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Northwoods Native Confirmed to Natural Resources BoardSubmitted: 05/07/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Northwoods Native Confirmed to Natural Resources Board
LAONA - What should the rules be for wolf hunting in Wisconsin?

How can we deal with phosphorous runoff in state rivers?

Should we should be able to hunt in state parks?

Those are some of the big questions Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board deals with.

Now, a longtime scientist from a small Northwoods community will join the decision-makers.

Laona isn't typically a hotbed of state leaders.

But on Tuesday, Laona native Gary Zimmer joined a group with real power to shape how we interact with nature in our state.

All 33 state senators voted to confirm Zimmer to his new post on the seven-member Natural Resources Board.

His perspective should be a valuable addition to the group.

"Our Natural Resources Board is made up of a number of different individuals. I'm one of the few that has a scientific background on the board. There's folks with real estate or farming backgrounds, just a wide range of backgrounds, and that's really important to making good decisions out there," he says.

Zimmer has worked in Laona for the Ruffed Grouse Society for the last 13 years.

Before that, he spent 18 years with the U.S. Forest Service in the Northwoods.

He plans to make the interaction between forestry and wildlife management a focus of his as a new member of the board.

"The state forests, the county forests, and the state wildlife management areas are all forests that are certified. That shows the well-managed sustained-yield forests that we do have. Those forests are very, very important for wildlife management," he says.

Zimmer will sit down for his first meeting as an official board member two weeks from Tuesday.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

VILAS COUNTY - Many people love sightseeing on two wheels throughout the Northwoods.

Now, you can get a prize for doing it.

"Bike the Heart" encourages riders to explore the different communities along the Heart of Vilas County Trail.

The trail is more than 45 miles of paved path that connects Boulder Junction, Sayner, St. Germain and Manitowish Waters.

The goal of "Bike the Heart" is to stop at each Chamber of Commerce with a "pass card" to get a stamp.

You have until September to collect four stamps and send it in to one of the chambers to be entered for a prize worth more than $100.

"Bringing the bicyclists to this area is astronomical. We have inquiries from the entire Midwest and even the outlying states of California and New York," says executive director Penny Wiesmann of St. Germain Chamber of Commerce.

Mile markers and "fix-it" stations are the newest additions to the Heart of Vilas County Trail.

The stations have tools attached to the sides to help you make a quick fix on your bike.

"We're just really excited that people can come up and ride up the entire length of the trail, or if they want to take up some smaller portions they can do that to," says executive director Theresa Smith of Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce.



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TOMAHAWK - After two years of planning, the opening ceremony of a new Northwoods nature trail took place Monday. The trail immortalizes an important figure in Tomahawk.

Allan Bell wrote his "Birch Bark Nature Notes" columns in the Tomahawk Leader for more than three decades.

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RHINELANDER - If you wait long enough, you could see Rhinelander city workers mowing your front lawn. But it's not free, and it's not a service they necessarily want to provide.

Streets Superintendent Tony Gilman has been named "Weed Commissioner" for the fourth year.  That means he'll be on the lookout and taking calls for lawns with grass 12 inches or longer.  Gilman says he gets dozens of calls from fed-up people each year.

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WAUSAU - The Wausau community will see four new faces protecting and serving its city.

The Wausau Police Department swore in new officers to its team Monday.

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RHINELANDER - Stepping onto a boat and casting a line doesn't come easy for some people.

The Northwoods "Let's Go Fishing" pontoon helps veterans, seniors, the disabled get on the lake for a day of fun.

The Northwoods chapter needs volunteer captains and mates to keep the rides running.

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MERRILL - People who lost their homes in last week's tornado will get state help, but likely no federal dollars to rebuild.

Initial estimates from the Barron County Sheriff's Office put the damage from last week's tornado at $10 million.

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RHINELANDER - Thousands of kids got a lot of joy out of a twisty slide at Pioneer Park in Rhinelander.  But after 20 years, that slide cracked, broke, and became unusable last fall.

Monday, work started to add some new fun to the park. Rhinelander Parks Department workers started tearing down the old slide. It's been blocked off since last fall and would cost up to $10,000 to fix the slide and structure itself.

Parks Director Jeremy Biolo reached out to a local service group to see if they could help.

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