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Wisconsin maple syrup production has second strongest yearSubmitted: 06/30/2015
WISCONSIN - Wisconsin's maple syrup season saw success in 2015.

Maple syrup production rose 14 percent compared to last year.

The total production was 215,000 gallons.

That amount is the second highest ever for the state behind 2013.

Newswatch 12 visited Whataview Farm in Phelps in March.

They had a great season and are excited to supply its customers.


"Being a small producer that I am, many years we sell out," Jackl's Whataview Farm Owner John Jackl said. "So we run out of syrup before everybody is happy, so hopefully in a year like this when we have more syrup to sell, we don't run out before next season starts."

Wisconsin was the fourth largest producer of maple syrup in 2015 behind Vermont, New York, and Maine.

While the state may never produce the amount of New York or Vermont, the number of taps increased by 60,000.

Wisconsin set an all-time record high for taps of 760,000.

"We're pretty confined to the northern half of the state with maple trees, so we'll never equal New York or Vermont but we produce what we can and I think more people are getting into it," Jackl said.

You can find plenty of stores in the Northwoods selling local pure maple syrup.






Story By: Nolan Blair

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 LOCAL NEWS

WISCONSIN - With the Fourth of July right around the corner, many people will enjoy the holiday out in the warm weather. If you do, it's important to remember food safety to avoid getting any food illness this weekend.

Bacteria spreads much faster in the heat. Any food left out for more than an hour could go bad. 

Health Department workers say to keep your food out of what they call the "food danger zone".

"It's 140 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and ways that they can do this is to put cold food items on top of ice and water baths and hot items, you're going to want to keep them covered with foil or kept on the cooler side of the grill," said Forest County Health Department Nutritionist Karly Johnson.

Food kept inside at room temperature should be put away after two hours. Make sure to wash any utensils or plates used for raw meat before reusing. That's the best way to avoid common food illnesses.

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MANITOWISH WATERS - You can't live in the Northwoods without having a passion for the look and feel of freshwater lakes and streams. 

That passion has been a part of a decade long debate over how to manage water levels on the Manitowish River. 

People in Vilas and Iron counties have been fighting for years over what to do with the Rest Lake Dam. 

Now, the state legislature might take control of it.

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VILAS COUNTY - Earlier this month, legislators put a proposal into the state budget that would take away a county's ability to make its own shoreline zoning regulations. Here in the Northwoods, two counties have come out against that proposal.

If the state budget went through as it's written right now, individual counties and lake associations could lose their power to set zoning regulations. That's a big issue for many in the Northwoods. Vilas County alone has 1,300 lakes. The proposal has caused great concerns.

"The concern was that the proposal had the potential for doing great damage to the environment, had the potential for causing a severe problem as far as assessment procedures, and generally was opposed by the citizens-the residents-of this county," said Chuck Hayes, a Vilas County supervisor.

Vilas and Oneida counties both held board meetings last week. Both counties voted to ask for removal of zoning changes from the budget. They argue the issue of shoreline zoning was never given any time to be discussed.

"At the very least, I think the public should have had a chance to weigh in on this issue that affects the environment," said Hayes. "The counties, the municipalities and individual residents, their opinion wasn't sought on this. It was simply put in."

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ANTIGO - A new grant program could bring new businesses to downtown Antigo. The area has had trouble filling empty buildings for the past few years, but county and city leaders say Downtown Antigo is making a comeback.

Now, business owners who open a store downtown can get some money back.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/30/2015

- Find out how a local group is trying to help the endangered Monarch Butterfly population.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group wants to protect an endangered butterfly. The Monarch March works to save the beautiful monarch butterflies.

The butterfly is in danger because people remove milkweed from their yards. Milkweed is also removed from public ground spaces as well.

Monarchs need milkweed for food and a place to lay their eggs.

"That's the problem with the monarch; it only survives on milkweed," said Paula Larson, founder of Monarch March. "So every time you cut down milkweed, every time the highway mows down all the milkweed on the sides of the roads, they are killing hundreds of caterpillars."

A major part of the work done by Monarch March is to collect eggs and raise them until they become butterflies. The process takes about four to five weeks.

Leaders of the group believe everyone can do simple things to protect the butterflies.

"Do not cut down milkweed; plant milkweed. It's really good for gardens to become a butterfly habitat," said Larson.

The new butterflies should hatch in about two weeks. An exhibit with the caterpillars can be seen at Curran Professional Park in Rhinelander.

For more information, check out Monarch March on Facebook.

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RHINELANDER - A local doctor proudly calls the Northwoods his home.

Some of Doctor Greg Michals' life experiences led him to make the decision to become a chiropractor.

"There was these car accidents that I got involved with in high school," Michals said. "It was three of them I got in senior year. Usually I tell people I wasn't driving; I had a poor taste in friends."

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