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Northwoods Population Continues DeclineSubmitted: 03/14/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Northwoods Population Continues Decline
NORTHWOODS - Look around, and you may notice the Northwoods population getting older.

But in most areas, it's also getting smaller.

In the last two years, population has been shrinking in many Northwoods counties.

The U.S. Census bureau released their 2012 population estimates this week.

It shows people are either dying or moving away from the Northwoods faster than they're coming in.

Chances are, migration has made up for the biggest portion of loss since 2010.

"People can move into or out of for a variety of reasons, but trends in migration tend to shift a lot more quickly than natural increase," says U.S. Census Bureau Statistician Ben Bolender.

Counties in red are ones that lost population since 2010.

The deeper the red, the more they lost.

Only four counties on the map actually gained population over that two year stretch.

Population loss in northern Wisconsin is nothing new.

"Although in some years in the past decade some of those counties either grew slightly or stayed the same for a year at a time, that overall decline is kind of the same trend that we've seen since at least 2000," says Bolender.

Statewide, though, Wisconsin gained population since 2010.

Urban centers around Milwaukee and Green Bay account for most of that increase.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - A car crashed into a store on Brown Street in Rhinelander today around 5 p.m.

The driver started to back out of a parking spot near the intersection of Brown and Davenport when she hit another vehicle.

An officer at the scene said the woman was startled and hit the gas instead of the brake.

The car crashed into Diane's Frame Shoppe.

There were no injuries but the car and the wall of the building were both damaged.

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EAGLE RIVER - Most of us go out on the boat for a day of fun and relaxation. But to Gary and Shele Fawcett, a trip out on the water means a chance to teach history.

"The Eagle River Chain of Lakes alone is about 350-400 miles of water," said Shele.

"We talk about Eagle River and the things that used to happen up here, but nobody knows the stuff that's going on on the lakes," said Gary.

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HARSHAW - More than 50 people from Vilas, Forest, and Oneida counties came together Wednesday to learn leadership skills. 

Northwoods United Way hosted the second annual Leaderfest at Rondele Ranch in Harshaw. 

Executive Director Nancy Sattler was excited to present this opportunity to people in the area. 

"We want to offer the opportunity for enrichment, learning, and growth and the opportunity also to network with other people from the Northwoods and to learn from them and maybe they can help them in the future," said Sattler. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Wednesday's weather made it the perfect day for a group of people to grab their paddles and explore some Northwoods waters.

The Northwoods Land Trust invited the community on a tour of private and protected waters.

People met up to paddle down Deerskin River in Eagle River.

Executive Director of the Northwoods Land Trust Bryan Pierce said Deerskin River is special because it's a trout stream and known for its resources.

"Our intent is to try and keep it that high quality keep the water quality protected and also provide for both fish and wildlife habitat," said Pierce. 

Wednesday was also a celebration.

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RHINELANDER - Kids all over Wisconsin will head back to school soon.

However, workers at a Rhinelander bus service say knowing bus safety skills could safe your child's life.

"The song Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round inspired me so much. That's why I became a bus driver," said Jake Kriesel a Rhinelander bus driver who never puts a break on fun.

But Kriesel says bus safety is no laughing matter.
"Bus drivers only have one thing in mind and that is your safety," said Kriesel.

Kriesel drives for Bowen's Bus Service, and Thursday he will be a part of a School Bus Safety Open House.

"Making sure there're safe. That's really our number one job," said Kriesel.

The open house will have three bus emergency scenarios for kids to learn how to evacuate safely.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - A 50-year-old Lac Du Flambeau man faces felony charges for sexual assault. 

Deputies found out about the allegations against the man in May. 

To protect the victims' identities, we are not releasing his name at this time.

The assaults took place in the Town of Birch in Lincoln County in the summer or 2016 and the spring of 2017. 

The two victims were teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18. 

The suspect appeared in Lincoln County Court today where he was formally charged with three felony counts. 

The suspect posted a $5,000 cash bond and has been released from jail.

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EAGLE RIVER - A $14,000 donation will help bring kids from urban areas to the Northwoods.

Baden-Powell Northwoods Experience donated the money earlier this month.

The Milwaukee-based group tried to use that money to save a Laona Boy Scout camp last year, but it wasn't able to raise enough money fast enough. 

So, the group decided to donate the left over funds to Trees for Tomorrow. 

Executive Director Robin Ginner said the two groups missions line up well. 

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