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Statewide tornado drillSubmitted: 04/24/2014
Story By Matt Brooks


RHINELANDER - There was no severe weather Thursday, but sirens across the Northwoods were blaring at about 1:45 pm on Thursday.

That's because the National Weather Service held a statewide tornado drill.

It was part of their severe weather awareness week, and Oneida County took part in the drill.

"The sirens are only set off for warnings, in the city of Rhinelander, it's only going to be a Severe Thunderstorm Warning that is affecting the city area," said Oneida County Emergency Management Director Ken Kortenhof. "It's also going to be set off for a Tornado Warning affecting the area."

The National Weather Service issues Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and Tornado Warnings.

Oneida County Emergency Management has a direct line to the National Weather Service.

If they get either warning, they sound the sirens in Rhinelander.

"There's actually three different locations that the sirens are located. In addition to that, the town of pelican has one at Nicolet College," said Kortenhof. "The Nicolet College siren works off of the city siren, so the criteria is the same as far as being activated."

The towns of Minocqua, Hazelhurst, and Woodruff will sound off the sirens only for Tornado Warnings or sighted funnel clouds or tornadoes.

The sirens in Rhinelander are tested every Wesdnesday at 9:00 am between April 1st and October 31st.




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 IN OTHER NEWS

WAUSAU - In less than two weeks, Wisconsin voters will head to the polls to vote in the state's primary.

That's why former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) is encouraging people to vote on August 9th.

He faces another democratic senate candidate Scott Harbach from Kenosha.

"I wouldn't say I'm nervous but I take nothing for granted," Feingold said at a Wausau event on Wednesday. 
"You should never take an election for granted and that's why we're working very hard at traveling all over the state this week to help people take advantage of early voting and if not to make sure they get out to vote on August 9th." 

If Feingold wins the election, he faces incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) in November.

A recent Marquette University Law School poll shows Feingold leading. The link is posted below.

But Feingold said he doesn't want to get too hung up on the numbers.

"I don't want to get really serious about polling, that isn't the way that I've ever conducted myself," Feingold said. "What I do is go out to listen to people and find out directly not through polling what people are thinking and how they're feeling."

A third candidate named Phillip Anderson is also running for the same senate seat. He is a libertarian from Fitchburg.

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MADISON - House Speaker Paul Ryan won't be joining Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence at a Wisconsin rally.

Pence is slated to campaign Wednesday night in Ryan's home state. The rally in Waukesha is about 60 miles from Ryan's home in Janesville.

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MADISON - Unemployment is down in nearly all Wisconsin cities and counties.

The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates decreased or remained the same in 29 of the state's 32 largest cities in June. The rates also went down or remained the same in all but four counties.

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FLORENCE COUNTY - Driving through the Northwoods, you can see plenty of deer, cows, and horses… But bison? That's a little rarer.

Unless you travel to a ranch in Florence County, where the Rock family thinks they've tapped into a special and healthy food source.

Raising bison has always seemed normal to Michael Rock. His favorite is Badaxe, who is 25 years old.
"He became my baby and I feed him maple syrup and apples all the time, that's his favorite treat," said Michael.

But the Rock family knows their livestock are rare for these parts.

"We got into it for the health issues because now we know what we're eating," said David.
David started the business about 10 years ago. These days, the Rocks have around 130 bison on their Florence County ranch.

"For me this is enjoyment because I'm outside and I'm with my family. And I like to be outside and work with them on that," said David.

Two of the Rocks' four children live and work on the ranch.

"Being able to tell them what to do. I'm still the dad, so I rule the roost. They are a big help and they do have good ideas. You do have to watch the younger generation," said David.

Their daughter, Josie, and son, Michael, help with feeding and maintaining the herd.

"My favorite are the babies. The babies when they're younger, they like fighting and playing. And they'll just be running around and playing," said Josie.

But raising these animals isn't just about entertainment. In the 1800's, bison were almost killed off. Now, the Rocks hope to promote the animal's health benefits be carefully managing which ones go to be processed.

"Bison is about the only other meat out there that they can eat. It's healthier than chicken, it's healthier than salmon, pig, beef, anything. It's the top of the line," said Karen.

Raising an animal is a large project, one that Michael would like to do for a long time.

"I like bailing hay with the tractors, I like taking care of the animals. I have a future goal, to have big barns full of them," said Michael.

All of their meat is sent to the U. P. to a USDA approved facility and most of it stays local to the Midwest.

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MADISON - Democratic Senate candidate Russ Feingold tells The Associated Press that Donald Trump's latest comments show he is "an enormous threat to national security."

Feingold spoke Wednesday about Trump's comments urging Russia to find thousands of emails missing from Hillary Clinton's private computer server.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - You could find hard on display in Lac du Flambeau Wednesday. Children saw their picnic table creation installed in the area.

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RHINELANDER - This year seems to be off to a good start for the housing market here in Wisconsin.

A new report shows the first half of 2016 was the strongest since before the Great Recession of 2008.

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