MOLE LAKE - Some members of Wisconsin's Tribes rely on their land for survival. They farm, fish and gather to put food on the table. But it can be difficult for tribes to find funding for large food projects.
That's why the US Department of Agriculture met with Wisconsin tribes Wednesday. Both sides hope to use it to plan programs and address tribal needs.
Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Vice Chair Greg Matson says tribes have some catch up to do with the USDA.
Matson says the USDA programs help them improve their agricultural infrastructure. Funding can be the biggest challenge.
Leslie Wheelock,USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director, says access to funding is the biggest issues for tribes.
"It will always be access to capital," Wheelock said. "Unlike states and counties, tribes don't tax their people they have a tendency to not tax their businesses because the states come in and tax the businesses and if you tax a business too much the business won't come."
The USDA formed a special advisory board in 2011 to ensure Native Americans participate in and benefit their programs.
"It's to get our tribal people up to speed to the point where they know who to go to in the USDA," Wheelock said. "The USDA has to be builder in that relationship because we know what we have to offer."
Some Wisconsin tribal farmers have benefited from programs like USDA start up loans, but some farming isn't considered a practice by the agency.
For example, the tribal wild rice harvest isn't recognized as conventional farming practice. Some Tribe members are working to change that.
MERRILL - Most people enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with family. But the Merrill firefighters spend their Thanksgiving at the station with their second family, their coworkers. Community members stepped in to make sure the firefighters still had a special Thanksgiving while they were working.
It might be Thanksgiving, but for the Merrill Fire Department, it's just another day
But it is a day with more turkey, stuffing, and pies.
"We had a couple of community organizations that dropped off meals for us which we're definitely grateful for," said firefighter and paramedic Bryson Cruise.
The job doesn't stop for firefighters and Thanksgiving is no exception.
So Park City Credit Union and Hands of Hope wanted to thank the firefighters for their service with a home cooked Thanksgiving meal.
PARK FALLS - Many families began their Thanksgiving Day with a run this morning. Topping off the holiday with a "trot" around town may not appeal to everyone, but for these families it was a way to spend time with one another.
"Trot now so we can pie later," said Steph Schultz, a runner in the Park Falls Turkey Trot.
Families used the Turkey Trot 5K in Park Falls as a way to bond.
RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
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