NEWS STORIES

Northwoods white birch face disease, insect problemsSubmitted: 04/08/2013

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NORTHWOODS - White birch trees help define our Northwoods forests.

But these trees can be threatened by many different pests.

White birch is a pioneer species, meaning it grows well in landscapes that have been hit by fire or otherwise cleared.

Right now, as a whole, the Northwoods white birch population is getting older quickly.

"As those trees age, their systems are not as durable as when they're nice, healthy, younger, vigorous trees," says DNR Forester John Gillen.

Diseases in white birch are often due to more than one factor.

Many trees have become dehydrated or defoliated, especially in the drought of the last decade.

"Then, a big influx of insects may attack the trees because they're under stress. That, often times, is what ends up killing individual trees or a stand of white birch," Gillen says.

Insects like the bronze birch borer, birch leafminer, and forest tent caterpillar can be common in the Northwoods.

That goes for white birch both in the forest and in your yard.

"A good thing to keep an eye out for in all tree species is pay attention to what's happening with the crown of the tree - if there's any defoliation happening, or if the coloration of the leaves is changing," says Gillen.

The best way to keep your white birch healthy is to make sure it's always well watered.

That makes it strong enough to fight off insects and diseases.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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UPDATE: Name released in Tomahawk house fireSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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TOMAHAWK - A man in a wheelchair couldn't make it out of a burning Tomahawk home Thursday.

The fire killed 70-year-old Kenneth Pietila.

A snow plow driver saw smoke coming out of the windows of the home on East Pine Shore Lane just after 1 p.m.

Tomahawk firefighters found an active fire spreading throughout the home.

Pietila, in his wheelchair, couldn't be saved.

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Merrill library stays ahead of technology, offers visitors 3D printerSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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MERRILL - Workers at the T.B. Scott Free Library in Merrill want people to use the library for more than just books.

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Community fundraises for boy with rare diseaseSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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THREE LAKES - Imagine not being able to move your body.

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Survey shows fewer high school students drinking,smoking and having sexual intercourseSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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ACROSS WISCONSIN - A new survey released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction shows fewer high school students are smoking, drinking and having sex.

The 2013 Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey is taken every two years. It anonymously surveys more than 2800 students from more than 50 public school districts around Wisconsin.

The survey shows 12 percent of high school students had smoked a cigarette on one or more days in the past 30 days of the survey. That’s down from 32 percent in 1993.

Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Services Clinician, works with teenagers that suffer from alcohol and other drug addictions. She believes intervention programs have helped lead to declines.

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Federal appeals court upholds Walker's union lawSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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MADISON - A federal appeals court has upheld Republican Gov. Scott Walker's public union restrictions.

The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and equal protection.

U.S. District Judge William Conley found the restrictions constitutional in September. A three-judge appeals panel affirmed Conley's ruling Friday, saying the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the state to maintain policies that allow certain associations to thrive.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen calls the ruling ``a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.''

An attorney for the unions tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needs to talk to his clients before deciding whether to appeal.

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RHS Mock Trial team recognized for accomplishments Submitted: 04/18/2014

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A pair of state legislators honored them Friday.

Republican State Representative Rob Swearingen and Republican State Senator Tom Tiffany honored the Rhinelander Mock Trial Team at the Oneida County courthouse today.

"It's on behalf of myself and Senator Tom Tiffany from the 12th senate district," said Republican State Representative, Rob Swearingen.

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Snow and ice won't stop fishermen from enjoying opening weekendSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - The snow on the ground makes it seem more like January than mid-April.

The record-breaking snow will make it more difficult for lakes to melt in time for the fishing opener on May 3rd.

Fishing guides have just two weeks until opening weekend.

They say they're having flashbacks to last year's late season ice, but they're not worried.

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