can donate toward the hiking and snowshoeing trail or they can donate for a bench that will be placed along the walking trail.”

Midwest leaders from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services are reminding rural uninsured residents that the deadline to enroll for healthcare is coming soon. The next open window in the Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act closes on Sunday.

Stan Gruszynski is state USDA Rural Development Director. He says prior to the the Act, rural families paid nearly 50 percent of health care costs out of pocket. He says nearly one in five farmers are in debt because of medical bills....

Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board this week approved a record number of bear harvest permits.

DNR wildlife biologist Dave MacFarland of Rhinelander told the board the goal is to maintain populations in the Northwoods. They would also like to stabilize the population south of Highway 64, and reduce the population in northwestern Wisconsin. He says bear population numbers and conflicts are the highest in that part of the state. MacFarland says the DNR would authorize 11,500 permits with a bear harvest quota of 4.750. He says interest in bear hunting continues to grow...

Seven persons have died in fires this week in Wisconsin and an American Red Cross spokesperson says it's time for everyone to check for fire hazards.

Two children in Sheboygan Falls died this week in a house fire. Another fire in Antigo injured a teenager. Several other fires have been reported in the Northwoods this winter.

American Red Cross spokesperson Barbara Behling says fires kill more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes and lightning strikes combined. She says one of the deadly fire starters is smoking in bed...