On Wednesday, May 13, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Safer at Home restrictions that since March have restricted bars and restaurants to take-out service only.
By Thursday, May 14, some Sawyer County eating and drinking establishments had customers back inside their confines around tables and bars, but not all those dining tables or bar stools were available for seating.
At the Hayward Coffee Company, between two open tables was one with chairs upturned on the top, signifying the table was not available for use. One of the staffers said it was a social distancing measure to ensure customers sit at least six feet apart.
Jamie Peltonen, the general manager of Perkins in Hayward, said the restaurant would only be using 50 percent of the tables to create space for social distancing.
This concern for customer safety was evident in interviews with managers and owners of bars and restaurants in Sawyer County who talked to the Record about opening their establishments to dining after the court ruling.
At the Sawmill Saloon in Seeley, owner Cindy Ferraro said customers will find there will be no bar stools at the bar counter, but they can sit down and dine. Not all the tables will be available, as roughly half the seating has been removed to create social distancing.
Employees at the Sawmill will wear masks.
The Sawmill opened for dining customers on Saturday May 16, but there is still a strong demand for take out.
"Some still want to do take out because they are still con-
cerned about COVID-19," she said.
Ferraro is following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding social distancing and sanitation.
On Thursday, May 14, there were several cars parked around River Street Restaurant in the City of Hayward, but owner Steve Olsen, who also owns the River Street Family Restaurant in Spooner, said most of those cars were driven by staff members who there for a deep cleaning of the restaurant in preparation for dining opening on Saturday.
"We've been open from 11 a.m. -7 p.m. for take outs, but starting at 6 a.m. on Saturday (May 16) we are open for dining," he said. "We are taking all of the CDC precautions and obviously going above and beyond on the sanitary issues. It's all about keeping our customers safe."
Olsen will not be requiring his staff to wear masks. On Wednesday he met with other restaurant owners and he said there was agreement that it was an individual employee decision whether to wear a mask.
To prevent cross contamination, one precaution River Street is taking is replacing bottles of condiments on tables with individual packets.
On Thursday, May 14, the Flat Creek Hotel and Restaurant in Hayward was still only offering takeout and waiting on further instruction from Sawyer County Public Health on how to proceed for dining, but preparations were underway to accommodate customers inside the building.
"Right now we are set up with social distancing in the restaurant," said Robyn Stryker, director of operations. "Tables are six and seven feet apart. We have no bar stools. We are putting Plexiglas up on the bar. We're following all the standards we've been told to do."
The restaurant has markers on the floor for social distance and traffic flow, and staff will be wearing masks and gloves.
"We are trying to keep everything as clean and sanitary as we can for the safety of our guests and our team members," she said.
On Thursday, May 14, Blackiron Bar and Grill on Highway 77 in the Town of Round Lake was preparing to open for dining on the weekend.
"We are going to put it on our Facebook and let everybody know," said Dan Fillipp, one of the owners. "We are trying to do spacing that follows the law, and I just want to ensure everyone is safe."
Fillipp said the restaurant is following COVID-19 sanitary guidelines published by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) for re-opening.
"We are excited about it," he said about offering inside dining again in addition to take out. "It is very important. We've been wanting to open but trying to be safe as well."
Trailways Inn, a supper club at the corner of Highway 27 and County Highway K in the Town of Bass Lake, opened for dining on Thursday night, May 14.
"What I understood, there were several other places opening tonight so we decided we would too," said Kathy Mathis, who owns the restaurant with her husband, David. "We are following CDC guidelines of having 50 percent or less capacity."
She said while Trailways only offered take out during Safer at Home restrictions, several customers still asked if they could come inside to dine.
"We've had people who have stopped and asked if they could come in and eat and just didn't seem to understand that they couldn't."
Rivers Edge Saloon was open Thursday, May 14, with a good-size lunch crowd that rivaled a busy Saturday.
"It's nice to have people inside," said co-owner Stephanie Weber. "We've been open the entire time doing delivery and take out and curbside, but it is nice to serve people at the bar. I had a huge lunch rush today and people eating at the bar and having a cocktail was nice to see."
However, those people sitting at the bar will notice that there is more space between customers.
"They say there should be two empty bar stools between persons who are not in the same group, "said Weber, "so it sounds to me if a group of four comes in they can all sit together and if another group comes in there should be two bar stools between each group, and no more than six people at a table."
Tables at Rivers Edge are also six feet apart, but Weber said staff are not required to wear masks.
On Thursday, May 14, Craig Cooper of Coop's Pizza, said the pizza destination was undergoing a deep clean, and he anticipated being back to full dining operation the following week and for sure before Memorial Day weekend. On May 14, however, he didn't have enough staff back to service the 50 tables inside the restaurant.
"I tell you, I'm giddy," said Peggy Dobbs, owner of The Steakhouse & Lodge in the City of Hayward about opening for dining. "This is pretty exciting. I slept pretty good last night after a lot of days of being anxious."
The Steakhouse opened its bar Wednesday night and dining reservations were in place Thursday night.
"I will be opening with caution," she said.
For Dobbs "caution" has two significant meanings — caution following the best COVID-19 guidelines, but also caution that the state could issue new orders restricting her business, just as happened in March.
"It is just nice to have some revenue coming in," she added.
At The Steakhouse, wearing a mask is an option for the staff, but they are required to wear gloves when serving customers.
And not all the regular dining and bar chairs will be available.
"I'm not going to pack people in here for the almighty dollar," Dobbs said. "I need money to pay bills, but my customers also must feel comfortable and safe."
Dobbs said her customers are excited about the restaurant reopening.
"When you can't do something and your freedoms are taken from you, it's hard," she said.
During the Safer At Home, Frank Kearns, the owner of Marie's Hideaway in Stone Lake, gave out his store supplies to 52 families struggling to put food on the table.
Kearns' business, like all restaurants and bars, was hit hard by the Safer at Home restrictions, but he would have preferred the Supreme Court had not interfered with its planned expiration on May 26 because he fears an uptick of COVID-19.
But Kearns is on planning on opening his restaurant and bar from Tuesday through Saturday, following strict guidelines and expanding social distancing out to 8-10 feet instead of just 6 feet.
"I will get ugly if I even hear someone cough," he said.
He has ordered masks for staff and will require them to wear gloves and preferably masks.
During Safer at Home, the Norske Nook restaurant in Hayward has been offering take out and curbside. Tim Groslie, general manager in Hayward, said reopening is complicated by the fact that the restaurant is part of a four-county/fourrestaurant chain, including one in Dane County which has issued its own Safer at Home restrictions. He doesn't feel it appropriate to open the other three restaurants to dining while the Dane County Norske Nook is closed.
But Groslie is looking forward to opening up dining under the best practices for customer safety.
"I anticipate we will have dining back in a couple of weeks," said Groslie.
CABLE — A vital piece of our area's history hits the virtual auction block on Sunday.
The Telemark resort online auction, hosted by Kubarek Auction & Estate Services, goes live at noon on Sunday, May 24. Bidding will close in two parts; the first on Sunday, May 31, and the second on Monday, June 1.
Although all bidding is done online, there will be a preview day — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 30 — when people can actually walk into Telemark and see the items that are for sale. This will also be an opportunity to get a last look at the inside of Tony Wise's storied resort that played such an integral part in the region's history.
"There is some awesome nostalgia there," said Susan Diedrich, partner at Kubarek Auction. "The disco ball from the nightclub. The original fireplace tools from the lobby fireplace. 'Keep your ski tips up' signs."
Vintage chairs from the ski lift have drawn a lot of interest, she said. "You can really do some cool things with those," she said.
Kubarek Auction is running the sale on behalf of the owners, Clif Louis and the Louis family.
"It's an honor for us to be asked to do this sale," said Bonnie Kubarek, partner in the business.
For Kubarek and for many who will attend the auction preview, Telemark holds many memories, and she wants this sale to honor them. She said that in the years the resort was shuttered, there has been a lot of damage done by vandals. In getting ready for the auction, she and her coworkers spent about two
weeks just cleaning up enough for people to be able to come inside.
"I know that a lot of people are going to plan on going to the preview just because they remember Telemark and have lots of memories," Kubarek said. "It's not only about looking at what's up for auction. It's also a chance to for one more look into their past memories, a real walk down memory lane."
Kubarek said there is a lot more to this auction than many people realize. "The doors were shut, basically, and for the most part everything is still there," she said. "The hotel rooms are as they were the day the doors closed, and there were multiple bars and restaurants. A lot of that stuff is still there.
"With all of that nostalgia, a lot of people are going to want a piece of Telemark. A lot of the signs are really cool. And the piano? It may not have a lot of value, but it has a lot of memories. Imagine saying you own the piano from Telemark."
Kubarek's most vivid memories of being in Telemark as a child are of the ping pong table. "For us playing ping pong there was one of the most fun things to do, so just having the ping pong table set up in the lobby now brings back so many of those memories."
Protecting the resort's dignity was part of the motivation for spending so much time cleaning before the auction was set up.
"We don't want anyone to walk into Telemark one last time and remember Telemark looking like that, vandalized."
Not to mention seeing the accumulation of Asian lady beetles, which Kubarek said were removed by the shovels full.
"We made it look like Telemark again."
Diedrich said this first auction will feature a lot of "nostalgia," plus contents of hotel rooms. Many of the rooms were redone when Telemark was featured on the Travel Channel show, "Hotel Impossible." The hotel closed soon after, so the furniture is still in great shape. There is also restaurant and bar equipment and lots of old signs.
Bidding is all done online and because there are 1,200 lots to this auction, it will close in two parts.
Diedrich explained that their auction lots have what is called a "soft close."
"It's not like eBay where you can get sniped," she said. This means that someone can't place a last-second bid and win an item. No item closes until the lot goes for three minutes without a bid, giving time for anyone interested to stay in the game.
The second and possibly third auctions aren't scheduled yet, but "we want to have it as soon as possible, so stay tuned," Kubarek said. She estimated it would take about six weeks to put a second auction together.
Subsequent auctions will include larger restaurant equipment like mixers and walk-in refrigeration, and contain basically anything else that can be stripped from the building, including cedar paneling, copper pipes, etc.
Diedrich said that specific protocol will be followed at the preview and for pick up due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Appointments are not required for the preview, but no one will be admitted unless they are wearing a mask. Staff will be stationed in the hotel and only certain areas will be open to the public.
Electricity is provided by generators, so there is a limit to how many lights can be utilized.
"It's not going to be perfectly bright," Kubarek said, "but we were able to get a lot of the lights to work. Let's just say, it's going to feel a little mysterious."
The number of people allowed in the building may be limited to allow for social distancing
Once the auction ends, items will be picked up by appointment only, Diedrich said, on June 3 and June 4. Appointments will be made through the auction company's website.
Not for everyone
Telemark was developed and built by Tony Wise, the same person responsible for the American Birkebeiner, Lumberjack World Championships, and the now-defunct Historyland. For many years Telemark was a thriving downhill ski destination and Wise is credited with making a huge contribution to the rise in popularity of cross-country skiing. He lost the resort in bankruptcy in 1984, after several years of warm winter weather and poor snow conditions.
Wise's daughter, Jane Wise, said she wasn't planning on attending the auction.
"To be able to go there, and watch more of it disappear? I don't want to do that," she said. "This is another dangling last chapter of this thing that just keeps hanging on. And with COVID-19, it just seems to put even that much more distance between those days and now."
Wise has fond memories of the thriving resort and the "whole 1970s northwoods-playboy style of living," she said, laughing. "Right now it doesn't even seem like it could have been real."
The last time Wise visited Telemark, it was to appear with her mother, Sheila Wise, in "Hotel Impossible."
"That was another completely out-there, bizarre chapter," she said. "Another continuance of the ODD-yssey — capital O, D, D — that was Telemark."
She prefers to remember it as it was.
See it online
To see the items up for bid, go to kubarekauction.com. Bidding begins May 24.
Telemark is located off Highway M. From Cable, take County Road M east 2 miles, turn right on Telemark Road and go 2 miles to the lodge. 42225 Telemark Rd.
Memorial Day services will be conducted throughout Sawyer County and on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation Monday, May 25.
American Legion Post 218 will conduct Memorial Day services at two locations in Hayward Monday.
There will be a short service at 10 a.m. at Shue's Pond, followed by a short program at Greenwood Cemetery.
"The public is invited, with plenty of room to keep social distancing," said Post member Bill Groat.
There will not be a parade this year, Groat added.
At 11:30 a.m. Monday, May 25, LCO AMVETS Post 1998 and the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe will host a brief ceremony recognizing the contributions of tribal members
in military service and those who passed away this past year.
The ceremony will take place at the Veterans Memorial at the corner of Highways E and K, near the Kinnamon School museum. Visitors are asked to remain in their cars if they choose to attend, and can listen to the ceremony on WOJB, 88.9 FM.
LCO veterans who have passed away since the last ceremony in May 2019 are:
• Bertha Ann Christensen, U.S. Army Air Force, World War II;
• Daryl Charles Coons Sr., U.S. Navy, World War II;
• Robert A. Quaderer, U.S. Army, Vietnam;
• Stanley Owen Quagon, U.S. Army, Vietnam Era;
• Bradley Allen Wilson, U.S. Army.
LCO AMVETS Post 1998 has postponed their annual White Clover Drive that they traditionally hold at Walmart during the entire Memorial Day Weekend. They are hoping to have it Labor Day if things improve. This drive is the post's major source of funding for the veterans service and charitable projects that the post provides.
American Legion Post 303 of Winter will conduct four events at area cemeteries Monday, May 25. Social distancing will be practiced. The locations are:
• Couderay Cemetery, 9:30 a.m.
• Radisson Cemetery, 10 a.m.
• Loretta-Draper cemetery, 11 a.m. Post 303 and American Legion Post 394 will conduct a joint ceremony at this location.
Post 303 members then will return to the Winter cemetery for a ceremony at 11:45 a.m. There will not be a high school band performing this year, and there will not be a lunch afterwards.
On Monday, May 18, the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board (TGB) unanimously approved cance ling the 2020 Honor the Earth Homecoming Celebration and Powwow. The 47th annual powwow originally was scheduled for July 16-19.
The TGB stated the cancellation is "to protect the safety of our people and the many guests who travel to our community for the annual event."
LCO Vice Chairwoman Lorraine Gouge made the motion to cancel the powwow, adding that they will present a smaller one-day event for the local community to present the honor ceremonies which are held during the powwow and to recognize the importance of this annual event to the Lac Courte Oreilles community.
The decision to cancel the powwow was made after a discussion at the board's weekly meeting with members of the Honor the Earth Powwow Committee.
Cathy Begay, committee member, said regarding
a one-day session, "More information and community input will be sought and given after Wednesday, May 20. Tribal council and the powwow committee regret canceling. However, our lives matter and we will still do honor towards why we have the Honor the Earth Powwow every year."