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Sen. Baldwin delivers first Senate floor speechSubmitted: 05/22/2013

Lane Kimble
Managing Editor/Anchor
lkimble@wjfw.com


WASHINGTON, D.C. - We got to see and hear Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin give her first speech on the floor Wednesday morning.

The first-term Senator focused mainly on optimism and bipartisanship during her 11-minute speech.

She spoke on a day when the Senate took up debate on the so-called 2013 Farm Bill.

The bi-partisan effort would help limit the risks many farmers take while saving taxpayers billions. It's the kind of work Baldwin would like to see the Senate do more of.

"Wisconsin's a dairy state and I think about some of the time dairy farmers take some of the biggest risks around and have no guarantee that they'll profit from year to year," Baldwin said. "We need to take some of that risk out and make sure that our farmers are able to manage some of the risks that they face in their industry."

Baldwin's first speech also comes during a week when the executive branch is under high scrutiny.

Both parties are attacking President Obama's administration over wire tapping, the Benghazi terrorist attack and unfair IRS targeting.

Baldwin thinks Congress can help find out who's responsible for all three.

"The legislative branch, the Congress, is holding hearings and is conducting oversight and looking into this and calling it out," Baldwin said. "And so I do think that when committees like one I serve on--the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee--has an investigative branch to it, that's how we're going to make sure that wrongdoers are held to account.

Baldwin also extended her thoughts to the Oklahoma tornado victims.

We reached out to Senator Ron Johnson's office for response. Senator Johnson was unavailable.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

EAGLE RIVER - After a year of revisions, Northland Pines High School will start a new policy in December, drug testing some of its students. 

The school board voted and approved the new policy earlier this week.

For District Administrator Mike Richie, this is a way to stay proactive, helping both parents and students to avoid drug addiction.

"If there is a problem how we can prevent that problem, how can we get students to realize that this problem can only get worse as they get older and continue into the work force," said Richie.

 "I think we're going above and beyond, and I think that we need to help and assist parents this is a problem that exists all over, it's not just a Northern Wisconsin problem." 

To Richie this is a collaborative effort. 

Students will only be put into the pool to be randomly tested if they and their parents both opt into the policy and sign the permission form.

 Forms for parents and students to opt into the policy will be sent out within the next couple of weeks. 

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MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials have pushed back the release of updates to their chronic wasting disease plan to this spring.

The DNR has a 15-year plan that expires in 2025. It calls for reducing local herds in isolated areas of infection that appear far from known disease clusters but centers largely on monitoring. The DNR's board ordered a review of the plan by this December amid concerns the disease has been spreading.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - In the Northwoods, plenty of families sell organic eggs from their small farms. But a new chicken farm near Gleason takes production to a different level. 

Andrew Headings takes care of 25,000 chickens and all of their eggs. With that comes a lot of record keeping.

"Their body weight every day, how much they ate, I can figure that out," said Headings.

Headings started the Headings Family Farm in August. He says he is looking to make the birds even happier this week.

"I'm going to be free range humane certified. I have a big fence out here that fences in about 16 acres. On a nice day, my chickens are going to be allowed to go out and be able to scratch around in this grass and Pasteur," said Headings.

All of his eggs go to Heading's parent farm in Illinois before being sold around the country.

"He's a specialty egg company. We're into organic, non-GMO, omega eggs, double omega, cage free, all of his barns are cage free," said Headings.

There's a good reason you don't see many chicken farms in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

"I didn't look around the country and say 'let's put a barn here because it's ideal', the more ideal would be down south because the cold makes it to where we have to heat so we can't ventilate as much," said Headings.

Even with the cold temperatures, Headings has an eco-friendly plan for heating.

"We have a heater, an 800,000btu heater sitting by the center and we'll have a 10-ton bin sitting there and I'll buy conventional corn, put it in the bin and the stove will burn the corn," said Headings.

That's not the only thing that's eco-friendly on the farm. Headings has tried cutting down on the smell, too.
"The amount of smell we put off in this neighborhood is very minimal. If you get 300 feet away from here, you probably can't smell this thing," said Headings.

You might not smell it, but you sure can appreciate all the hard work.

"Compared to just driving by and saying, 'there's a chicken barn', there's a lot that's involved," said Headings.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - We likely won't see any more severe weather this year. But, during any weather event the National Weather Service relies on a group of volunteers to help keep you safe.

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FLORENCE - In Florence County, more people work in forestry-related jobs than in any other industry.

"It's unbelievable, the way I put it," said logger Jaden Streu. "There are a lot, a lot of jobs and a lot of people that are retiring."

Streu graduated from Florence High School this spring and immediately went to work for his family's business, CTL Timber Harvesting.

Streu was among the presenters at Wednesday's Log-A-Load educational day at Florence.

"I think the big thing is, this industry is changing, from some of the equipment [the students] saw that was working here today. It's highly technical equipment," Florence District Administrator Ben Niehaus said.

"My favorite station was the sawmill," said Florence fourth grader Hannah Holdaway. "I didn't know that they cut it with a machine. I thought they just cut it with a saw."

"I think they leave here with a whole different perspective of, 'Wow, this isn't just a chainsaw and something that looks like a bulldozer that picks wood up and decks it on a log truck. There's a lot more to it,'" Niehaus said.

People like Streu would like to leave a positive impression of the forestry industry on students.

"We hope that they leave [saying], 'This ain't bad. This is a good thing,'" he said.

Hopefully, as Streu sees it, some of these learners will someday become his coworkers in the forest.

"We need the younger generation to come in, like me, to take it over and keep it going," Streu said. "It's a family business and I can have kids, hopefully, and be able to show them and bring them up in it and keep it going generations after generations."

Students from both Florence and Wabeno came to the Log-A-Load day.

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EAGLE RIVER - Highway workers do a dangerous job, working alongside traffic with very little protection.  A new state law could make those jobs a little safer.

A hand-held cellphone ban for work zones starts statewide Saturday.  Drivers cannot make or answer phone calls while in work zones unless they use Bluetooth or some sort of earpiece.

Vilas County Highway Commissioner Nick Scholtes calls the law change a great thing for the state.

"The ones that are on their phones, they seem a little oblivious to what we are doing there at the time," Scholtes said.  "They're going through the motions coming through the work zone but it's actually very scary at the same time because if they needed to stop quickly don't know if they could."

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