PICKEREL - Sending mail will soon be more difficult if you live in a rural area.
Post offices are cutting hours - and sometimes closing.
But in Pickerel, the U.S. Postal Service has a creative solution.
Lotter's BP gas station is the home of one of the first five Village Post Offices in the state.
"You can get different basic postal services at one of these locations, that, at times, might be more conducive or convenient for our customers," says USPS Spokesman Sean Hargadon.
Pickerel's post office is about to scale back to four hours a day.
But the Village Post Office at the gas station is open at least 12 hours daily.
It provides basic services like buying stamps, buying and sending flat-rate boxes, and a collection box.
"Most of the people like the convenience of just being able to come to one stop. They don't have to make another stop down at the post office. We have a collection box outside. They have the ability to drop off their mail for pickup by 10:30 in the morning here, or they still have a collection box down at the post office three doors down that has a collection period at the end of the day," says station owner Kay Lotter.
The USPS plans to expand the Village Post Office program.
Right now, Auburndale is the only other community in our area with a location.
RHINELANDER - We expect trees on our property to suffer when it gets very dry, but for tree health, drought severity may not be as important as another factor. Researchers for the U.S. Forest Service have been studying the impacts of drought on trees across the Midwest, including the Northwoods. One ecologist at the Northern Research Station in Rhinelander found surprising results.
"It was the length of drought that was more important than determining the severity," explained Northern Research Station Ecologist Dr. Eric Gustafson. "Trees have the ability to survive droughts by drawing on their energy reserves, and when the drought is long, those energy reserves get depleted."
MINOCQUA - Too many times, Minocqua-area fishing guide Greg Bohn has heard the stories of tragedy.
A parent on Wisconsin waters jumps in to try to rescue their child, who is in the water without a life jacket. But the parent, also not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD), drowns, even if the child survives.
It happened in July on Shawano Lake in Shawano County, and on Minocqua Lake a few years ago.
"Accidents can happen in seconds, and there's total chaos and emergency," Bohn says while touring Minocqua Lake on his fishing boat.
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