NEWS STORIES

Central Wisconsin Potatoes - From Field to ForkSubmitted: 10/09/2012

PLOVER - The rush to pick the potato crop has hit central Wisconsin.

A rainy day couldn't spoil Tuesday's harvest.

But beyond just digging those spuds, we explore the life of a potato - all the way to your plate.

It's the peak of potato harvest season in central Wisconsin, and Gagas Farms near Stevens Point is in full swing.

"Some of our neighbors are claiming really fantastic yields. Some of our fields were, and others have been kind of average. Quality has been pretty good this year," says Cliff Gagas of Gagas Farms.

Cliff Gagas has been growing potatoes here as long as he can remember.

His farm produces several different varieties.

Today they were harvesting Burbanks, which will eventually go to McCain Foods near Plover.

They'll get there after being sorted, the rocks taken out, and put on one of as many as 60 truckloads in a day.

Those Burbank potatoes from Gagas come to McCain.

"It goes through a washing, a scrubbing, a peeling, then a preheating, which takes the potato to a temperature where it's able to be cut. We then cut the potato into strips, which in turn is French fries, we cook them, fry them, freeze them, and then package them and send them out as a delicious McCain product," says Dan Snyder of McCain.

Those potatoes don't come from just anywhere - it's mostly local.

"We get 70 percent of our raw product from the central sands area, which is about a 30 mile radius from the Plover facility," he says.

After McCain's packages the products, it heads to supermarkets all over the region - and country.

Shopping at the store, you can get anything from hash browns to crinkle cut fries to potato wedges for your table at home.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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DNR prepares for trout stocking Submitted: 04/16/2014

MADISON - MADISON, Wis. (AP) The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is working to stock 316,000 trout across the state ahead of inland fishing season opener next month.

More than 100,000 trout will be stocked in urban fishing waters, small lakes and ponds. The rest will go into waters where the habitat is marginal and there's no natural reproduction.

DNR officials say lingering ice cover on lakes is delaying some of the stocking, but they still expect to get all the fish in the water by the May 3 season opener.

A complete list of water bodies in line for fish is available on the DNR's website.

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Big bucks to expand nutrition, physical education in Wisconsin schools Submitted: 04/16/2014

WISCONSIN - Seven Wisconsin school districts have been awarded a total of $3.2 million in federal grants to help them expand their nutrition and physical-education programs.

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The largest grant is going to the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, which will receive about $850,000. The Mukwonago Area School District and Pittsville School District will each get about $445,000.

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"See Tracks, Think Train" campaign stresses caution near Wisconsin railroadsSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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TOMAHAWK - The number of crashes, injuries, and deaths on Wisconsin railroads shot up last year.

Many more drivers and walkers got hurt or killed with trains than in 2012.

Railroad safety leaders say people run into two major problems around tracks.

Some people are unsafe while at railroad crossings.

Others trespass onto or across tracks, using them as a path or shortcut.

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New Vilas County Board sworn in, already making changesSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Two weeks ago, Vilas County elected its new board.

That included 12 new board members.

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Members voted to bring back the 21 committee structure.

The Vilas County Board voted in October to cut the number of committees from 21 to 9.

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Jaeger will become Minocqua's new police chiefSubmitted: 04/15/2014

MINOCQUA - Lt. David Jaeger will be Minocqua's new police chief.

Minocqua has been operating without an official police chief since last October.

That's when former chief Andy Gee resigned.

Earlier in the fall, the Town of Minocqua had reached a $100,000 settlement with Gee's former administrative assistant, Julie Mager.

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Wisconsin silver alert bill helps save at-risk adults Submitted: 04/15/2014

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WISCONSIN - Six out of ten people with Alzheimers and dementia will wander off at some point.

That puts them at risk for injury or even death. And not all of those people are found quickly enough.

That's why Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill that will help find them quicker.

The Wisconsin Silver Alert bill will create a program that works like an Amber Alert for missing children.

An effective alert system is crucial to the Northwoods because of the growing aging population and severe winter weather.

For advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, the new bill is a huge victory.

"Family caregivers of people who have Alzheimers, or another type of dementia are worried and concerned about whether or not their loved one might wander away from home," said Julie St. Pierre, an outreach specialist for the Alzheimer's Association in Rhinelander. "It's very important that those caregivers out there know that there are important resources that can help keep their loved ones safe in the home. The Silver Alert is certainly now a part of that safety net that we have in place."

The Alzheimer's Association was just one group that worked closely with the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to get this bill passed.

A coordinator for the network believes this system will save lives.

"This bill really advances [us] one step forward in addressing the needs of an aging population. And that's extremely important in the Northwestern part of Wisconsin," said Joe Libowsky, coordinator for the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. "In the Rhinelander area, where you have fairly severe weather, it makes the urgency of getting out the alert as quickly as possible even more important."

The alert system will heavily involve all 500 law enforcement agencies in the state to respond to at-risk adults who are reported missing.

Wisconsin joins 30 other states with a silver alert system.


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Mark Bucki is on trial for the murder of his wife Anita.

She disappeared about a year ago.

Anita Bucki's body was found a few weeks later in a Taylor County swamp.

She had been strangled and stabbed.

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