TOMAHAWK - A storied history of industry built the Northwoods.
But it was hit hard by a recession in 2008. Now manufacturing is starting to come back.
Factory floors are humming across the Northwoods. Loggers are cutting and managing the forests.Industry looks good.
That’s because Wisconsin ranks fifth in manufacturing growth in the US since 2009, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. But Wisconsin Secretary of Revenue Rick Chandler thinks an improved tax system could help manufacturing break through.
“The feeling is that if manufacturing thrives, every other sector of the economy is going to thrive," Chandler said.
That’s one reason why the state cut income tax by 650 million dollars over the next two years.
“That involves reducing individual income taxes, creating new business with tax incentives and other things that make our tax structure more competitive,” Chandler said.
Chandler hopes that brings more jobs to the state. But he says people might not be qualified for the open positions. That’s where Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation comes in. Executive Director Sarah Kapellusch says they bring Northwoods economic groups, trade schools and employers together.
“This is where the employers can come to the table with the technical colleges up here and create programs," Kapellusch said. "It has been very successful in the past.”
But manufacturing isn’t the only concern here in the Northwoods. Access to broadband is a struggle. And the group knows connectivity could improve education and jobs opportunities.
“We are all working together to get to the resolution of how we get an internet service provider up here to actually get all of us connected,” Kapellusch said.
A connection the Northwoods needs to catch up with the rest of the state economically.
“We’re definitely heading in the right direction and we’re doing everything possible to pick up the pace,” Chandler said.
GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.
Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.
Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.
Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.
Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.
A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.
MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials say they're going to hand out personalized certificates to successful first-time turkey hunters this year.
The Department of Natural Resources says hunters can fill out information about when and where they killed the bird as well as information on its weight and spur length on the agency's website. Hunters also can submit a photo of themselves with their turkeys.
The agency will send the certificates out electronically within a few weeks of receiving the information.
The certificate program will run during both the spring and fall hunts.
NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.
Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.
“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”
It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.
“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”
In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People from all over the Northwoods celebrated Earth Day today. Students at Lac du Flambeau school participated in a natural resources fair today.
Classes, groups and individual students submitted projects to be judged. By doing the projects they learned the importance of Earth Day.
“Polluting could harm the earth and if that harms the earth later on we won't have a better earth to do stuff on like camping, or fishing, hiking and taking walks,” says Sky Risingsun, a Lac du Flambeau student.
35 projects were judged in the science competition. Each student was given a white spruce seed to take home and plant in their own yard.
“It's a white spruce which is a native tree to this area,” says Bryan Hoover, Lac du Flambeau Energy and Air Quality Coordinator. “We've got almost 500 of them and every student is going to take one home so that they can pick a spot in their yard to plant the new tree and watch that tree grow as it matures.”
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