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Our View: Historic grapevine saw Wausau grow around it

4:19 PM, Jul. 12, 2013  |  Comments
The historic grapevine at the Yawkey House Museum in Wausau.
The historic grapevine at the Yawkey House Museum in Wausau.
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Think of Wausau some 170 years ago in the early 1840s. A frontier town, a logging center - a dirty and dangerous place on what was, then, scarcely more than a wilderness outpost of a young nation.

A grapevine planted that long ago still stands today, twisting over the pergola outside the Yawkey House Museum in downtown Wausau. That home was built in 1901 for logging and paper magnate Cyrus Yawkey. In the years and decades since, the grapevine has been present for countless weddings and special events that are held there on summer weekends. It's weathered changing seasons and seen downtown grow up around it.

Today, the Marathon County Historical Society is selling clippings from the grapevine as a way of raising funds for the local nonprofit. It's a unique gift idea and a neat way to own - and spread - a piece of local history. Contact the Historical Society at 715-842-5750 or www.yawkeyhousemuseum.org.

On a huge weekend for local events, a few other items in the week's news that are worth a second look:

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Do not miss out on the strawberries! Our strawberry season got a late start this year due to the cold spring and soggy early summer. But now local farms, including all those of the you-pick variety - and there are some good ones - say we're nearing the end of the short season, with only another week or two left.

All that rain has made for some tasty, giant berries. So take the opportunity to get delicious, locally grown strawberries while it lasts.

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The American people have gotten used to congressional inaction, but the frustrating fight in the U.S. Senate that allowed student loan rates to double at the beginning of the month is a particularly damning case of partisan gridlock, and one that is harming families across the nation. Federal loan rates doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent July 1 for any new loans - meaning everyone whose kids are preparing for college could be walloped.

Educational advancement is something close to a necessity for personal economic advancement, but it's more than that. A better-educated workforce is a more productive one, and that raises the standard of living for all Americans. Putting up new barriers to students and families who want to further their education harms America in real ways.

Republicans defeated an attempt on Wednesday in the Senate to pass a bill that would have extended the old rate for a year, to allow time, theoretically, for lawmakers to find a permanent fix. While history suggests that we should be skeptical that a long-term fix would actually be forthcoming, what we have now is the worst-case scenario: ordinary Americans randomly punished and apparently no legislative fix - temporary or permanent - on the way.

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Will you have your phone out, snapping pics of chalk artists, hot-air balloons and your favorite ribs at this weekend's Chalkfest and Wausau Balloon & Rib Fest? Use the hashtags #DHChalk and #DHBalloons when you post to Twitter and Facebook. Daily Herald Media will retweet some of what others are saying and highlighting from the festivals, and we'll collect the best shots for readers to browse and enjoy. We hope you'll join us.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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856 votes
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27%
1017 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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