Northwoods Native Confirmed to Natural Resources BoardSubmitted: 05/07/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

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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CRANDON - UPDATE (3/23/18): The Forest County Medical Examiner released the name of the inmate who died in the Forest County Jail earlier this week. 

The Forest County Sheriff's Officer said a man committed suicide Wednesday morning. 

An autopsy showed 44-year-old William Zastawniak died by hanging. 

He was facing three child sexual assault charges. 

The medical examiner is still waiting on toxicology results. 

The death is still under investigation.

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MERRILL - Police say a Stevens Point man tried to pay to have sex 15-year-old girl. 
Police arrested Leo Pelot, 67, on Tuesday. 

According to a criminal complaint, an undercover agent with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office posed as the 15-year-old's aunt. 

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PORTAGE COUNTY - Portage County will hold an information meeting to share information about a sexually violent offender that will soon be released.

Gregory Loomis, 43, sexually assaulted two children in 1988 and 1992.

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TOMAHAWK - Two best friends turned into business partners about a year ago.

Bill Eastwood and Blake McMahon own Outboards Bar and Grill in Tomahawk.

The duo's combined restaurant and business experience helped them hit the ground running.

Fish quality comes first at Outboards.

"Friday night is the night that pretty much everyone goes out to eat. So if you don't have a good fish fry, people around here start talking!" say Eastwood.

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"I just recently got my third gallon," Woodford said.

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Ellen Tran's trial is expected to start with jury selection on October 19.

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CRANDON - Planners in Tomahawk dreamed about a bike loop around the city starting in the early 2000s.

Two decades later, it's finally about to happen.

After more than 15 years of negotiation, the city bought a critical piece of land from the Canadian National railroad.

It will allow the city to start building a 4.6 mile bike loop around the city.

"It's a win-win for everybody. There was a little frustration from by position, but you just...kept your foot on the gas through the whole process," said Tomahawk Public Works Director John Cole.

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