2019 Small Business Award Spotlight: Wausau River District

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WAOW

MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) — Wausau River District receives the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year Award in the Charitable Non-profit category.

The River District is a Main Street America program, working with over 220 businesses spanning 34 blocks on the Wisconsin River.

The group works with local business and entities to promote the area as a place for the community to live, work, and play.

Being chosen out of a group of other non-profits was something it doesn’t take lightly.

“And especially in the non-profit category. Being up there with so many other non-profits, their so deserving of this award. So its just a huge honor that out of all of them that we were chosen this year,” said Blake Opal-Wahoske, Executive Director of Wausau River District.

The River District also points to past leadership as a driving force to getting this award, and hopes to continue raising the bar of success.

Wausau River District has much to be proud of this year. It also received national recognition with the 2019 Great American Main Street Award.

For more information about Wausau River District visit HERE.


3 Wausau region organizations honored for excellence in business

By Emily Boyer - WSAW

By Emily Boyer - WSAW

ROTHSCHILD, Wis. (WSAW) There's a new reason to celebrate three small businesses in the Greater Wausau Region. The Greater Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce handed out their 'Small Business of the Year' awards Tuesday.

A winner was chosen in each of the three categories: Business to business, business to consumer, and charitable nonprofit.

Luoma Design Solutions Inc. took home the trophy in the business to business category. Dan and Leslie Luoma accepted the award but said it's their employees who deserve the honor.

"To have our name announced was certainly a surprise, but I hope this shows our team that they are appreciated and that this is really an award for them".

In the business to consumer category, Ruppel Chiropractic LLC won.
It's run by Steven Ruppel, whose no stranger to the limelight. He holds three Guinness World Records. But he and his team say the Small Business of the Year award came as a complete shock.

"We're very surprised" Steven Ruppel said. His wife, Abby echoed the same sentiment.

"I am shocked. I'm still shaking" she said. Even the lead chiropractic doctor said the award came as a surprise.

"Honestly, just completely blown away. I was not expected this at all," Dr. Morgan Day said.

In the nonprofit category, the Wausau River District took first place in the category. The River District was a finalist in the category in 2017 but didn't make the final cut. Now that they've won the small business of the year award, The Wausau River District Director Blake Opal-Wahoske said it's time to move forward.

"Our plans for the future is to continue the good work for downtown, We do have a new event coming up: Downtown History Walk and we encourage everyone to come explore downtown Wausau and the history" he said.

Winners of the Small Business Year of the Award will share their stories of success in a recognition ceremony Friday.

Wausau State Of The City address details infrastructure and economic development

WSAU - Chris Conley

WSAU - Chris Conley


News

Wausau State Of The City address details infrastructure and economic development

Friday, April 26, 2019 10:49 a.m. CDT by Chris Conley

Outside the Wausau City Hall main entrance 10/23/2013 copyright 2013 Midwest Communications, Inc.

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU)   Infrastructure improvements and economic development opportunities dominated Wausau Mayor Robert Mielke’s third state of the city address.

Speaking at City Hall on Friday morning, the mayor said “the state of the City of Wausau continues to get better.” He announced the city will finish the year with an estimated $1-million surplus, although about one-third of it has already been allocated to road repairs after a difficult winter. The Mayor said snow removal had a large impact on the Public Works portion of the city budget.

The mayor outlined several major road projects that will begin this construction season: the second phase of straightening and widening Thomas Street, rebuilding South 1st Avenue, and work on Townline Road. All three projects will involve detours throughout the summer.

Mayor Mielke repeated his plans to relocate and rebuild the city’s water and sewage treatment plants at a cost of $81-million. “These are the largest assets owned by the city,” he said. “And it is critical to maintain them.” The plant will be relocated from downtown to the city’s far west side. The mayor also said two large pipes that carry water across the Wisconsin River are past their useful life and need to be replaced.

The Mayor said the new, local developers who will take over the Riverlife construction project are a positive development. He hopes construction will resume in June and be finished by late 2020. The city council needs to approve the development changes at their May meeting. The news was less optimistic about the Wausau Center Mall. Mielke said the city is negotiating with a developer that wants to buy the vacant Sears building. But he says the rest of the Wausau Center mall is languishing. He called on the mall owners to either invest in the property to make it viable, or sell it. He said “there is little to no interest on their part.” The Mayor said, “it cannot and will not be the city alone to be the only ones trying to make the Wausau Center Mall work.”

The mayor said Wausau continues to have very high quality of life and a strong economy.


2019 Concerts on the Square Lineup Released

WSAU - Liz Holbrook

WSAU - Liz Holbrook

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -- A sure sign that summer around the corner is the release of the concert lineup for Wausau Event's Concerts on the Square series.

This year the series will run from June 5th until August 21st. Wausau Event's new Executive Director Madison Nowak says the lineup this year features old favorites along with some new faces.

"Some groups like Johnny and the MoTones, the Copper Box, and the Ian Ash Band are all different groups that we have brought in before that we're bringing back. There are also some new ones. And we have also added two more concerts this year, which is pretty exciting. So we're really extending our season a little bit."

Since it's been 9 months from the end of the previous season, Nowak does have some reminders about etiquette at the concerts especially regarding saving spots with blankets.

"When people lay blankets over the grass it tends to suck in all that moisture and kill it. So we ask that no blankets are laid out until concert time is starting. We kind of just like to preface that and tell people, you lay them out, you have to move them. We also want to remind everyone these are family events. We encourage family-friendly behavior as well."

Nowak says the experience at the concerts vary from week to week with different vendors and sponsors. "We still will have an array of food vendors that attend. We usually have about six that come to each concert. And they alternate throughout weeks every other week you have different food vendors that are attending. So it always just kind of depends each night. Every week and every night is a little bit different."

The Concerts on the Square take place at the 400 block in downtown Wausau from 6 to 8 pm every Wednesday from June until mid-August. 2019 is Concerts on the Square's 26th year in downtown Wausau. You can see the full lineup at www.wausauevents.org/concerts-on-the-square


Top Honor For Great Main Streets

Considered a crown jewel of Wausau, Wisconsin, the 400 Block is a centrally-located park with a covered stage for hosting dozens of events annually.  WAUSAU RIVER DISTRICT / COURTESY OF NATIONAL MAIN STREET CENTER

Considered a crown jewel of Wausau, Wisconsin, the 400 Block is a centrally-located park with a covered stage for hosting dozens of events annually.

WAUSAU RIVER DISTRICT / COURTESY OF NATIONAL MAIN STREET CENTER



By: Tom Pfister

The National Main Street Center (NMSC) announced the 2019 winners of the Great American Main Street Award, recognizing communities who’ve excelled in preservation-based revitalization. NMSC presented the annual awards last night in Seattle at the Main Street Now Conference.

Three winners were chosen from applicants across the country by a jury of leaders in historic preservation and economic development. The criteria included: demonstrated success of the Main Street Approach; implementation of model partnerships; commitment to historic preservation; and strength of the Main Street community in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit.

“This year’s winners are proof that our commercial district revitalization approach has the power to transform communities across the country,” NMSC’s President and CEO Patrice Frey said in a statement. For over 35 years, NMSC has developed a knowledge-sharing network of downtown and commercial district revitalization professionals. NMSC is known for their time-tested framework, a trademarked four-point approach of organization, promotion, economic vitality and design.

The Great American Main Street Award winners are as follows:

Alberta Main Street in Portland, Oregon

Situated in northeast Portland, the Alberta Main Street program formed in 2010 after Alberta Street experienced decades of disinvestment. Now approaching ten years into their 20-year vision, stakeholders are committed to inclusion and the shared pursuit of prosperity. The nonprofit community organization’s programs encourage locally-owned small business development and real estate ownership among historically underrepresented local residents. Alberta Main Street reports 60% of the neighborhood commercial district’s businesses are women-owned, and 23% are minority-owned. In 2018, their special events, programs and activities drew 30,000 people to the district, generating an estimated economic impact of over $5 million. With this award, the Alberta Main Street group was recognized for building a thriving and equitable Main Street that reflects the diversity of their district.

Alberta Street in Portland, Oregon

NOTICE PICTURES / COURTESY OF NATIONAL MAIN STREET CENTER

Wausau River District in Wausau, Wisconsin

Along the banks of the Wisconsin River, downtown Wausau went to work and capitalized on its strengths. The impetus for a strategic transformation happened after having lost its competitive edge to outlying real estate development and relocation of businesses. Wausau River District, Inc. formed in 2002, tasked with marshalling downtown development, infrastructure improvements including redesigned streets and sidewalks, and public space enhancements for art installations and special events. Nearly $120 million in private and public investment has energized downtown Wausau’s 34 square blocks, with only 3% vacancy. The district’s events draw over 72,000 visitors annually. The Wausau River District was recognized with this award for cultivating an arts and culture destination with engaging public spaces and a booming local economy.

Wheeling Heritage in Wheeling, West Virginia

Wheeling, West Virginia, the state’s fifth-largest municipality, has had its share of economic woes over the years from declines in the industrial base and the resulting population loss. Designated a Main Street community in 2015, Wheeling Heritage assumed operations a year later after a merger, during a critical time when the downtown commercial vacancy rate was 32%. In less than four years, with a dedicated focus on facilitating the rehabilitation of properties, they’ve tracked reinvestment in 124 buildings, which spurred nearly $50 million of investment downtown including desperately needed market-rate apartments, and attracted 37 net new businesses. The vacancy rate was cut by more than half to 15%. Their recruitment strategies, crowd-funding events for new business ideas, entrepreneur trainings, and partnership grants signal their tangible commitment to keep Wheeling’s revitalization rolling forward. Wheeling Heritage was presented the award for transforming a once-blighted downtown into a thriving destination with a growing small business community.

Wausau River District wins national award for downtown development, preservation

Daly's and Polito's Pizza are two of the restaurants participating in the Downtown Wausau Dining Week   (Photo: Laura Schulte/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

Daly's and Polito's Pizza are two of the restaurants participating in the Downtown Wausau Dining Week (Photo: Laura Schulte/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

By: Megan Stringer, Wausau Daily Herald

WAUSAU - One of the country's three best downtown development programs is in Wausau, according to judges in a Main Street America contest.

The Wausau River District on Monday night won a national award recognizing economic development and historic preservation alongside local growth. 

By winning, the Wausau River District became a Great American Main Street. The River District was recognized as a destination for arts and culture events, creating engaging public spaces and driving a healthy local economy.

The nonprofit organization formed in Wausau in 2002, advocating for business and residential development. The River District works on marketing, events, business retention and other activities in a downtown area that spans 34 blocks with over 220 businesses near the Wisconsin River. The district is known for events such as Downtown Wausau Dining Week and Jazz on the River in the summer.

The award was announced Monday at the Main Street Now conference in Seattle. Wausau River District Executive Director Blake Opal-Wahoske attended the conference. A news release issued before the announcement, under embargo, did not identify the other two winners.

The Great American Main Street Award is given out each year by Main Street America, a network of more than 1,600 urban and rural communities. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Wausau River District is a member of Main Street America. 

Downtown Wausau Receives National Honor

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By: WAOW


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Downtown Wausau Receives National Honor

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WAUSAU (WAOW)– The Wausau River District is one of three winners for the 2019 Great American Main Street Award. The award recognizes communities for their excellence in comprehensive preservation-based commercial district revitalization.

In the past four years, the downtown area has introduced 47 new programs, events and services with a total estimated economic output ranging from $8 to $13.5 million.

“It feels great to get the award. I think the recognition is well deserved and hopefully brings a better understanding of what we’re trying to do down here and draws more attendance to some of the things we do,” said Joseph Mella, the President of the Wausau River District

Wausau River District named Great American Main Street for 2019

By: WJFW

By: WJFW

WAUSAU - Two years ago, Alison Magnuson was a dental assistant but she dreamed of being a store owner. Today, she runs The Local, a hand-crafted goods shop in the heart of Wausau. She'll soon add another store in Weston. While she's been successful largely on her own, only recently hiring a business partner, Magnuson wouldn't have been able to launch her popular shop without some help from the first community to support her.

"The River District has actually had a big impact on our story and how we opened," said Magnuson.

The Wausau River District is a non-profit organization based in downtown Wausau. It has a unique mission: both historic preservation and economic development. That work hasn't gone unnoticed.

On Monday, the River District was one of three organizations across the country awarded the title of Great American Main Street. The award was a long time coming for the River District, too; it was a finalist for the honor the past three years.

The River District has helped add more than 100 new business since 2002 while helping older stores continue to succeed.

"That's what I love about Downtown Wausau. Is that these established business are really able to take these new business under their wing," said Blake Opal-Wahoske, Executive Director of the River District.

Flower shop and home goods store owner Randy Verhasselt agrees. Verhasselt opened his store, Evolutions in Design, over 20 years ago in the River District. He says he's happy to see more stores popping up downtown.

"Safety in numbers, the more of us we can get close to each other the better we can all be," said Verhasselt.

He claims the River District has been instrumental in uniting downtown.

"Since the founding of it, they've kind of been catalyst to pull our downtown together and kind of be like our unified voice," said Verhasselt.

The River District does more than support business, though. Since 2002, the River District advocated for structural changes around town like turning a historic building into apartments and widening walkways for pedestrians. At the same time, they generated an economic impact of anywhere from $8 million to $13.5 million.

The River District has introduced close to 50 community events like Small Business Saturday and Jazz on the River in the past few years alone. Opal-Wahoske says those programs are more targeted than the those put on by the Wausau Chamber of Commerce.

"What makes us a little bit different is we are geographically locked in a 34 square block radius so we really focus on the downtown and the west side," said Opal-Wahoske.


After being recognized on a national stage, Opal-Wahoske wants to do even more for the community.

"It's ongoing, the work never ends" said Opal-Wahoske.

The River District's next big event is Downtown Wausau Dining Week starting April 15th. Participating restaurants will feature a special seafood entree for lunch and dinner in honor of lent.

Wausau unveils plans for 2019 construction projects

By: WJFW

By: WJFW

WAUSAU - Drivers in Wausau will need to deal with closures on major east-west roads and a bridge over the Wisconsin River this summer.

On Wednesday, the city announced its plans for this year's construction projects.

Wausau will completely reconstruct more than a mile of Townline Road.

Work will also close parts of South First Avenue and Thomas Street, including the Wisconsin River bridge.

"It's going to be an inconvenience. There's no getting around that," said Mayor Robert Mielke. "But I always like to say, when this stuff is done, it's going to be great, so you got to look at it in that positive sense."


The cost of the work will be in the tens of millions of dollars, and detours will take traffic through downtown Wausau.

This year, Wausau will also decide whether to retool its aging water treatment plant for $30 million or build a new one for $40 million.

Mielke wants the city to build a new plant.

"We need to start looking long-term, 50-plus years, when it comes to these types of projects. That is part of that future vision of moving the city of Wausau forward," he said.

Once a plan is selected, work will start in 2020. 

The time pianist Don Shirley, the subject of the movie 'Green Book,' came to Wausau

Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali (left) portrays Pensacola native and musician Don Shirley (right) in the hit movie "Green Book" which won Golden Globes for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Screenplay and for Ali (Best Supporting Actor).   (Photo11: Getty Images)

Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali (left) portrays Pensacola native and musician Don Shirley (right) in the hit movie "Green Book" which won Golden Globes for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Screenplay and for Ali (Best Supporting Actor). (Photo11: Getty Images)

Keith Uhlig, Wausau Daily Herald

WAUSAU - Pianist Don Shirley, the subject of the Academy Award-nominated movie "Green Book", confronted racist Jim Crow laws when he performed in the South in the 1960s.

But when Shirley came to Wausau to perform in The Grand theater, he had to deal with another problem altogether: A guy dressed as a gorilla stepped on his birthday cake.

That's the way Barbara Lattimer of Wausau, a voice instructor at the Wausau Conservatory of Music, remembers it.

Barbara's husband of 50 years, businessman and music lover Tom Lattimer, arranged to have Shirley perform in central Wisconsin. She doesn't remember the exact year — she thinks it likely was in the early 1970s, after the era the movie portrays. But portions of that evening stuck with her for nearly 50 years, and the memories came flooding back when she went to see "Green Book."

Barbara enjoyed the movie, especially because it revived the time she met Shirley. It also brought back sweeping memories of Tom, who died in 2012 at age 75. It almost felt, Lattimer said, as if Tom were with her in the theater, or that he might show up as a character in the film.

"Seeing the film was so bittersweet for me," she said.

Community dance party benefits GiGi’s Playhouse

By WSAW Staff  

By WSAW Staff 

Wausau, Wis. (WSAW) -- For another year a community dance party be held in downtown Wausau to benefit families in need.

The party will include face painting, balloon animals, a mascot dance, hula hoop show and lots of music.

Kids Groove 2019 will be held in the old JC Penny space in the Wausau Center Mall on Saturday, February 23 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The organizer, Nic Bisgrove said that the show will happen regardless of the snow.

GiGi’s Playhouse will receive some of the proceeds. 
GiGi's Playhouse's provides delivery of free educational, therapeutic-based and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community.

Tickets sold at the door for $5 or families can bring nonperishable food items.

Love for Wausau to fund new canopy over Kickbusch Plaza

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) In a round about way, pure love for the city of Wausau will purchase a new canopy to help keep musicians, performers, and their equipment cool during the Jazz on the River Concerts in the summer.

The Kickbusch Plaza, located behind the Marathon County Library, houses a stage popularly used during the jazz concert series, but it's also available to the public on a first come, first serve basis. Executive Director Blake Opal-Wahoske with the Wausau River District Organization said use of the stage isn't reaching its full potential.

"It's great to have people down there and it's great to have musicians, however, that heat of the summer and the sun reflecting off of our aluminum stage is counteracting some of our equipment so we're looking at getting a canopy installed."

To pay for the new canopy the organization is looking to love for help. During the month of February a bright red heart is for sale at the cost of one dollar. The heart which is made of card stock gives buyers the chance to fill in the reason they love Wausau. The card is then displayed in the window.

The hearts are not only sold by the Wausau River District Organization but it involves this list of participating businesses:

Shepherd & Schaller
319 Gallery & Bistro
Janke's Book Store 
Poppy’s Boutique 
Second Peak Boutique 
CVA Giftshop 
Blackash Urban Goods
Polito’s Pizza
Lamplighter Fine Gifts 
Antiques by Ginny
The Local 
Campbell Haines Menswear 
Navieve Fromagerie 
Seven One Five Tattoo Collective
Evolutions in Design
The Mint Cafe 
Sweets on Third
Ignite Nutrition
La Prima Deli

All proceeds will go directly to the new canopy.

Wausau Winter Fest continues despite cold temperatures

By    Jerel Ballard    - WSAW

By Jerel Ballard  - WSAW

WAUSAU, Wis (WSAW) -- The cold weather on Saturday resulted in several outdoor activities during the Wausau Winter Fest to be canceled. Meanwhile, the indoor activities went off without a hitch.

“Don’t let the cold weather scare you, come on out,” said Wausau native Mae Cantrell, as she admired the ice sculptures on the 400 Block. “There is so much to do, just dress warm,” she added. “My daughter and I just made bath salts and now we are going to have some Mac and Cheese inside."

Despite the weather, dozens of families braved freezing temperatures to participate in the free activities throughout the downtown area. This was the eighth year in a row that Wausau Events organized the event.

"Generally, this weekend for the last eight years have been fantastic. It's been about 35 degrees and sunny,” explained Lindsey Lewitzke, who serves on the Board for Wausau Events. “We knew we would eventually get really cold weather and this happens to be that day.”

There was everything from horse-drawn carriage rides, ice skating, face painting, live music and even a slide made of snow. Many participants popped in and out of nearby businesses just to stay warm.

“If you are going to come outside, you must make sure you have the top five items,” explained Oshay Johnson, as he ice skated with his best friend. “Make sure you have a hat, snow pants, coat, gloves, and boots.”

The Wausau Winter Fest happens one day out of the year, but the snow slide will remain on the 400 Block until it melts. 

Snow carving team creates art in Wausau

Snow sculpture. Image courtesy: WAOW TV.

Snow sculpture. Image courtesy: WAOW TV.

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU-WAOW) -- A team of renowned snow artists are spending the weekend in Wausau at the Woodson Art Museum for their annual snow carving event.

Team USA Snow Carving is braving the coldest weekend of the winter so far to create an Op-Art cube that will remain on display outside the museum for the rest of the winter.

Artists started carving on Saturday with the goal of finishing the project on Sunday. The sculpture will also be lit up at night.

It's the 30th year that the team has been invited to create art out of snow in Wausau. “Wausau is a community to celebrate winter,” Tom Queoff told WAOW TV. “You’ve got your ski hill, you’ve got a lot of other things going on and this is just another little thing you can do with snow too. You could do it in your backyard.”

The Op-art design goes along with the current display inside the museum, which features three-dimensional optical illusion art pieces by Victor Vasarely. The display is free and open to the public through February 24th.

Wausau YWCA hosts forum on racial reconciliation

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)-- In what might be the most polarizing political climate in recent years, one group visits Wausau in effort to help raise awareness to certain injustices.

The Wausau YWCA hosted the nurturing diversity partner’s doctor Fran Kaplan and Reggie Jackson.

They try to help educate people to foster diversity and inclusivity in communities. On Sunday in Wausau, the duo spoke about why inclusivity is important even in central Wisconsin.

"I think the richness of America, the diversity of America is really the strongest suit we have. The fact that we have people from so many people from so many cultures. And all of these cultures combine to make us a very diverse nation on the planet. And we should appreciate and explore the fact that people have differences not as negatives, but as positive. So we can become a very rich cultural nation," Jackson said.

The nurturing diversity partners finished their Wausau forums Sunday, they will continue to travel around the Midwest.

Whatever Happened to?: Glen Moberg

By    Jeff Thelen  , WSAW

By Jeff Thelen, WSAW

It was actually a camping trip to northern Wisconsin while working as a reporter in Chicago in 1990 that helped write the first verse in Glen Moberg's time here, "it rained, so I went to visit the TV stations in this area because we had nothing to do it was raining out. And Mark sat me down and welcomed me with open arms and I sat and chatted with him for a couple hours and walked away thinking wouldn't it be great to leave behind the crime and the dirt and the grime of the big city."

Mark is former NewsChannel 7 news director Mark Zelich. Two years later Zelich retired and called Glen to come back to Wausau to apply for the job.

During his nearly 6-years as news director and anchor, Glen says the train derailment that lead to the evacuation of Weyauwega is the story that sticks out the most. He says he's also proud of the team he assembled.

After his time at NewsChannel 7, Glen worked mostly behind the scenes at Channel 9. Then, for the last 15-years he's been with Wisconsin Public Radio. A job that's earned him dozens of awards from various journalistic organizations.

Glen says, "I think I was able to turn out some of my best work because I was able to focus on just being a story teller and an anchor and a reporter."

He and his wife also own the Northwoods Goldsmith jewelry store in downtown Wausau.

In September, Glen was handed devastating news after stomach trouble sent him to the doctor, "and they discovered that I had cancer, stomach cancer and it's terminal and there's really nothing they can do to fix it."

Now, he's enjoying life as much as possible. Writing, playing and recording music and calling people he hasn't spoken to in years.

"What you need to do is live each day as if it might be your last, because it could very well be. Think twice before you say something harsh think twice before you insult somebody or get mad if someone is important to you, let them know that you love them."

Glen is undergoing chemotherapy. He says it won't cure him but may extend his life. And since he has good quality of life right now, he's having the treatment.

Wausau Events to hold annual 'Winter Fest'

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- The annual Winter Fest event will be held once again this year on the 400 Block.

"Winter Fest is a celebration of all the fun things of Winter! It happens throughout downtown Wausau with many activities occurring throughout the event," explained interim Executive Director with Wausau Events, Lindsey Lewitzke.

This year features the giant slide on the 400 Block, the dog sled pull, crafts, fat tire bikes, the Mac N Cheese Tasting, and so much more.

"This tasting features local restaurants’ take on Mac N Cheese! For $5, you can sample each restaurant’s dish and vote for your favorite," Lewitzke said.

Participating restaurants include City Grill, Milwaukee Burger Company, Noodles, Sixth Street Filling Station and Hiawatha.

Winter Fest is Saturday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. throughout downtown Wausau. All activities are free except for the Mac N Cheese Tasting which is $5 per card.

400 Block ice rink preparations underway

Curtis Aderholdt,  a WAOW photo journalist.

Curtis Aderholdt, a WAOW photo journalist.

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — As of Thursday, initial layers of ice were visible at the 400 block.

However, there’s more work to be done before skaters can try it out.

The Marathon County Parks Department reports they’ve been working quickly on it due to the lower temperatures this week.

Employees say the lack of snow underneath the ice will make it more difficult to maintain.

“Right now you can clearly see the concrete and the turf underneath showing through,” Operation Manager Bob Stephens said. “So, we’re going to be monitoring it on a daily basis, making sure that it’s safe for the public to use.”

Stephens and his fellow employees hope to have it finished before the upcoming Winterfest event, which takes place downtown at the end of the January.

He added that the completion of the rink is dependent on upcoming weather.

Hi Restaurant to replace Chang Garden in downtown Wausau, serve plethora of Chinese food

Photo: Laura Schulte/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Photo: Laura Schulte/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Megan Stringer, Wausau Daily Herald

WAUSAU - A new Chinese restaurant is set to replace Chang Garden in downtown Wausau. Hi Restaurant will be the new restaurant at 102 Jefferson St. A Chang Garden employee said the new owners will take over on Wednesday, but there isn't a definite opening date yet for the new eatery. 

Owners will also be looking for new employees. 

A menu posted to Hi Restaurant's Facebook page shows a variety of sushi, soups and Chinese lunch choices. There is a range of vegetarian options and curry dishes, as well. Delivery will be available with a minimum order of $15.

Sunday will be Chang Garden's last day in business, but it can still be found in Weston at 4215 Barbican Ave. Chang Garden owners made the decision, announced earlier this month, to close the Wausau location to focus on their Weston location. That location recently underwent renovations that include gas grills so that guests can cook their own Chinese barbecue and hot pot set-ups.

Hi Restaurant is a member of the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce. The company registered with the state as Hi, Yummy! in early December. 

Hi Restaurant owners said in a Facebook message Friday that more information about the new venture would be forthcoming.



CBD on menus in Wausau, but human use studies are limited

By:  Ally Wallenta - WAOW

By: Ally Wallenta - WAOW

WAUSAU (WAOW) —  CBD is now being added into drinks at bars across the state, including in Wausau.

One of the owners of Daly’s in downtown Wausau said customers have been intrigued by the new addition to the menu.

“People are interested in having CBD with their cocktail,” Owner Tee Daly said.

The trend started after hemp was legalized as an industrial crop in Wisconsin.

CBD oil is a hemp product, and can contain trace amounts of  THC,which is also found in marijuana. However, CBD oil doesn’t cause a high like marijuana does.

The Great Dane is also serving CBD beverages, including beer.

“The owners, I know, believe in the benefits of CBD,” said General Manager Corey Young.

One scientist said that CBD can help with anxiety, sleep and inflammation. But the studies on human use are still

limited.

One concern about CBD is that it’s not regulated like other drugs.

“A drug you buy from the pharmacy, there’s a lot of control over it,” said Cecilia Hilliard, the Director of the Neuroscience Research Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Hilliard warns that like any crop, hemp can be contaminated by pesticides, heavy metals and mold.

She suggest asking about the CBD being used to ensure its quality.

Both Daly’s and the Great Dane said they work with suppliers to make sure their CBD is up to standards.