Four Rhinelander high school students competed in the Special Olympics State Summer Games this weekend, including one girl who took home a gold medal.

Hannah Karstead won first in the softball throw and 3rd in the 50 meter run. James Michniak took 2nd in the 100 meter run . Krystal Kriesel (KREE-zal) placed 4th in the softball throw. Keegan Marko placed 4th in both shot put and the 100 meter run.

Pelican Elementary School Receives $1500 LEAN Grant

Jun 1, 2015

Pelican Elementary School students and staff have a new opportunity for hands-on learning. They will be planting a school garden, thanks to a $1500 grant from LEAN—which stands for Linking Education, Activity, and Nutrition—and is a coalition through the Oneida County Health Department. The hope is that students and staff will able to harvest and taste-test their hard work this fall.


Next April, Rhinelander voters will see an advisory referendum  whether the city should petition the legislature to become the next community with a Premier Resort Area Tax.

The question asks whether the city should levy one-half cent on a dollar sales tax on tourist-related  items.

The money raised could only be used to upgrade infrastructure, namely city streets. The city could like to fix Lincoln Street from Oneida to Eisenhower Parkway, Stevens Street, Boyce Drive and Oneida Avenue, totaling some $2 million dollars.

Restaurant owners in Rhinelander are looking for input about what they can do differently.  Oneida County UW Extension is organizing two focus groups Monday night…to talk about dining options in Rhinelander. 

Extension Agent Tim Brown says several recent surveys have revealed a sense of public dissatisfaction with the Rhinelander restaurant scene.  The focus groups hope to identify some of what the public is looking for. 

Salvation Army USA West

A new food pantry could be coming to town, if a Rhinelander woman can find the right distribution space.  

WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski sat down with Chrissie Peterson who thinks Ruby’s Pantry would benefit the Northwoods.  

Chrissie Peterson says Ruby’s Pantry would be held one day a month, and would serve working class families.

“The target market that I think Ruby’s pantry is for is those familes less fortunate that live paycheck to paycheck.  With Ruby’s Pantry you pay 15 dollars for roughly 100 dollars worth of food.”

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

With Halloween here, local governments are proving that some things can come back from the dead. 

"I thought this thing was dead and buried"....

Joshua Mayer

The city of Rhinelander is getting funds to pay for a new boat landing.  

More than $400,000 are coming in from DNR and federal grants.  City Parks and Grounds Director Gunder Paulson says the launch will be at the site of an old DNR ranger station.

“We’re calling this the Boyce Drive boat landing.  It’s right by Shephard  Park.  And it’s at the confluence of the Pelican and Wisconsin Rivers.  Very beautiful spot.”

The project will consist of piers and a paved boat launch area.  It will also include bathrooms and a parking lot. 

William Warby

Rhinelander’s Ministry St. Mary’s Hospital is hosting a gathering for cancer survivors.  

It’s the sixth annual Celebration of Life.  Event organizer Kim Hetland is a Manager in Radiation Oncology at Ministry’s James Beck Cancer Center.  She says the evening is also a chance to honor those lost to cancer. 

“We wanted it more than just a cancer survivor event.  We wanted it more of a celebration – of life, that would honor not only our cancer survivors but also our patients that have passed on.”

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The victim in a Monday night shooting in Rhinelander remains in critical condition.  

The 49-year-old male received a single gunshot wound in the abdomen.  Police responded to the incident at a residence on Mason Street at 7:45 pm.  The wounded man was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander, and was later airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield. 

A Rhinelander Catholic school is hoping to take part in the state’s expanded school voucher program.  Nativity of Our Lord Catholic School is one of 48 schools statewide that registered for the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program.  It allows low-income students to attend private or religious schools using a state-funded voucher.  Nativity Catholic School Principal Shirley Heise says it’s an opportunity for some families to afford a faith-based education. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Businesses in downtown Rhinelander put on their best show for an annual street fair Wednesday.  

It was a breezy day on Brown Street and vendors were out in full force, selling everything from antiques to tshirts to shaved ice.  Justine Whitefish is selling frybread.  She's been making it for 33 years but she’s a new entrepreneur.  It’s her first year at Redikulus Dae and she’s a little disappointed by the turnout. 

Downtown Rhinelander is gearing up for an annual one-day street fair.  Redikulus Dae is designed to bring people out to shop downtown.  Executive Director for Downtown Rhinelander Inc. Maggie Steffen says it’s been a tradition for 55 years.

“I can tell you – some of us that have grown up here, it was a big deal to go downtown on that day and see your family and friends.  It was a way to meet up with people that you haven’t seen in a while.  It’s just a fun atmosphere – it’s not necessarily just shopping, it’s more of almost an experience.”

Matt Clark

Rhinelander is about to get hit with a wave of country music fans, during the area’s biggest tourism event. 

  The four-day Hodag Country Festival begins Thursday, and tens of thousands of people are expected to attend.  Director of the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce Lara Reed says the economic impact on the region is huge.

“We say for every visitor that spends the night in our community, it’s $180 a day. So if we say there’s 20,000 people for Hodag Country Fest, it’s a $3.6 million impact a day for the duration of the festival.”

Liana Kyle

It’s almost the time of year for School of the Arts Rhinelander.  That’s when the University of Wisconsin Madison Continuing Studies sets up a five-day art school for adults in a Rhinelander middle school. 

Director Lynn Tarnoff says she and staff are getting ready to haul at least one van full of supplies from Madison. 

“Actually make that two vans.  And one of them’s been upgraded to a pick up truck with a car top carrier.”

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

ArtStart kicks off a new summer exhibit today in Rhinelander.  It’s the first show to go up in the gallery after a series of renovations. 

The work on display in the "Art of Hunting and Fishing" ranges from woodcuts and drawings of duck hunters, to a collection of antique decoys and a birchbark canoe.  ArtStart Board President Ken Juon says he hopes the outdoorsy topic will appeal even to those who might not typically find themselves in a gallery.