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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Cattle Rescue One-of-a-Kind in the StateSubmitted: 04/30/2013
Story By Kailey Burton


Photos By Kailey Burton

TOMAHAWK - Humane societies care for as many dogs and cats as they can, but what about larger animals-- like cows, or horses? That's where Bill Blemke comes in.

"Some of the situations we take these cattle out of, and horses... No feed, they have no dry place to lay, they're laying in their own feces… for months. No water. It's terrible," said Blemke.

It's clearly illegal to treat a dog or cat that way. Farm animals though, don't have many advocates. Bill Blemke couldn't believe the "Dairy State" had no rescue group for abused cows, so he started one. For now he works with family farmers to place animals he's rescued.

"If Bill didn't bring him I'm sure he would have been dead," said Vi McCrystal, referring to the cow leaning into her to have his face rubbed, When he came to us his knees were bulging, he just really was in a bad way," McCrystal care takes and helps rehabilitate animals for Cattle Rescue Inc.

Bill wants to stop that kind of abuse in the first place. He feels every animal should have a chance at a healthy productive life. Once these animals are healthy, most will go back to agricultural use. To make this rescue work though, Blemke needs some serious fundraising.

"We need $500,000...Times are hard, I know people, it's hard for them to open their pocket. But there's also people out there with big hearts that do have so money, so they might be able to help," he said

In Bill's mind, animal abuse is not just wrong, it's wasteful. He wants his rescue to serve as many purposes as possible.

"There's a lot of hungry people in the state of Wisconsin. If we can take them [older dairy cows] just for hamburger for the food pantries it'll put a big chunk into the economy just for those people alone," he said.

Bill wants high school students interesting in farming to get hands on experience caring for the animals. He also wants to repurpose horses and other animals rescued to therapy barns.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People die from heroin overdoses every day throughout the U.S., and it's a problem we see here in the Northwoods as well. 

That's why Lac Du Flambeau hosted it's first Overdose Awareness Day to help people learn more about drug addiction.

"Having lost my sister last year, and other families that lost loved ones like that, an awareness and education needs to be done in Indian Communities," said organizer Jeanne Wolfe. 
 
A special agent gave a presentation about heroin.

Afterwards the people at the event could talk about ways to prevent drug use in the community.

The event was also a way to deal with grief.

"Nothing has really been done to recognize or talk about our sorrow and the loss a person goes through when somebody dies unexpectedly like that," Wolfe said. 

Wolfe hopes to host the event again next year.


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The victim was identified as James A. Bohn of the Town of Knowlton.




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RHINELANDER - Trig's Smokehouse in Rhinelander hired 15 new employees to start a second shift. Supervisor Geremiah Young remembers the early days of Trig's Smokehouse. He's worked there since 2009 which was before the plant on Stevens Street was even built.

"We had one little stuffer and now we've got two lines going and looking to possibly get more," said Young.

That demand for more was enough to add a second shift and 15 new jobs at the Smokehouse.

"We're fairly excited about for this second shift. It means a lot more of our product is getting out to the world and we're very excited for that," said Young.

Getting out tons of new product may be more accurate.

"We're doing about 4,000 pounds of just bratwurst and with the first shift, they were doing about 3,000 pounds of sticks. Throughout both shifts I know we can do a maximum of that and right now we're going through quite a bit," said Young.

The day shift goes from 6am-2:30pm when the second shift comes in and takes over right away, making the shift change relatively smooth.

"We've got one person coming in and one person steps out. We exchange what we were doing for the day, what products were ran during the day and we continue on from there," said Young.

With the 15 new night time employees, training can be a challenge. 

"Training… it's going… it's like anybody else, you come off the street and this is a whole different ballgame from what they're used to," said Young.

In addition to the 15 hired employees, the Smokehouse is still looking for about six more.

"It's a fun, fast-paced environment. If you think you've got it, come on in. But be prepared for the cold."

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RHINELANDER - It all started with an idea.

 After visiting a church in Whitewater, Rhinelander's Barbra Thompson came back with an idea for her own community.

Thompson realized her community was missing something. 

The Table event started providing free meals to the people of Rhinelander 20 years ago. 

"A great, great opportunity to serve those in need, and I think our community in Rhinelander appreciates it," said a volunteer from St. Mary's Hospital.

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MADISON - Concerns about treatment of veterans at Wisconsin's largest veterans home will be investigated.

The co-chairs of the Legislature's Audit Committee said Wednesday they support approving an audit for the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King.

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