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NEWS STORIES

Could see more walleye in lakes and riversSubmitted: 07/26/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com


WOODRUFF - Some people think more tourists will visit the Northwoods if we plant more walleye in our lakes.

That's now going to happen.

State run fish hatcheries currently produce about 100,000 walleye per year. Those fish go into our lakes and rivers.

Under the DNR Walleye Initiative, by 2016, those hatcheries would produce 500,000 walleye per year.

The Wisconsin DNR announced the plan Friday in front of tours at the Art Oehmcke Fish Hatchery.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp thinks this is the right step forward.

"We're going to be seeing tremendous results with larger fish that are going to stock," Stepp said. "It's really unprecedented and we are very excited."

The plan calls for $8.2 million of infrastructure improvements at hatcheries around the state.

Then, $1.3 million will be given every year for operating costs.

Stepp believes the costs will be recovered through tourism.

"It is really a small investment when you think about what the return is for tourism dollars," Stepp said. "Especially to this part of the state."

The walleye grown at these hatcheries will be six to eight inches long when released.

Officials say the these bigger fish have a better chance of being caught.

That's because they are too large to be eaten by predators.

Art Oehmcke Fish Hatchery will receive $4.1 million for repairs and enhancements.

The facility has not been renovated for two decades.

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MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.

Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


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NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.

They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.


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