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NEWS STORIES

All-Terrain Wheelchair Helps Whitewater Student Track WolvesSubmitted: 01/04/2012
Story By Lex Gray

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.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
Second year of pumpkin display in RhinelanderSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander continued a Halloween tradition a week before the special day.

You could see pumpkins lined up in front of Trigs Saturday night. This is the second year Downtown Rhinelander Inc. held the pumpkin sighting.

They didn't have as many pumpkins as they did last year, but people still had the chance to judge which pumpkin had the best carving.

"We just wanted something that would be pizazz when people drove by or walked around. They would see all these lit pumpkins," said Downtown Rhinelander Inc. member/Sandy Bus, Joan Belongia.

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Wisconsin sex offenders must stay home HalloweenSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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MADISON - Police are teaming up with parole agents across Wisconsin to make sure sex offenders stay home on Halloween night.

All of Wisconsin's 5,000 registered sex offenders under active community supervision are subject to special restrictions on Halloween.

Grace Roberts, who heads the Department of Corrections sex offender program, says they began actively enforcing the rules under the Halloween Knock and Talk program about eight years ago.

Offenders are barred from putting up Halloween decorations that might attract children to knock on their doors.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says his officers will be out both this weekend and next reminding registrants they're being watched.

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Teen building sugar shack to help school's science department, become Eagle ScoutSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods teen will build a sugar shack for his high school's science department. Will Starke put up the framework for the shack Saturday.

Starke is a boy scout with troop 601 of Eagle River. He wants to build the shack for his Eagle Project.

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Dog kills 7-year-old boy in eastern WisconsinSubmitted: 10/25/2014

TOWN OF HUSTISFORD - A 7-year-old boy has died after being severely bitten by a dog in Dodge County of eastern Wisconsin.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Office says in a statement that the incident was reported just before 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Town of Hustisford.

Lt. Brian Loos says that a 911 caller said the boy was bleeding profusely. He says dispatchers began to talk the mother through CPR while numerous agencies responded. But the child died at the scene despite extensive lifesaving efforts.

The statement says names, addresses and additional information about the nature of the incident and the dog won't be released for now out of respect to the family.

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Wisconsin insurers signing up same-sex couplesSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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MILWAUKEE - Several Wisconsin insurance companies are holding special sign-ups so same-sex couples can add spouses to their health plans.

The special enrollment period is needed because gays and lesbians who got married this summer were unable to add spouses to their coverage amid the uncertainty surrounding the legal status of their marriages.

People generally can make changes to a health plan during the year only after a ``life-changing'' event, such as a marriage, divorce, or birth or adoption of a child.

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Pet Expo brings in dogs and ownersSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Plenty of dogs and their owners took over a well known place in Eagle River Saturday.

More than 25 vendors filled the Eagle River Derby Track.

This is the first time WRJO of Eagle River held the Pet Expo. They wanted people to get good information about grooming, veterinarian services, dog treats and other aspects they might not have known about.

"The veterinarians and some of them are doing essentials oils that are good for their skin. There's dog nutrition," said WRJO Account Executive, Trish Keeley. "There's when they need to get shots; when they should be worried about ticks, flees and spay and neuter. All that type of information."

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Movie makers use Newswatch 12 studioSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can expect to see Newswatch 12's studio on the big screen in the future. Movie makers from Madison used our set for a scene in their low budget indi film.

Barking Shadow Productions company has been shooting a movie called Tesla Factor in Rhinelander. It's based on corporate and political dirty deeds.

We don't want to give too much away, but our set was used for a broadcast informing viewers about a company doing illegal things.

The company hopes to have the movie featured on Netflix.

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