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Ginseng Board Strikes $200 Million Deal with Chinese CompanySubmitted: 04/23/2013
Story By Lex Gray

Ginseng Board Strikes $200 Million Deal with Chinese Company
EDGAR - You see "Made in China" stickers every time you go to the store.

But soon, Chinese people will be seeing more Wisconsin-grown and made products in their stores.

Governor Walker went on a trade mission to China last week to help generate business in Wisconsin.

"Ginseng in our area is a pretty popular thing because of our soil and climate," said ginseng farmer Joe Heil. "Marathon County is the leading producer of ginseng in the US."


Heil is the president of the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin. He farms corn, soybean and 100 acres of ginseng. Ginseng is highly valued as an herbal medication, especially in Asia.

"It's definitely a bigger challenge. Soybeans, corn, anyone can grow that crop," he said. "Ginseng is a real challenge, there's no books, there's not been a lot of research done as far as how to grow it, because it's such a challenge."

But there's a payoff. Heil's fields are muddy and snow-covered now, but in October, they're worth upwards of $100,000 per acre.

Governor Walker worked out a big ginseng deal with Chinese leaders last week.

He announced growers could export $200 million worth of ginseng over the next ten years. Most of it will come from Marathon County.

"We understand a win-win proposition," Walker said from Beijing. "For us, a strong Chinese economy is just as important to us as a strong American economy in Wisconsin is for the people of China."

Heil hopes Governor Walker's trade mission will help Wisconsin's ginseng industry grow.

"I'm hoping that it's sustainable enough that young people will start getting back into the business or taking over the family farms," he said. "That's one thing we've seen, if we go back about ten years we have 1500 farmers and now we're down to about 140 in the state of Wisconsin just because it's not been profitable."

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MINOCQUA - "I've always had a passion for the outdoors," said Predmore.

It's no surprise he's finishing up his third wildlife internship while putting his years in school to good use.

"Wanted to take my biology degree and not work in a lab."

Predmore spends his work days at the wildlife center rehabbing hurt animals and educating the public about wildlife.

"I've enjoyed every bit of it," said Predmore.

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Missing 84-year-old man foundSubmitted: 10/21/2017

EAGLE RIVER - A woman reported her 84-year-old husband who suffers from dementia missing, at around 5 a.m. Saturday morning, in Eagle River.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office searched the home and buildings on the property when they arrived on scene.

At around 9 a.m. a member of the Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue and his K-9 found the man near his home.

He was not injured.

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RHINELANDER - Wild Instincts celebrated the release of BBC's "Supercharged Otters," which filmed at Wild Instincts in Rhinelander.

Saturday's viewing at Rouman Cinema in Rhinelander had a complementary showing of the episode.

The episode features otters that spent seven months with Rehabilitation Director Mark Naniot and his team.

The episode gives people a look into the life of an otter.

"Like everything else it's the web of life. Everything's all interconnected and even if it's just the pure enjoyment of watching an otter swim or catch a fish and seeing how playful they are sliding down a mudslide or sliding through the snow that alone is immeasurable really," said Naniot.

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ANTIGO - You'll always find 11-year-old Mara Antone wearing her helmet while she's on a bike. Last week, after leaving the Antigo Boys and Girls Club, she had an unexpected encounter. 

"I was riding home and I saw a cop car go and I waved," said Mara. 

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MINOCQUA - Pretty soon little ghosts, goblins and ghouls will hit the streets expecting tricks or treats.

However, some families may take their kids to church or club festivities as a safer way to celebrate.

Some of those places could actually attract convicted nonviolent sex offenders.

"[Kids] can't defend themselves at that age," said Minocqua vacationer and grandmother Donna Davies.

Davies thinks Halloween is a time to keep an extra eye out for sex offenders.

"With sex offenders you need to be super cautious," said Davies.

In Minocqua, there are no laws keeping nonviolent sex offenders from attending youth groups, children's activities and even boy scouts meetings.

"The public thinks sex offenders are a threat to public safety," said Minocqua Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim.

He says sex offenders are always around, but trick or treating can get dangerous.

"They're there and we don't always know they are there," said Hartzheim.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - A man died after his ATV hit a bear in northwest of Tomahawk.

Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputies tell us it happened just after 7:30 p.m. Thursday night in the Town of Wilson.

A 51 year old man had been headed west on County Road CC, east of Poplar Drive.

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RHINELANDER - Just a year ago, days looked a lot different for Rhinelander's Jane Dunbar. For 27 years up to her 2016 retirement, she built a career.

"I worked for the state health department," she said. "I worked in public health for communicable disease and immunization."

Now, Dunbar picks days she'd like to work as a substitute teacher at Pelican Elementary School.

"I've been doing kindergarten today, and I really like the kindergarten," she said on Wednesday. "They're really active."

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