NEWS STORIES

All-Terrain Wheelchair Helps Whitewater Student Track WolvesSubmitted: 01/04/2012
TOMAHAWK - This week, a group of UW-Whitewater students is at Treehaven learning to track wolves and other rare animals.

They’re giving up part of their winter break to help the DNR with a wolf survey.

Many seem enthusiastic and dedicated to the course, but none more so than Meg Lynch, who’s keeping up with her classmates in a wheelchair.

“I call myself Megatron when I’m in the chair,” says Lynch.

It’s no ordinary chair – the four-wheel-drive, all-terrain wheelchair powers through brush and snow so Lynch can keep up with UW Whitewater’s biology curriculum.

“I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I like to try new things,” Lynch says.

UW-Whitewater prides itself on being accessible to all students.

The chair, made possible by a grant, brings that accessibility beyond campus and classroom.

After three years in wheelchairs and walkers that can’t get through this kind of terrain, Lynch says it’s a good buy.

“I’m grateful to have this chair, because I wouldn’t be here without this chair,” she says.

Lynch’s professor, Dr. George Clokey, agrees. He believes the chair will build her confidence and help her realize what he calls great potential.

This week’s hands-on course will do the same for everyone here, giving every participants a chance to get out and put their classroom knowledge to use.

They’re learning from Dr. Clokey and wolf expert Dr. Jim Halfpenny, who came from Yellowstone to teach and help the Wisconsin DNR.

“Here at Treehaven, we have a nice selection of animals to work with – grey fox, otter, fisher, deer. That allows the students to gain a lot of practice,” says Halfpenny.

Today, students learned how to identify and preserve animal tracks. They started by analyzing a dog’s different gaits.

After classroom and field training here, the class will head farther north to Cable, where they’ll help the DNR estimate how many wolves are in Wisconsin.

“It’s certainly nice to have a young bunch of students from the University working on these. As we do go forward to delisting wolves, we know we’ll have a cadre of trained people out there,” says Halfpenny.

Although Lynch isn’t sure if she’ll pursue field work after college, she’s grateful for this opportunity.

“I’m just trying everything I possibly can. I’m thankful for being here,” she says.

This summer, Lynch hopes to be Megatron once again, heading to Yellowstone for a similar field ecology course.


Story By: Lex Gray

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 IN OTHER NEWS
State increases fines for parking in handicap spotsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

MADISON - It will soon be three times more costly for drivers to park illegally in a disability parking spot in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Wednesday increasing those fines starting Friday.

The new law will increase minimum fines from $50 to $150. The current maximum penalty of $300 won't change.

The law also creates a fine for building owners to not provide enough disability parking spaces on site. Building owners or occupants with at least 26 parking spaces must reserve disabled parking spaces or pay between $150 and $300.

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Man accused of stealing cars and taking them across state linesSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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MARSHFIELD - Police believe a Marshfield man stole three cars in Illinois and brought them to Wisconsin.

He now faces four charges of stealing cars and taking them across state borders.

Police say Bradley Greene, 28, stole three cars in December 2013.

They also accuse him of stealing $5,000 worth of other items.

Those included a car hauler trailer, a flatbed trailer and trailer accessories.

Greene faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison on each count.

The charges against him are from an investigation by the Marshfield Police Department and Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force, according to a Department of Justice press release.

The prosecution of this case will be handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.

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The ingredients for a harsh winterSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - 4.7 might seem like just a random number, but it gives us an idea of just how cold it was this year. 4.7 degrees was the average temperature for this winter. It's the coldest winter in more than a century.

It’s common to see these sights and hear these sounds in a typical winter. But this year, we heard them a bit more. The Northwoods fought through it’s snowiest and coldest winter on record. What made it so rare was the persistent cold.

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Home sales on the rise in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.

Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.

“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”

Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.

“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”

Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.

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Kids learn about hospital Submitted: 04/23/2014

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That's why one Northwoods hospital wants those kids to be comfortable with doctors if they ever need their help.

Merrill kindergarteners visited Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center on Wednesday.

The kids got to see an ambulance, physical therapy and x rays.

"We try to show them that you know what, the hospital isn't so scary. And we bring them through different areas that they may experience when they come in or they have a family member here. And a lot of times children, if they don't know, they're very afraid. A hospital can be very intimidating, says Jane Bentz, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach.

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Army tank on the way to the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

WOODRUFF - You can find an Cobra helicopter outside the VFW in Hurley.

They use the machine as a symbol to honor veterans.

Now another Northwoods community plans on using war machine to honor veterans.

VFW Post 7898 will soon get an army tank.

The tank will be right off of highway 47, between the post office and Aspirus Woodruff Clinic.

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Late start expected for farmersSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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ANTIGO - Some farmers get ready to plant new crops around this time of year.

But the planting season could be pushed back this spring.

That could hurt potato farmers in Langlade County.

Some seed distributors expect a late start for crops because of the long, cold winter.

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