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.
PRESQUE ISLE - The art of violin making dates back hundreds of years, and Brian Derber is carrying on the tradition. He wanted to go into furniture making, but fell into instrument design after taking a class in college. In 1999, he opened his own school. It's the only violin making school in Wisconsin.
"The program itself is modeled after a German school of violin making," said New World School of Violin Making Owner Brian Derber. "Students have to fulfill a certain requirement before they can apply to graduate. So the minimum time they are with me is three years."
Students start out by making the body of a violin in their first year. As they progress, they add the scroll and varnish, which can take months for students to finish. Nearing the end of their stay, they can even try to make a cello.
"In the time that I have with students in the school here, I can only give them so much, and then it's time for them to go someplace else and get more knowledge," said Derber.
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