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NEWS STORIES

Leaves have started to change colors but it's not because of the weatherSubmitted: 08/16/2013

Melissa Constanzer
Morning Meteorologist/Reporter
mconstanzer@wjfw.com

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ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Look around you and you may notice signs of autumn. We're already starting to see leaves changing colors but experts say this is nothing new for August.

Summer has been on the chilly side of normal. But that is not the cause of some trees in the Northwoods starting to show color.

"What makes them turn is primarily triggered by the day length. As the days get shorter, that's what makes start turning, getting ready for winter," says Jerry Van Cleve, U.S. Forest Service Silviculturist.

There are also other factors that lead to leaves changing. Some may have diseases that can contribute early change.

"The ones that I notice, just the loners that turn early. Usually those tend to red maple. But yeah, you'll see any tree that's under stress will kind of go to yellow whether it's an Aspen, or a Birch, or an Elm," says Jerry Van Cleve.

But give the healthy trees a month or so and they'll be ready to change too. And this year's fall season should be a brightly colored one.

"I think it's going to be a good year, you know, we got some of the ingredients in place. We got a nice wet spring and the summer hasn't been exceedingly hot or dry," said Jerry Van Cleve.

So as long as we get some nice days with above freezing nights, we'll see a lot of vivid colors this fall.

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Wisconsin faces $2.2 billion budget shortfall Submitted: 11/21/2014

MADISON - Governor Scott Walker's administration says Wisconsin faces a $2.2 billion budget shortfall by mid-2017, a problem that will have to be tackled by the Republican-controlled Legislature next year as Walker is building his resume for a potential presidential run.

The estimate released Thursday by the state Department of Administration is required under the law. It takes into account spending requests made by state agencies for the next two years.

The figures will be further refined by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.

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Downtown Rhinelander debuts Holiday Open House SaturdaySubmitted: 11/21/2014

RHINELANDER - The opening of the gun deer season often leaves wives and girlfriends at home on their own.

Downtown Rhinelander hopes it can attract many of those women, and maybe even some men, to get started on holiday shopping.

The first-ever Holiday Open House on Saturday will feature sales, special events, and demonstrations at several businesses.

Its timing falls perfectly with the hunting season.

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Wisconsin Chippewa band joins effort to return reservation land to tribal ownershipSubmitted: 11/21/2014

ODANAH - An American Indian band in northern Wisconsin will join an effort to get land on reservations returned to tribal ownership.

The U.S. Interior Department says the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe will join the program.

It's among 21 Indian communities in 12 states that will become part of the land buyback program by 2017.

That brings the number of locations in the program to 42.

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Drs. Foster and Smith founder thinks company will stay in Rhinelander after being sold to PetcoSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - The national pet supply company Petco will buy one of the Northwoods' largest employers.

About 530 people work at Drs. Foster and Smith in Rhinelander.

Drs. Foster and Smith sells pet supplies online.

One of the company's founders doesn't think the company will move.

"I have no reason to believe they're [going to] leave Rhinelander," says Drs. Foster and Smith founder Race Foster. "Marty Smith and I actually talked to many prospective buyers. The one condition we put was it cannot leave Rhinelander at least in the foreseeable future."

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Update: Paper mill death caused by blunt force trauma to headSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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MOSINEE - A 55-year-old man died from blunt force to the head at a Mosinee Paper mill on Monday, according to a statement released Thursday from the Mosinee Police Department.

An autopsy shows that severe trauma to his head and chest injuries contributed to Matthew C. Ament's death.

He was installing insulation on the outside of the Expera Specialty Solutions paper mill on Monday.

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Hundreds of Christmas presents donated through Operation Christmas ChildSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Hundreds of kids in third world countries will get to open a Christmas gift this year. It's all thanks to people who donate a shoebox filled with supplies for kids.

The boxes are part of a world-wide organization called Operation Christmas Child.

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DNR expect fewer donated deer this yearSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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NORTHWOODS - The Wisconsin Deer Donation program needs help from hunters this fall. The program lets hunters donate their deer to help feed those in need. Experts are concerned that the winter weather could cut into the number of deer kills this season. DNR managers think it will be difficult to find and hunt them.

"This year it's looking a little lean, especially in the north," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz. "With this deep snow, it's changed the deer behavior and it's going to change hunter behavior too. So I wouldn't be surprised if we saw that our donations were down this year under the circumstances."

Donating takes three simple steps: you register your kill, field dress the deer, and then you take it to a DNR approved processing center. The venison is then ground-up, frozen, and shipped to local pantries, as well as people in need. One meat market owner and program volunteer feels the impact of fewer deer.

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