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Forestry Program Provides Graduates for a Growing IndustrySubmitted: 03/25/2013
Story By Hayley Tenpas


ANTIGO - The first graduating class from a Northwoods forestry program will receive their diplomas this May, and most of them have job offers.

It's a program that's taking the forest industry to another level.

But it's not just about the trees.

It's about jobs.

"We're just trying to develop the best possible people for this industry that we can," said Brown.

Northcentral Technical College's Wood Tech program is teaching future forest industry employees, right in Antigo.

"The equipment that we have here on the floor, the curriculum that we teach here at NTC is very unique, and it is cutting edge. It's what employers are looking for when they're hiring new employees," said instructor Travis Allen.

The forestry industry job market looks good too.

With almost 60 thousand jobs in Wisconsin in 2011, compared to 52 thousand in 2010, according to the DNR.

Oradei sees it as a sustainable job market too.

"It's a very desirable industry to be involved with; you're always working with a renewable resource," said Oradei.

Brown is happy to see business growing.

"Business has picked up in the united states and worldwide, so it's getting a lot more fun," said Brown.

Sixteen students in Travis Allen's class are hearing from employers too.

"A week ago I had three different employers contact us for skilled employees, and the nice thing is our curriculum is covering exactly what they want to hire on," said Allen.


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On Thursday, we learned that man is 48-year-old Mark Mayo of Eagle River, and he was threatening to kill himself. That was near a home between Eagle River and Phelps.

Mayo is safe, but now in Vilas County Jail.

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VILAS COUNTY - Soon snow will be falling. In fact, preparation for snowmobile season starts as soon as next month.
Cross Country Cruisers Snowmobile Club President David Assmann and his crew are just about ready to hit the trails, starting in September.

"We cut all the brush and everything that's low to the ground," said Assmann.

His crew spends a lot of volunteered time making sure 93 miles of trails near Arbor Vitae are ready and safe to use in the winter.

"We have at least five guys going out, sometimes twice a day. We do trails in the morning and then trails late at night," said Assmann.

Many people who live here use the Northwoods trails, but so do a lot of tourists during the winter months.
"We are able to go out, get these trails groomed so that the tourists that come up can go on our trails, can get to the different businesses in the area, and that helps the economy up here," said Assmann.

With so many miles of trails in Vilas County, one of the best parts is that there is equipment made to maintain those trails, right in St. Germain.

Arrowhead Groomers has been in Vilas County since 1976. The company builds equipment that levels out the trails.

"We manufacture the snow groomer drags primarily for snowmobile trails. Some of them end up getting used on cross country ski trails as well," said Walker Equipment owner Dave Walker.

Another local snowmobile club, Bo-Boen, uses the Arrowhead Groomers on their trails as well.

"I have 17 drivers on my staff that maintain 100 miles of trails here in St. Germain. We're very cognizant of the fact that we have to do a good job to bring those people here so they can spend their money and keep our economy going," said the trail boss for Bo-Boen snowmobile club Jim Wendt.

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Work to tear down the Social Services wing of the courthouse started Wednesday.  Crews will build a two-story expansion on the east side of the courthouse.

That will allow Social Services, Veterans Services, the Commission on Aging, Tourism and Publicity, and other departments to move into the same building.  The expansion will also include new break rooms and conference rooms.

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Trump's state director Pete Meachum issued a statement Thursday injecting himself into Feingold's Senate race against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

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The two-day trial for Mark Spietz, 39, of Kaukauna, finished up Thursday afternoon, following a morning of the defense arguing it was all part of Spietz's job.

Spietz was a contract worker for a company called TruAssets, which secures abandoned or foreclosed homes throughout the country. The company is based in Arizona.

On Thursday, Spietz testified that in September and October, he took ATVs, bows, a John Deere tractor, a trailer and Jennifer Ayers' purse from the house to try and secure it for his employer.

"My experience with the work order is that it is our job to make sure the property is secured," Spietz said. "Obviously if I can open the doors and get into it, anybody can open the doors and get into it. So I ended up removing the ATVs with the trailer and them bringing them back to Kaukauna to lock up in my storage facility where they would be under lock and key for the future for whatever the bank decided they wanted to do with their property."

In the criminal complaint, however, Spietz told investigators he took the purse because he thought his wife would like it.

But the state argued Thursday he technically didn't have permission from the company to be at the house after the first visit. Oneida County District Attorney Mike Schiek presented Spietz with the original work order form TruAssets assigned him. The document specifically stated not to remove any personal property from the house, and that contract workers should submit a bid for the property if they do take it from the house.

Schiek then argued Spietz specifically targeted the empty house because he knew its owners were dead.

"Looking back, what did you think you saw?" Schiek asked Spietz during his cross examination.

"Couple spots on the floor, large, dark spots," Spietz responded.

"Knowing what you know now, do you know what that was?" Schiek asked.

"To the best of my knowledge that's where they were killed," Spietz replied.

Spietz's attorney Brian Bennett said since Spietz is not from the area, he wouldn't have known the homicides happened at the house. He argued there was no sign saying no trespassing, nor had he had any knowledge the house was in probate.

"He used his best judgment based on his experience," Bennett said during his closing argument. "Which makes him quite possibly, if he's a burglar, the worst burglar in the world."

Bennett added Spietz gets little supervision from TruAssets, as Spietz testified he has never met a person from the company.

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Spietz will be sentenced in October. 

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Oldenburg Group announced today its Heavy Equipment Group has been sold.

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J.F. Lehman and Company will take over control of the operations.

The company was founded in 1992 by former Navy Secretary John Lehman.

The former Oldenburg operations will be renamed Lake Shore Systems, Inc.

The existing management team and employees will stay in place, and all plants will operate as normal.

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