Volunteers gear up for the 2018 Komen Central Wisconsin Race for the Cure

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By: Melissa Langbehn of WAOW

WAUSAU (WAOW)-- Volunteers gathered at the Central Wisconsin Race for the Cure headquarters in the Wausau Center mall Tuesday.

The group from Church Mutual Insurance in Merrill folded shirts for the walkers and runners in the upcoming race.

 "This is the second year we have done this it is a good cause," volunteer Melanie Roth said.

Organizer Kris Alston said volunteers are still needed for race day on Sunday and anyone who wants to sign up to walk or run can do so here  or show up before the race starts.

The goal of the fundraiser is $100,000.

The money is used to pay for screening and treatments services.

"Everyone knows someone affected by this disease. When it affects you-- it sure puts a spin on you. This race is a great way to celebrate where we are and how far we have come," Kris Alston said.

The race begins and ends at the 400 block in downtown Wausau on Sunday morning.

NEWS 9 WAOW is proud to sponsor the event.

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A story of survival: Lori Brehmer

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By: Melissa Langbehn of WAOW

WAUSAU (WAOW) - Lori Brehmer of Mosinee is a breast cancer survivor.

In 2016, after a routine mammogram, she learned she had the life-threatening disease.

"It was a shocking experience," Brehmer said. "You don't anticipate it when you get that call. I had no family history. No signs. Nothing I noticed."

She underwent a mastectomy, beginning a journey surrounded by family and friends.

"My recovery was remarkably fast and I decided I wanted to reach out to help others," Brehmer said. "The experience can be a struggle and I wanted to help others."

She became involved with Komen Central Wisconsin and in 2016 went to the Komen Central Wisconsin Race for the Cure.

The race is emotional as women hug each other as they cross the finish line, Brehmer said. "It is amazing."

She said she is looking forward to Sunday's 2018 Race for the Cure that starts at 9 a.m. on the 400 Block in downtown Wausau.

You can sign up to walk or run prior to the event.

Volunteers are also needed.

For more information you can click here.

News 9 is a proud media partner for the Komen Central Wisconsin Race for the Cure.

Click Here to read the full story.

My Team Triumph benefit concert held in Wausau

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By: Brianna Hollis of WAOW

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -

About 200 people gathered on the 400 Block in Downtown Wausau Tuesday evening for a benefit concert to support My Team Triumph. 

The organization gives people with special needs the opportunity to get active through running, swimming and biking programs.

Chad Esker, who plans on running seven Iron Mans in seven straight days next month, will be carrying a 26-year-old woman with cerebral palsy named Autumn Moen throughout the entire course on the last day.

Esker and Moen took the stage to spread the word about their upcoming race. 

Click Here to read the full story.

Raise Great Kids Day held at Wausau's 400 Block

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By: WSAW Staff

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Wausau's downtown 400 Block may be quiet now, but that wasn't the cause earlier in the day Thursday. 

Not only was it Marketplace Thursday, it was also the second annual Raise Great Kids Day. The event is all about fun and free activities for kids, like music and crafts. 

"Events like this are important because it gets the word out about resources that are available to children and families in Marathon County, in our surrounding area. We're giving away free books to help with early literacy and brain development," said Laurie Frahm, with the United Way. 

While the kids had fun, parents could learn about counseling services available, as well as, child care.

Wausau planning to make downtown parking easier

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By: Victoria Saha with WAOW

WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Some new ideas are on the table to help manage those frustrating parking problems in downtown Wausau. 

The number one idea on the list was providing 90 minutes of free parking for everyone.

It's one of the proposals that are being discussed at a City Hall meeting on Tuesday.

Most parking spaces downtown are metered or have very specific rules which give locals a time crunch when they visit.

The manager of Compass Properties who owns buildings in the area said the issue has gotten out of hand.

"We were advocating two hour free parking for everyone every day for third street," said Mark Craig.

One business owner is hopeful the new parking idea will bring in more traffic to her store.

"A lot of people tend to be rushing in and out and they seem to be in a hurry a lot," said Lauren Rosemburgy. "I think with longer parking it will make everyone a lot more relaxed."

Tuesday's meeting will discuss more than providing 90 minutes of free parking.

"The finance committee will be authorizing the purchase of multi pay stations and the license plate recognition software," said Maryanne Groat the Wausau Finance Director.

It will allow cameras to recognize your license plate number and if you want to pay for more time you can do so from your phone.

Tuesday's meeting is just the first step, another meeting will take up on Thursday and then will still need to be approved by the full council. 

If the the proposed plan does get approved it will take effect by the end of the summer.

Click Here to read the full story.

Jazz on the River kicks off on a beautiful summer evening

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By: Erin Liu of WSAW

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- The second annual Jazz on the River series kicked off its eight week run on a beautiful summer evening at Kickbusch Plaza in Wausau. 

Each Sunday evening beginning at 5:00 p.m. from July 8th to August 26th, Jazz on the River will offer free outdoor concerts in the Wausau River District. 

"It's relaxing, it's fun. Low-key, and a great time to get outside and enjoy the summer on the river with some great music" said concert goer Cal Tillisch. 

The concerts for the next eight weeks will either be held at Kickbusch Plaza, or if the weather is poor, the concerts will be held indoors at J. Gumbos restaurant near the 400 block.

Click Here to read the full story.

Wausau River District Hires Assistant Director

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By:  Logan Wenger at WSAU

The Wausau River District has announced the hiring of a new Assistant Executive Director. She is Tiffany Lee, a Wausau resident. 

Blake Opal-Wahoske, Executive Director of the Wausau River District, provides a bit of background about Lee.

"She comes to us from the Girl Scouts of America. She was one of their Community Engagement Specialists," he said. "She brings with her a bachelor's degree in Marketing and she's actually working on her Master's in Communications right now."

Opal-Wahoske says serving as the assistant director of the district before executive director aided him in the search for a new assistant. He also says because of Lee's background in marketing the position will be changing a bit to better use her skill set. 

Click Here to read the full story.

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By:  Haley BeMiller, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Smokers, including those who puff on e-cigarettes, will have to watch where they light up while they enjoy Wausau's parks.

The City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to prohibit smoking in certain areas of city parks and other outdoor areas on city property. Smoking will be banned inside enclosed park shelters, restroom buildings and within the fenced areas of tennis courts. The ban doesn't apply to open-air shelters.

Additionally, smoking will no longer be allowed within 50 feet of playgrounds, sports fields, swimming pool areas and the skateboarding facility at Oak Island Park.

Smoking may also be temporarily prohibited during events sponsored by the Parks Department, or free, public events in which the organizer has requested no smoking. However, an event organizer can ask to have the ban waived to permit smoking for ticketed events.

The ban applies to smoking and vaping, said assistant city attorney Tara Alfonso.

The ban is a response to citizens who are bothered by the practice, as well as concerns about children being exposed to the image of adults smoking, said council member Pat Peckham. It also aims to curb littering, he said, which the city has already been working to address through the installation of cigarette butt receptacles in places such as the 400 Block and River's Edge Trail.

The city will put up signs in parks to enforce the ban. Violators will have to pay a $25 cash deposit to the city plus court costs, Alfonso said, bringing the total to $92.50.

Peckham said citizens could involve the police if they see someone smoking in an off-limits area, but he believes it'll be regulated primarily through signage and community standards.

"Sign says you’re not supposed to smoke here, so let’s not smoke here," he said. 

City officials revived the issue of smoking in parks after the council voted down a blanket ban. Opponents at the time argued it went too far, too fast. 

“I think the community is ready for this step," Peckham said. 

Click Here to read the full story.

Senator Petrowski receives heart association Legislator of the Year award

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By Jerel Ballard of WSAW

On May 19th, 2018, Republican State Senator, Jerry Petrowski, was recognized at the annual Wausau Heart Walk for his continuing contributions for health awareness. 

After helping pass the Dispatcher Assisted CPR Law in April, the American Heart Association awarded Senator Petrowski with a Heart Association, Legislator of the Year award. Before the three-mile walk around the downtown Wausau area, Senator Petrowski was called to the stage to accept the award. 

"It's always an honor to be recognized for work especially on issues that pertain to saving lives,” shared Petrowski. “The real heroes in all of this is everyone here. People that pull together in that same direction to save lives,” Senator Petrowski added. 

The Dispatcher Assisted CPR Law requires dispatchers to be trained in CPR so they are certified to walk people through the process over the phone or in person.

Click Here to watch the full story.

Wausau hosts 'Downtown Open House'

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By Victoria Saha with WAOW

Community members were able to explore downtown Wausau Saturday afternoon and learn a little bit of the history behind it.

'Downtown Open House' is a state wide event to showcase the unique historical assets in downtown.

Participating community members get a list of various businesses to visit.

Organizers said it was a way for residents to get a different look of their town.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for community members to go into a building which they may have been walking past for years," said Blake Opal- Wahoske the executive director of Wausau River District. "To learn what the business offers and the history behind it."

There were 12 different establishments that participated. 

Click Here to watch the full story.

Tundraland opens in downtown Wausau

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By Melissa Langbehn, Anchor, Multimedia Journalist

WAUSAU (WAOW)- About 60 new jobs are expected to be added to the Wausau  area because of a downtown business expansion.

Tundraland began a grand opening celebration on Friday.

The Wausau showroom on Third Street is the Wisconsin-based company's fourth location.

"We wanted to come to Wausau for a long time.  One of the things we love about this community is the focus on the art and and music. That fits right into our wheelhouse.  After all if you take away those things in the city all you have is sidewalks and parking meters," Tundraland President Brian Gottlieb said.

The company president also presented a $25,000 check to Wausau Events and $19,500 to the Wausau River District.

Click Here to watch the full story.

Streetwise Wausau: A new wedding venue, unregulated water use and Tundraland opens

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Image by Laura Schulte

By:  Laura Schulte, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Pay a visit to downtown Wausau's newest home remodeling store on Friday, and you might just get a gift card, too. 

In honor of its grand opening on Friday, Tundraland Home Improvements will offer a $25 restaurant gift card giveaway for the first 100 customers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to a press release from the Wisconsin-based home remodeling company, which focuses on windows, bathrooms and outdoor porches.

The company will also contribute funds to two downtown organizations to help them further their missions of planning events in and around the downtown area. Tundraland is donating $25,000 to Wausau Events and $19,500 to the Wausau River District.

Click Here to watch the full story.

Explore downtown Wausau's most historical sites

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By Stacia Kulakowski of WSAW

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- This weekend, you can explore some of Wausau's most significantly historical sites and learn all about places right here in our community. 

"Downtown Open House is a celebration of Wausau's architectural, cultural, and social history," explained Executive Director for the Wausau River District, Blake Opal-Wahoske. "Some of downtown Wausau's most historic and culturally significant places will open their doors to the public." 

Opal-Wahoske said that an event like this is important to hold, because often times, members of the community walk past these buildings without even knowing about their past or cultural significance. 

"This is an opportunity to learn more about each location from experts," Opal-Wahoske mentioned. 

The following buildings will be open and free for tours to the public during the event: 
Andrew Warren Historical District
Center for the Visual Arts
Downtown Grocery
First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau
Marathon County Historical Society
St. John's Episcopal Church
St. Paul's United Church of Christ
St. Stephen Lutheran Church
Stewart Inn
Wausau Center Mall
Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art
Yawkey House Museum
YWCA

Experts will be inside each locations to give in-depth information about each location. 

The open house occurs on Saturday May 19 from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. 

Maps are available at the Marathon County Historical Society, and the event is free.

Click Here to watch the full story.

Painted piano on display in Wausau

By WSAW Staff 

A Local art gallery is going to be adding a pop of color to its garden soon.

Desiree Spoores, the gallery artist at 319 Gallery and Bistro in downtown Wausau, has been painting a piano to be added to the gallery's garden this summer.

Currently, the piano is on display in front of Colossal Fossils in the Wausau Center Mall.

Click Here to watch the full story.

New Tundraland store in downtown Wausau to hold gift card giveaway on opening weekend

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By:  Laura Schulte, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Pay a visit to downtown Wausau's newest home remodeling store on Friday, and you might just get a gift card, too. 

In honor of its grand opening on Friday, Tundraland Home Improvements will offer a $25 restaurant gift card giveaway for the first 100 customers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to a press release from the Wisconsin-based home remodeling company, which focuses on windows, bathrooms and outdoor porches.

The company will also contribute funds to two downtown organizations to help them further their missions of planning events in and around the downtown area. Tundraland is donating $25,000 to Wausau Events and $19,500 to the Wausau River District, said public relations representative Raquel Lamal. 

Tundraland is known in other cities to invest in art and music, like in Appleton, where it sponsors the Mile of Music festival. 

The community will have the chance to celebrate the opening and donations on Friday, as well as meet with designers to get started on their own home projects.

"This celebration is about being a part of the community we serve," said Brian Gottlieb, president and owner of Tundraland, in the release. "Wausau is known for its community feel with a focus on family, arts and music and we look forward to playing an active role in furthering that growth." 

Tundraland is opening at 305 Third St. in downtown, in the former Kidz Closet storefront. Construction and remodeling for the showroom and design center has been ongoing since early 2018. This is Tundraland's fourth location in Wisconsin, the release said. 

The new store is expected to employ around 60 employees, including builders, designers, sales people and marketers, according to the release. 

The store will open at 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, staying open until 8 p.m. On Sunday, hours will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Click Here to read the full story.

Wausau-area first responders participate in photo shoot fundraiser

By:  News Watch 12

 Dozens of officers came together in downtown Wausau on Monday, but not because of an emergency. A special workshop brought police officers, firefighters, and EMS crews together for a photo shoot. 


"This is so awesome," said After Dark photography mentor Dan Davis.


After Dark Education, a photography workshop, was held with a little help from law enforcement.

"The police, and the bomb squad, and the fire department, doing some really cool stuff," said Davis. "We're hoping water hoses are going to fly and we don't destroy any camera equipment in the process." 


Various Wausau-area first responder agencies created mock scenarios for photography students to capture, but this After Dark event wasn't just so photographers could improve their craft.


"Today is special because we're here for a charity event," said Brian DeMint, another After Dark mentor. 


Some of the photos taken will be used in a calendar. Proceeds will go to EMPD Blue Hearts, an organization that supports law enforcement officers and their families. 


"That really hits home, we're really humbled by that support from this photography community," said Wausau firefighter Bob Rode.


Working together was a unique experience for the photographers and first responders.


"It's really neat to kind of work hand in hand a little bit with them. We're coming from a different angle from more artistic backgrounds but try to find that, what works for them in a realistic environment," said Davis.


"Always fun learning, learning something new, so we had a great time," said Rode.


A great time, that should create a great product.


"They should get some phenomenal shots and the calendar should be outrageously good," said DeMint.


"It's really going to be fun, it's going to be a really cool thing," said Davis. 


This particular workshop was titled "After Dark 1274." The 1274 represented Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland's badge number. Weiland lost his life while responding to the Wausau shootings last year. 

Click Here to watch the full story.

Photographers donate time to capture first responder memories

By:  By Emma Henderson at WSAW

Dozens of Wausau first responders and about 100 photographers took over the 400 Block in Wausau on Monday.

The goal was to get some photos for not only the departments, but an organization formed after the March 22 shootings last year.

The Everest Metro Police Department Blue Hearts is an organization designed to help local law enforcement, their families and honor fallen officers nationwide.

David Junion, a professional photographer out of Weston, helped stage the shoot as part of a national photographer’s workshop called After Dark Education. Junion’s goal is to make calendars with some of the photos to raise money for EMPD Blue Hearts.

"We want to support law enforcement you know because they were out there on the front lines doing all the hard work for us,” said Brian DeMint, a mentor with After Dark Education. "Some of the photographers that are here, the mentors are some of the best in the United States in their field and some of the attendees are some of the better photographers as well."

Different departments like the bomb squad, the Wausau Fire Department, S.W.A.T, snipers and the K-9 Unit had their own stations.

Handler Dan D’Acquisto worked with his K-9 partner to capture the perfect image. D’Acquisto says it wasn’t just fun, it was also a chance for Monty to get some extra training while being in the community.

The daughters of Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland, who was killed in the March 22 shootings, also took part. They say they loved getting involved in the shoot, and enjoyed working with David Junion.

"He's very energetic and pretty hyper and it was pretty funny, it was pretty hard to keep a straight face,” Anna Weiland said.

Click Here to watch the full story.

Wausau earns Wisconsin Main Street Award

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By:  Wausau Pilot & Review

Wausau has earned a Wisconsin Main Street Award for its Wausome River District Video campaign.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. named the best downtown revitalization projects of 2017 on Friday at the 27th Wisconsin Main Street Awards held at Ripon College.

“All across the state, those involved in the Wisconsin Main Street Program are making a real difference in improving their downtowns by developing new and innovative ways to attract visitors and support local businesses,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, in a news release. “These awards recognize the organizations and dedicated individuals whose efforts not only benefit their communities, but also set the standard for other Main Street communities statewide.”

Wisconsin Main Street is a community development program administered by WEDC that targets Wisconsin’s historic commercial districts. WEDC provides technical support and training to the 33 Main Street communities to help them revitalize their business districts.

Among this year’s winners are:

Best Adaptive Reuse Project

Co-Winner: City Service Brewing – Darlington
Co-Winner: Kickapoo Coffee – Viroqua

Best Business Recruitment & Retention Initiative

Winner: Downtown Kenosha Retail Strategy Team & Façade Grant Program -Kenosha

Best Business Success Story

Winner: Los Amigos Restaurant & Market-Carlos & Carolina Vasquez – Platteville

Best Cooperative Business Marketing

Winner: Whiskey Tasting Event – Osceola

Best Creative Fundraising

Winner: Viroqua Chamber Main Street Membership Drive – Viroqua

Best Façade Rehab Over $10,000

Winner: Mally Building of Kitchen & Floor Décor – Rice Lake
Honorable Mention: Thomas Rogers/APO-231-33 Watson Rear Facade – Ripon

Best Façade Rehab Under $10,000

Winner: Sandra D’s Bridal Boutique – Watertown

Best Image Campaign/Item/Event

Winner: Wausome River District Video – Wausau
Honorable Mention: Omro Historic Walking Tour & Open House – Omro

Best Interior Renovation Over $50,000

Winner: Sepia Chapel – Two Rivers

Best Interior Renovation Under $50,000

Winner: Jewelry by Christopher – Beloit

Click Here to read the full story.

The Ugly Mug brings a new coffee experience to downtown Wausau

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By:  Laura Schulte, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Coffee will be served with a new attitude at the Ugly Mug in downtown Wausau. 

The Ugly Mug, previously known as The Paisley Mug and Allister Deacon's before that, switched ownership earlier this year. It's now run by the brother-sister duo Tyler Vogt and Shannon Kozlowski, and their spouses, Stina Vogt and Drew Kozlowski. 

The former owner, Becky Hummer, wanted to move on from the business, Shannon Kozlowski said. Kozlowski had a love of coffee, a desire to run a downtown coffee shop and perfect timing. 

"I've wanted to run a coffee shop for quite some time, I'm a life-long coffee drinker," she said. 

The family also jokes that purchasing the shop was a surefire way to help Tyler Vogt achieve his New Year's resolution to drink more coffee.

Since taking over formally in March, the Vogts and the Kozlowskis have been hard at work transforming the small cafe. So far, they've started redecorating, changed up the menu and added bakery options. They've eliminated lunch options, as Tyler Vogt said they're streamlining the Ugly Mug's offerings so they can more effectively serve more customers. 

Focusing more on the coffee and beverage portion of the menu, will allow for new perks like a roasters menu, which will offer a selection of different coffees from local, national and international roasters, Vogt said. 

In addition to a large selection of coffee, the group plans to offer kombucha on tap, smoothies made from completely fresh ingredients, house-made bread and snacks, stuffed donuts and offerings for those who keep a gluten-free diet. 

The coffee shop will also offer customers the opportunity to be a part of their "mug club" by bringing their own ugly mug into the shop and leaving it on the display wall to use when they sit down for a cup of coffee or tea. The club will give customers access to special promotions and sales throughout the year, Tyler Vogt said. He also plans to roll out an app for the shop soon, too, which will allow customers to order ahead of time, collect points and earn rewards for use on coffee or food. 

Other changes will come to the coffee shop this summer and fall, such as expanded hours, new offerings of food and drink and more. But more than just enjoying a quick cup of coffee or a bite to eat between meetings, the group hopes that the shop will become a central point for the community. 

"We want it to be a social hub," Vogt said. "There's a lot going on in this little space." 

Click Here to read the full story.

Downtown Wausau Dining Week Restaurants say slow start on Monday won't affect overall success

By:  Emily Boyer at WSAW

 Participating Wausau Dining Week Restaurants took a hit on Monday during the kick off of the event when a major snow storm forced people to spend their day digging out rather than eating out.

Blake Opal-Wahokse said the storm did cause a lot of people to stay home and took a toll on profits for the day, but added that Monday was the best day it could have happened.

"Whenever we have a snow storm, things downtown slow down a little. But now that the weather has slowed down, business is picking up. Most people tend to come out on the weekends anyway and some restaurants are closed on Monday."

Now restaurants are preparing for a busy weekend. Opal-Wahokse said there is something for everyone-- even those who would rather enjoy their meal from home.

"If you don't have time to sit around at a restaurant for dinner, we do have a lovely option over at La Prima Deli where you can pick-up your entrees to-go, and then take them home and cook them at your own house"

There's still time to take advantage of the three-course meal options-- which comes at a discounted price. Downtown Wausau Dining Week ends on Friday the 20th after businesses close. For more information you can watch the videos at the top of this web page.

Click Here to watch the full story.