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NEWS STORIES

State of the Art Surgical Robot in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 12/13/2012
Story By Michael Crusan

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WOODRUFF - Imagine a surgical procedure with faster recovery, less pain and fewer complications and risks.

Thanks to the efforts of area doctors and community members that dream is a reality in Woodruff.

Remarkable only begins to describe the da Vinci Surgical Robot.
Ministry Howard Young Hospital Director of Surgical Services Mike Gibbons says, "We were able to attain this technology in a hospital this size, which is pretty rare."

The Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Howard Young Hospital teamed up to perform some of the latest and most advanced surgeries in medicine.

Dr. John Twelmeyer with the Marshfield Clinic says, "The surgeon sits at the console and operates the arms of the da Vinci with just two fingers on each side."

At the helm of the da Vinci surgical robot the technology is something you might think that you'd find down at the Mayo Clinic or in the Cook County Hospital in Chicago.

But actually, it's found right here in the Northwoods.

That's because patients and doctors all got together because they wanted to see something they could bring into a Northwoods community here at the Howard Young Medical Center so patients could have quicker recovery times and more accurate procedures.

Gibbons says, "The people we've talked to have been incredibly amazed that they've been able to have this done here locally."

The robot can move past the limitations of the human hand with it's four robotic arms and high definition imagery.

Twelmeyer explains, "Instruments actually have more maneuverability than the human wrist does. So you can get in there and do very delicate dissections that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do with the regular laparoscopic equipment."

The da Vinci isn't able to perform every kind of operation, but the list is growing.

Gibbons says, "Currently, in addition to gynecology, we also offer urology services for operations of the prostate and kidney. As well as general surgery for colon surgery, gall bladder and things of that nature."

Twelmeyer says, even though the robot is reliable and can handle most procedures with ease, human hands are always on standby, "The whole O.R. crew is still in the room. The only difference is the surgeon isn't standing at the tableside. He or she is standing or sitting at the console."

Using the latest in medical technology and within a short drive for some of the most rural patients in the state.

The four surgeons who are trained to use the da Vinci Surgical Robot have already exceeded their operation goals in the first few months it's been up and running.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Export markets sought for Wisconsin cranberriesSubmitted: 08/29/2014

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - China might be a good place to send some of Wisconsin's extra cranberries.

The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection hosted a group of potential buyers from China this past week.

They talked to growers and toured cranberry facilities.

Industry leaders are hoping to expand demand for cranberries as an oversupply causes prices to drop.

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Kwik Trip opens in RhinelanderSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can find a new option for coffee, gas and groceries in the Northwoods.

Kwik Trip opened its doors in Rhinelander.

It's a family-owned gas station and convenience store chain out of LaCrosse.

There are 420 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

The newest location in Rhinelander will bring 30 jobs to the area.

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Wisconsin faces $281 million budget shortfallSubmitted: 08/28/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin tax collections are more than $281 million short of estimates, a drop that could require the Legislature to take action to keep the budget in balance.

The state Department of Revenue on Thursday released the figures for the fiscal year that ended in June. Those figures show the state collected $281.2 million less than was anticipated by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.

That is nearly 2 percent less than anticipated.

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Headwaters Art League exhibit openSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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LAND O' LAKES - A local art league in Land O' Lakes will soon open their art exhibit to the public.

The Headwaters Art League will put on the exhibit at the Gateway Lodge on County Road B. A reception will be held from 4 to 6 pm on Friday. The group leaders want to use the event to promote communication between local artists.

"We hope to have a number of our artists participating in the show here," said Art League Founder Barbara Nehring. "Some to explain how they do their works and what inspires them."

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School District of Antigo loses 18 teachers to retirement, could face a similar problem next yearSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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ANTIGO - The School District of Antigo will see a lot of new faces this fall.

The district hired 26 new teachers this year.

They lost so many teachers last year because of retirements and teachers leaving for bigger districts.

The district can't always pay as much as larger ones, especially specialty teachers like special education or science.

"We've tended overall on average to be in the middle of the pack but at some levels we're falling behind," says Antigo School District Interim District Administrator Don Childs. "Particularly in areas of high need and specialty. You'll find there are districts that are willing to pay premiums for and that sometimes draws people as well away from another district."

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Students help incoming freshmen feel comfortable about starting high schoolSubmitted: 08/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Starting high school can be scary for incoming freshmen. One Northwoods high school wanted to help freshman before they start school.

Rhinelander High School held their freshman orientation Thursday. New students got the chance to do team building, get their Chromebooks and tour the school.

Juniors and seniors were there to help the freshmen.

"I think it helps them feel a little bit more comfortable with the high school surroundings," says Junior Emily Ditzler. "You know, walking in on the first day of high school you're not sure where to go. But orientation helps them know exactly where their classes are 'cause they get their schedules right now, and they can become familiar with the teachers and with their homerooms."

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White House: Obama to be in Milwaukee on Labor DaySubmitted: 08/28/2014

- The White House says President Barack Obama will travel to Milwaukee on Monday to speak at a Labor Day event. It gave no specifics about the event.

A spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said she will attend Laborfest on Monday. Burke won't take the stage with President Obama.

Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki says it is not appropriate for Burke to speak at the rally Obama is attending because it is an official White House event and not a campaign rally. Zepecki says Burke has invited Obama to return for a campaign event before the election and is optimistic that will happen.

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