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Portage County man's once hidden talents on display in Stevens Point nursing homeSubmitted: 06/24/2016
STEVENS POINT - David Appel doesn't say too much these days.  Instead, he lets his artwork speak for himself.

"Oh yeah, he likes to show them off," David's son Dan said.

The recently turned 82-year-old spends his days in the Portage County Skilled Nursing Facility during his weekly visit from family often admiring the oil paintings he once crafted.

"I wouldn't call it a shock, but I didn't know he had that artistic skill," Dan Appel said.

Appel's son and daughter-in-law, Dan and Julie, first found out about David's talents as the father's 47-and-a-half year career with Copps Foods started to come to an end in the late 1990s.


"All on his own, he didn't take any kind of classes or anything," Appel said.

David Appel instead turned to legendary painter Bob Ross for training and inspiration, painting landscapes by simply watching and trying.

"Everybody has a talent and sometimes it just takes a little more time and energy to find what those talents are, but they're so worth it in the end," Julie Appel said.

Sadly, David's skills have faded as old age sets in. A number of falls and injuries robbed him of his home, Independence, and artistic drive.

"I think he chooses not to paint because it's just frustrating knowing that he won't be able to do anything like he's done in the past," Appel said.

In a nursing home room filled with pink for a day of celebration Thursday, David's artwork filled with greens, blues, and yellows stood out for everyone to see.

Nursing home administrator Marcia McDonald knew about David's paintings hidden in his basement. She offered to put them on display for residents and visitors to enjoy.

"Heartfelt meaning," McDonald said of Appel's artwork. "Every day people come and not only talk with Mr. Appel, but reflect on their own career paths. We share a variety of stories... It brings out memories."

"Just puts a big smile on his face and any time we can get a smile out of him it just makes us feel so good," Appel said.

Few words, but plenty of smiles come from David Appel's once-hidden skills, where -- in this home -- those smiles paint a beautiful picture of their own.

David's artwork is on display in the Portage County nursing home's lobby every day. The family says they'll keep some of the art work and likely will donate other pieces in the future.

Story By: Lane Kimble

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 LOCAL NEWS

BUTTERNUT - When sheep farmers Paul and Judy Canik checked on their pasture on the morning of May 31, their curiosity soon turned to shock.

Wolves had killed 17 of the couple's most valuable sheep. They had slaughtered 17 bighorn ewes.

"It was terrible to see them laying there dead like that, torn apart and stuff," Paul said. "They killed them all and never ate [anything]. Just killed them for the fun of it."

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WAUSAU - Police in Wausau expect to forward forgery charges to the Marathon County District Attorney against four people after finding counterfeit money in the area.

Patrick J. Eppolite, Jr., 22; Michael A. Beck, 27; Jeremy J. Hess, 36; and Amanda M. Bender, 32, are currently in jail on probation holds, but investigators believe they're connected to some counterfeit 20 dollar bills in the area, according to the Wausau Police Department.

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Volunteers Document WildlifeSubmitted: 06/24/2016

MERCER - You don't expect to see crowds in secluded parts of Iron County, but loons tend to be a big draw.

"There's a lot of people who have had interest in loon research," said DNR wildlife biologist John Olson.

"Monitor change overtime in the wildlife population here in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Are loons increasing or staying stable or decreasing the numbers of breeding pair?" said retired wildlife biologist, Bruce Bacon.

The community has shown interest in the animal and with the research collected, the volunteers can maintain a steady population of loons in the water.

"Over the years, there have been a number of people who have done real exciting loon work up here," said Olson.

Over the last few surveys, the DNR have decided to expand its research to all wildlife in water and on land, not just the loons.

"The survey has developed into being more all-inclusive of any wildlife we see out here. Especially breeding birds," said Olson.

Some animals seen on Friday include a deer and her fawn, ducks, geese, eagles, ospreys, and of course multiple loons.

The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is a total of 14,000 acres. Individual volunteers maintain the area year round. If they notice a home or shelter destroyed, they will help start a new one for the animals.

"It's rewarding to see a place like the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin and this monitoring gives us a sense of how to monitor and protect it," said Bacon.

Overall, the goal for the group is to collect data on the animals and maintain that number to keep the Northwoods booming with wildlife.

The power of volunteerism was in full effect on Friday. Six boats covered all 14,000 acres of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.

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EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines fishing team is about as basic as it gets.

Just two kids, bait, and their gear.

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Mike John is going to be a junior. Harmon Marien became a freshman right before the state tournament started.

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Jacob Cayer of Ashwaubenon was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. WLUK-TV reports Cayer also is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, burglary and bail jumping.

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14 die in widespread floodingSubmitted: 06/24/2016

CHARLESTON, WV - West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says 14 people have died during devastating flooding in the state.

Tomblin made the announcement Friday during a news conference. He says the damage is widespread and devastating. The governor says search and rescue missions are still a top priority.

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MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee is getting a $1 million state loan to begin the costly task of replacing 70,000 lead water pipes throughout the city.

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