NEWS STORIES

Extended Winter Shortens Cranberry Growing SeasonSubmitted: 05/08/2013

MANITOWISH WATERS - The cold April meant you could ski and ice fish longer, and had to keep your winter coat at hand.

But it also could have an impact on northern Wisconsin crops.

Cranberries from the Northwoods might be smaller and not as deep red in color this year.

That size and color difference shouldn't make a difference on how our official state fruit tastes this year.

The expected difference in how they grow is due to the shortened growing season compared to last year.

Cold weather into May this year pushed things back much further than last spring.

"Last year, we were at one extreme, and this year, we're the other extreme. Last year was probably the longest growing season we've ever had. This year, I would predict that it would be closer to what the average growing season would be," says Bob Winter of Vilas Cranberry.

A short growing season often produces berries smaller and lighter in color.

That doesn't change the taste.

But it could change profits for growers.

"You'd probably have to wait a little longer into growing season before you start harvesting to get a little better color. Size is weight, so, the bigger the berries, the more they weigh. You get paid by the hundred pounds, so size is good," Winter says.

Many growers are flooding their bogs right now to help get frost out of the ground faster.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Dane County judge to hear Planned Parenthood lawsuitSubmitted: 04/24/2014

MADISON - A Dane County judge is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging a 2012 law that sets out conditions for abortions.

The law requires a doctor to determine whether the woman's consent is voluntary and inform the woman of domestic abuse services if he or she suspects the woman is being coerced. The law also requires doctors to perform a physical exam before they can prescribe abortion-inducting drugs and be in the room when the drugs are given to the woman.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in February 2013 arguing the law is unconstitutionally vague. The organization argues its unclear how doctors should determine voluntary consent and whether doctors need to be present when drugs are dispensed or administered.

Judge Richard Niess is set to hear arguments Thursday morning.

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WisDOT leaders hopeful for increase in Northwoods railSubmitted: 04/24/2014

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ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Railroads give businesses a chance to move loads of material for a low cost. Loggers could use rail as an alternative to trucking material, but many businesses donít get that opportunity in the Northwoods anymore.

Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.

Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.

In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.

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Statewide tornado drillSubmitted: 04/24/2014

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RHINELANDER - There was no severe weather Thursday, but sirens across the Northwoods were blaring at about 1:45 pm on Thursday.

That's because the National Weather Service held a statewide tornado drill.

It was part of their severe weather awareness week, and Oneida County took part in the drill.

"The sirens are only set off for warnings, in the city of Rhinelander, it's only going to be a Severe Thunderstorm Warning that is affecting the city area," said Oneida County Emergency Management Director Ken Kortenhof. "It's also going to be set off for a Tornado Warning affecting the area."

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Police: Smoking in bathroom caused school fireSubmitted: 04/24/2014

OCONTO - Police say a student smoking in a bathroom caused a fire that resulted in an estimated $5 million in smoke damage at Oconto High School.

After reviewing surveillance video and interviewing students and staff members, Oconto police have identified as 16-year-old student as a person of interest.

Firefighters interviewed the student, who said he left class early and went to the bathroom, where he smoked a home-rolled cigarette.

Police believe the cigarette was used too close to a toilet paper dispenser, causing an accidental fire. No one else used the bathroom after the boy.

The April 16 fire forced the building to be evacuated. Students returned to class Monday at Oconto Middle School.

WLUK-TV (http://bit.ly/1lJIFZH) reports the boy is being referred to the Oconto County Department of Human Services.

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Hodag water show pavilion needs repair Submitted: 04/24/2014

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RHINELANDER - It won't be much longer before the Hodag water show gears up for the summer, but right now they need to make repairs to their building. Rod Olson says it may cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to make repairs to the building. To watch the video click on the video link.

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Board speeds up start of short-term loan program Submitted: 04/24/2014

MADISON - The start of a new short-term loan program that wasn't slated to begin until July has been moved up in an effort to help businesses hurt by recent cutbacks at Oshkosh Corp.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state's chief jobs agency, voted this week to start the pilot program earlier. It will provide loans or loan guarantees of up to $250,000 to companies for projects or expenses that may not be eligible for traditional financing.

The board says it was starting the program earlier in light of news that Oshkosh was cutting 760 jobs from its defense division because of budget cuts being made by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The loan program this year will only target businesses in Oshkosh Corp.'s supply chain

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Couple facing charges for keeping and selling prescription drugsSubmitted: 04/24/2014

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - A married couple from Lac Du Flambeau face a total of nine charges in connection to keeping and selling prescription drugs.

They could spend more than 30 years in federal prison if convicted of maximum sentences, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Charlie Sunn Meshigaud, 25, and Andrew Meshigaud, 28, face charges in federal court.

Police believe the two kept and planned on selling Oxycodone between January and June 2013.

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