LAC DU FLAMBEAU - What do auto mechanics, railroad operators, and NASA have in common? They all use an instrument built right here in Northern Wisconsin.
Simpson Electric embodies the heart of the Northwoods, quality, detailed labor, and pride in craftsmanship.
Those principles have served them well since 1934. In 1927 Ray Simpson built a key piece of equipment that allowed Charles Lindbergh to fly solo across the Atlantic. Today they build thousands of electric meters for a variety of clients.
"We sell to every branch of the military, we have NASA, the government orders, so it can go from the everyday user, all the way up into space. Our meters have been on Apollo 13," said Bill Conn, CEO of Simpson Electric.
Almost everything sold by Simpson Electric is made -starting with the tiniest pieces- right here, BY HAND.
From metal parts stamped and assembled on site to hair-fine wires spooled by hand. Each employee carefully checks the product at each stage. That dedication is what they're known for.
"We watch for the quality, we watch for the goodness in the meter before it goes out, and that's what keeps me here, the dedication to the company and the employees… And, it works," said Agnes Jack, Simpson Electric employee.
"I've had men come in and say, 'I dropped my meter 30 feet... What do you think?' And it usually works,” said Conn, “So we're very proud of that meter, and we still build and sell about 60 of them every day. That's quality work."
Simpson Electric in Lac du Flambeau welcomes the public to come in for a tour.
MERRILL - Hospitals can sometimes scare kids and even many adults.
That's why one Northwoods hospital wants those kids to be comfortable with doctors if they ever need their help.
Merrill kindergarteners visited Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center on Wednesday.
The kids got to see an ambulance, physical therapy and x rays.
"We try to show them that you know what, the hospital isn't so scary. And we bring them through different areas that they may experience when they come in or they have a family member here. And a lot of times children, if they don't know, they're very afraid. A hospital can be very intimidating, says Jane Bentz, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach.
NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.
Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.
“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”
Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.
“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”
Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - 4.7 might seem like just a random number, but it gives us an idea of just how cold it was this year. 4.7 degrees was the average temperature for this winter. It's the coldest winter in more than a century.
It’s common to see these sights and hear these sounds in a typical winter. But this year, we heard them a bit more. The Northwoods fought through it’s snowiest and coldest winter on record. What made it so rare was the persistent cold.
GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.
Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.
Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.
Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.
Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.
A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.
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