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NEWS STORIES

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

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Successful pea harvest despite cool Spring temperaturesSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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ANTIGO - A slow and shaky start to the summer growing season didn't hurt some farmers in Langlade County. That's because cooler temperatures can actually help some crops like peas.

Some farmers just finished harvesting their peas this week.It's the first vegetable crop of the season and farmers at Sunnydale Farms believe it was a great harvest.

They think cooler temperatures helped some of their crops stay healthy.

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Northwoods caregiver talks importance of Silver AlertSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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RHINELANDER - More than 16,000 people in northcentral Wisconsin live with some form of dementia. They're some of the 110,000 people living with a cognitive impairment in the state. About 60% of them will wander at some point.

A new tool could help their families find them.

The Silver Alert program became available in Wisconsin Friday.

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Girl, 12, not competent for trial in stabbingSubmitted: 08/01/2014

WAUKESHA - One of two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls charged as an adult with stabbing a classmate to please a fictional online horror character has been found mentally unable to stand trial.

A judge declared the girl incompetent Friday and ordered her committed for treatment. Two doctors who examined the girl had submitted reports saying they didn't think she was competent.

Court documents say the two 12-year-olds plotted for months to kill their former friend to win favor with Slender Man, a character in online horror stories. Documents say they lured the victim into a wooded park following a sleepover and stabbed her 19 times.

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Minocqua Chamber names new directorSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce will welcome a new executive director later this month.

Krystal Westfahl will start at the chamber August 21st. She'll replace Kim Baltus who left to join the Howard Young Foundation.

Westfahl comes to the Northwoods from Appleton. That's where she has been in charge of fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Wisconsin for the past seven years. Before that, she worked as director of the Sampson State Park World War II Military Museum in Upstate New York.

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Northwoods man uses hobby to say thank you to veteransSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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ELCHO - A Northwoods man found a unique way to give back to our troops one year ago.

During the lunch hour you'll likely find Al Breit manning the grill.

His wife Diane works the bar, and together they own the Post Lake Inn in Elcho.

Every day Breit finds an opportunity to sneak downstairs to work on a special project.

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Northland Pines football players recognized for accomplishmentsSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Three local graduates in Eagle River will go to play division three college football this fall.

Northland Pines High School already recognized football players who are going to division one or division two schools in February, but they wanted to also recognize players who will go play at D3 schools.

"We have a lot of individuals that are good students and are really good at football. They enjoy it; they work hard at it, both in the season and in the off season," said Northland pines High School Football Coach Eric Swanson. "This is kind of a time for us to honor those individuals because they have worked just as hard as the kids that are playing a little higher ball."

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Rhinelander's Flory sees Washington wildfires firsthandSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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WASHINGTON - Hot, dry conditions still worry firefighters in Washington state fighting the Carlton Complex wildfire.

In July, the Northwoods sent a team of firefighters to the area to help fight it.

Now, Rhinelander's Suzanne Flory is in Washington near the fire site.

She's working with the U.S. Forest Service.

This is one of the pictures Flory sent us of her area.

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