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.
RHINELANDER - For the last seven months, salesmen at Rhinelander's Slumberland Furniture worked in a dark, cramped warehouse. After crews tore down the old building on Stevens Street, crews were busy building a new building on the old one's footprint. That work took longer than expected, but the new Slumberland will open Saturday.
Newswatch 12 got a walk-through with the owner and store manager Friday. The new building is 19,000 square feet, offering about 2,000 sq.-ft. more than the old showroom. The new building features a more open layout with raised ceilings.
ANTIGO - Messages of support have been pouring in throughout the state since the prom shooting tragedy in Antigo.
Two Antigo women are continuing to support the community by collecting donations not only for the family of the shooting victim, but for the family of the shooter as well.
You can find a box at the Thirsty Soul in Antigo where people are placing words of encouragement, cash, and gift cards for the Wagner and Cooper families.
Lisa Sennholz is a mother of two Antigo High School students. Her son was at prom the night of the shooting. After that night, Lisa knew that something had to be done.
"My first instinct was to do something, to actually reach out and help in some way," said Sennholz. "And I said, I just feel like we need to ask the community to rally around these families and give support."
Lisa and Diane Kondrath, the owner of the Thirsty Soul, originally just hoped to collect cards of encouragement for both the Cooper family and the Wagner family. Soon, they began to collect gift cards and other monetary donations.
"I am overwhelmed with how many people have come in, and cared for both families equally," said Kondrath.
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