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NEWS STORIES

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

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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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 IN OTHER NEWS
Boy found safe after becoming lost in the woodsSubmitted: 09/02/2014

FLORENCE COUNTY - A family in Florence County needed help finding their three-year-old after he disappeared in the woods Monday.

The boy was missing for nearly two hours Monday morning.

The family was packing up to head home when the boy wandered away around 9:15.

He had walked about a half mile into the woods.

The family says he was very wet but healthy.

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Watch out for kids as school resumesSubmitted: 09/02/2014

RHINELANDER - Students went back to class in many districts across Wisconsin Tuesday morning.

The Wisconsin State Patrol wants drivers to watch out for them.

Some kids might get to and from school on their bikes.

It's the law to give bikers three feet of space when you're passing them.

You also need to stay 20 feet away from stopped school buses.

Parents should make sure their kids know how to stay safe on their way to and from school.

Kids need to watch out for traffic.

Parents should remind them texting while walking can be a distraction.

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Kids enjoy candy at Merrill's Labor Day ParadeSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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MERRILL - The rainy weather didn't stop some dedicated people from coming out to Merrill's Labor Day Parade.

People showed up with rain coats and umbrellas to enjoy their favorite floats.

The kids at the parade were looking forward to the candy.

"If there's no candy, I'm not coming," says Nicholas Kriegel.

Leila Linnell got a lot of candy at the parade.

"There's a lot of people who just, like, throw out all this candy. I got three of these gigantic suckers. And it's, like, awesome," says Linnell.

Click on watch video to see the rest of the story.

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Fewer people at Merrill's Labor Day Car Show because of weather Submitted: 09/01/2014

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MERRILL - You won't find as many people at this year's car show in Merrill compared to years past.

The car show usually gets about 2,000 attendees each year.

Organizers say they got about half of that total this year because of the weather.

The Merrill Lions Club organizes the event.

This is one of the group's biggest fundraisers of the year.

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One person injured in Rhinelander crash Monday evening Submitted: 09/01/2014

RHINELANDER - A person got hurt during a one car crash near Rhinelander today.

The crash happened on North Shore Drive east of Rhinelander around 4 p.m.

Only one person was in the car.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office, Town of Pelican Fire Department and the Oneida County EMS were at the crash.

We don't know the cause of the crash yet.

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Locals get a good seat waving goodbye to visitorsSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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HAZELHURST - Tourists make a big economic impact in the Northwoods, but they don't stay forever. Monday, locals thanked them for coming to the Northwoods this summer.

People stood outside of Whitman's Bar and Grill just off of Highway 51 in Hazelhurst to wave goodbye. The bar has marked this occasion for 44 years.

One of the owners says this isn't just a party for the tourists, but for locals as well.

"It's also a Goodbye Summer party for a lot of the locals. Most of the people that come, I know," said Whitman's Bar and Grill co-owner, Mary Whitman. "They may be tourists that come up for a week or weekends, but it's a party. We give away free street corn, free sloppy joes, and it's just a thank you.

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Two photographic exhibits to open next week at ArtStartSubmitted: 09/01/2014

RHINELANDER - The artists paired together in ArtStart's next exhibition couldn't have more different backgrounds.

Next Friday, the Rhinelander gallery will open with two very diverse displays.

"We have two photographic exhibitions opening. One is a solo artist, so the whole gallery will be their work, and the other is an artist who worked with teens as a kind of therapy program, photography and art as therapy," said ArtStart Development Director Melinda Childs.

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