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Scientists offer potato research data and insights at Rhinelander presentationSubmitted: 07/30/2015
Story By Wren Clair

Scientists offer potato research data and insights at Rhinelander presentation
RHINELANDER - A Northern Lights Tour scientist explained Rhinelander's role in potato breeding and genetic studies on Wednesday night.

Every year, about 50,000 varieties of potato are tested to see if they could be commercially sold.

Only about one in a 100,000 will become a named potato variety.


"The Rhinelander agriculture research station on Highway C is really where that process starts," said UW-Madison Assistant Professor of Horticulture Jeffry Endelman."[B]y making the cross pollination, raising those plants for the first time in a greenhouse, and then evaluating them in the fields there for a couple years." 

Potatoes are then evaluated in many other parts of the state until the potato variety, or breeding line, is thought to exhibit commercial potential. Then the breeding line is given to the certified seed potato program. The program's farm is also in Rhinelander.

"The reason why these farms are in Rhinelander is partly because there aren't other potato farms in Rhinelander, and so we want to try and have as isolated of an environment for those early steps in the potato process," said Endelman.

The isolation helps protect the potatoes from viruses. The scientists are part of the Northern Lights Tour, which gives science talks throughout the Northwoods this July.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MINOCQUA -
You can help the Oneida County Dive Team by grabbing your goggles and swim cap Saturday (June 23) morning.

Swimmers will launch from Torpy Park for the Minocqua Island Swim Challenge.

The race is one mile long, but people can choose to swim just 400 meters, too.

The water temperature will be about 65 degrees during the race.

"A lot of people will wear wet suits and be very comfortable. I have seen plenty of people go without and have no trouble," says Laura Fuhrman.

Money raised from the race will go to Oneida County's dive team.

They are first responders to water rescue calls.

"We just got our dark vision gear last year through fundraisers like this. It helps us be more efficient and safe," says Assistant Dive Team Leader, Michael Fraley.

You still have time to register in person Friday night from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Torpy Park.

Click below for more info.

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The Leader-Telegram reports that 94-year-old Max Bergen will receive the medal Friday. The Wisconsin man says he's overwhelmed and stunned by the honor.

Bergen was serving on a bomb squadron when he was shot down over Germany in 1944. He was held prisoner at a camp in Austria for 14 months.

Bergen suffered shoulder and ankle wounds in the crash, but he had no paperwork about the injuries because he was immediately taken prisoner. Such documentation is needed for the medal that honors troops injured in combat.

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State Representative Dana Wachs, of Eau Claire, announced Friday that he is ending his campaign and endorsing Tony Evers.

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HOUGHTON - River Valley Bank will accept donations for flood victims in Houghton and the surrounding area. 

Anyone can make a donation online or in person at a River Valley Bank. 

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RHINELANDER - Ascension St. Mary's Hospital celebrated an incredible milestone June 21.

125 years ago the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother began their work in Rhinelander.

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