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Northwoods Native Confirmed to Natural Resources BoardSubmitted: 05/07/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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

THREE LAKES - Three Lakes taxpayers will chip in $900,000 dollars to the remodeling and expansion of the Demmer Library.

After years of meetings and votes, that plan became official last week at the town's annual meeting.

The money will accompany $1 million in money from the library's foundation and $100,000 from the Three Lakes Historical Society.

"The library is excited to be able to develop plans for a library that's going to continue to serve the community for many years in the future," said library director Erica Brewster.

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MERRILL - County lands exist for the public to enjoy.

But when people mistreat the land it can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

After a group of trucks damaged county land in Tomahawk over the weekend, Lincoln County wants to send a warning to other drivers.

Lieutenant Tim Fischer from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says places with county forest and logging roads tend to be easy targets for people who want to tear through the woods on their vehicles.

"[It causes] damage to the property that isn't easily repaired. 

[It] prohibits county workers from accessing areas in the forest that they have to get to," said Fischer. 

People find mud holes and drive their cars through them.

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We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MOLE LAKE - Dozens of members of the Sokoagon Chippewa community came together Monday morning to participate in Earth Day festivities.

Armed with large garbage bags, metal grabbers and plastic gloves, members picked up garbage and debris along a ten mile stretch of the reservation.

One volunteer worked the majority of the day in a blackberry bush, grabbing anything that didn't fit with the natural scenery.

"I would rather see green grass and green trees than tin cans, aluminum cans and plastic," said the volunteer.

57 volunteers came out to help.
Sokoagen Chippewa Environmental Director Tina Van Zile wanted to celebrate Earth Day on a week day because she believed more people would participate.

"Litter bothers me really bad," said Van Zile.

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MOSINEE - A cheese factory in central Wisconsin is offering a lifeline to a handful of dairy farms threatened by Canada's milk pricing policies that may force other farms to close.

Mullins Cheese Vice President Bill Mullins signed contracts to buy milk from eight family-owned operations.

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MADISON - Governor Scott Walker says he has "no interest" in raising vehicle registration fees as part of a plan to pay for Wisconsin roads.

Instead, Walker said Monday he is optimistic there will be enough money from general tax collections and other savings to balance the budget without raising taxes.

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WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - A Wisconsin heart surgeon who was vacationing in New Zealand when he caused a highway accident that killed two people and injured four others has been ordered to make reparation payments but has avoided jail time.

Kenneth Wolnak was ordered on Monday to pay a total of 165,000 New Zealand dollars ($116,000) to the victims or their families.

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