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Big Ol' Fish - Jan 30Submitted: 01/30/2014
Story By Joe Dufek

Big Ol' Fish - Jan 30
- Rhinelander's Jeff Koser had quite a day on Chequamegon Bay near Washburn
earlier this month. While fishing under wind chills around -40 degrees below
zero - Jeff landed with 23 inch Brown trout. He was using half-ounce buck-shot
jig. Right now this prize is sitting in the freezer waiting to become supper.

7-year old Evelyn Wirth of St. Germain was on a family fishing trip at an area
lake. using a minnow on a tip-up... Evelyn caught this beautiful 23 inch
northern. It's her first Northern. I'm told Evelyn is excited to have this
prize for dinner.

And 4-year old Keira Riihimaki of Phelps was on Anvil Lake with her dad earlier
this month. When the flag went down, she used every muscle in her tiny body to
pull up this huge Northern - her first one of the season. Dad helped out a
little. After the picture, the fish was released. It's another great
father-daughter moment in the Northwoods.



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MOLE LAKE - You don't find too many people hanging around the Lake George boat launch in mid-January, but Rollie Woltjen wants to see plenty of his workers there all summer long.

"It's so important for us to have those people at the landing," Woltjen said.

The Rhinelander-area lake association president has had a home on Lake George since the late 1980s, but only lately has the fight to stop aquatic invasive species been top of mind.  Woltjen and Scott Campbell work hard to find people to check boats for AIS and keep Lake George clear of eurasian watermilfoil.

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MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin farmers produced smaller corn and soybean crops last year than in 2016, while potato production was up slightly.

The Agriculture Department reports that the state's soybean production was down 6 percent and grain corn production was down 11 percent. Alfalfa hay production was down 19 percent.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Not everyone enjoys the sub-zero temperatures we've seen across the Northwoods recently.

But for ice fishermen, that means better ice conditions.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Cars in ditches and fender benders littered Northwoods roads this weekend.

Icy conditions meant many drivers lost traction.

Tow truck operators have been working around the clock to help people who crashed or spun off the road.
 
"You eat dinner when you can, you don't know how long you're going to be out. I mean us guys can do 12, 18 hour days. It gets a little tough sometimes," said tow truck operator Sean Hobena. 

Hobena got six calls Monday, which he said is mild compared to previous days. He covers areas in Oneida, Vilas, and Price counties. 

He advises drivers to be careful when driving.

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VILAS COUNTY - The Vilas County Safe Ride program completed its first month at the beginning of January. The program started on December 4. 

Vilas County Safe Ride coordinator Dan Ullsperger said the first month went well. 

"Having 15 in the first month I think is very, very successful. We're looking forward to having more in January and February. I think it will just keep growing and growing," said Ullsperger. 

He hopes to have 30 to 40 rides per month in the future. 
 
The Safe Ride program is meant to eliminate drunk drivers from the roads. A bar has to join the Vilas County tavern league. Then it can buy vouchers for the rides to hand out to customers who need a way to get home. 

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ANTIGO - Usually people just throw out Christmas trees after the holiday season. But in Antigo, people burn some of them.

Dozens gathered at Antigo High School on Monday for the Christmas tree burn. It's hosted by the Antigo Optimist Club each year. Organizers say it's a great family event with years of history. 

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MERRILL - One Merrill art teacher spends her weekends painting a giant Bucky the Badger statue inside her classroom.

She was chosen to participate in a free public art event featuring 100 life-size statues of Bucky.

"Right now he's six foot six inches and he weighs about 150 pounds," said Merrill Middle School art teacher Christy Rasmussen.

Rasmussen will help make this Spring's "Bucky on Parade" free public outdoor art event a success.
"It's a tourism draw for people," said Rasmussen.

The parade will consist of 100 giant Buckys hitting the streets of Madison and Dane County this spring all decorated by Wisconsin artists.

"Being an art teacher I thought how fun it would be for my kids to be involved," said Rasmussen.

"I was like what is that," said one of Rasmussen's students, Hailey Nowack.

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