ANTIGO - Fishing has been part of the Northwoods for as long as anyone can remember.
In the 1950’s, fishing took on a new meaning in the area when Todd Sheldon decided to importing Mepps spinners.
Mepps fishing lures are a mainstay in many tackle boxes.
The original Mepps Aglia was rated as one of the top lures of all-time by Field & Stream magazine.
The company still runs a majority of its operations in Antigo – and more than 4,000 different fishing lures get assembled just off Highway 45.
"We assemble, package and ship out all over the world," Long-time Sheldon's/Mepps employee Rosella Spencer said.
"All things considered between sizes, styles, colors, we make about 4,000 different lures," Sales & Marketing Manager Michael Sheldon said.
Michael Sheldon represents the third generation to be part of Sheldon's Incorporated.
"To think that it's made in a town of 8,500 people in Northern Wisconsin," Sheldon said.
"It isn't something we've taken overseas or to a big city."
Sheldon and his dad, also named Michael, run the business that Todd Sheldon kick started in the late 1950's.
"A lot of lures have come and gone in the time we've been in business," Sheldon's/Mepps President Mike Sheldon said.
"One thing about Mepps Spinners is they really haven't changed in the last 50 years. By that I mean the quality available. We still manufacture almost all of our parts ourselves. We do all of the assembly here, that's a rare thing now-a-days."
The original Mepps spinner, or the Aglia, is still manufactured in France, but the newer product lines are done in Antigo.
"Quality is so important," Michael Sheldon said.
"We really want to be able to control that and the best way to do that is right here."
And many employees find their role unique.
"It is very unique in that we're the only place in the United States that makes the Mepps lures," Spencer said.
"That's kind of a neat idea knowing that there's no other place that makes these Mepps lures."
The Antigo operation assembles, paints, packages, and ships all the lures.
And what about that sign you can't miss along Highway 45 - squirrel tails wanted.
Squirrel tails are all hair, whereas other tails are mostly fur - perfect for Mepps lures.
"It gives the lure a larger profile," the younger Sheldon said.
"There is some action with the hairs on the tail when the lures pulled through the water. And for some species of fish they've got a lot better sight and look the lure over more before they strike it and the hair is kind of a way of covering the hook."
Just like so many fish, you could say the employees are, well, hooked. More than half of them have been here more than 25 years.
"I'm often amazed at the pride they have in their work," the elder Sheldon said.
"To think that you may sit and assemble 1,000 lures a day for years and years and you're still attentive enough that you're watching the quality control, making sure the right pieces go on in the right order. We don't have problems with the final product as a result of it."
And the results are hard to argue with.
The company still offers tours if you’re interested.
Although most retailers can’t come close to carrying all Mepps products, you can still order any from the office and get what you want.
RHINELANDER - Wisconsin’s attorney general enforces and defends laws made by the state, but one of Wisconsin’s candidates for the position believes his opponents will only pick and choose.
Right now Republican Candidate Brad Schimel, Waukesha County district attorney, faces three Democrats, Rep. Jon Richards, Susan Happ and Ismael Ozanne. Richards represents a portion of Milwaukee in the State Assymbly. Happ is the Jefferson County District Attorney. Ozanne is the Dane County District Attorney.
Schimel says some of his opponents, especially Richard will only enforce laws they agree with.
"That's problematic and I believe that's not what the attorney general should be doing, that's a crusade, that's a policy maker," Schimel said. "If Rep. Richards wants to do that then he should stay in the legislature."
Richards has been in the Legislature since 1998.
Newswatch 12 asked him Friday if he would pick and choose laws to enforce.
He said he’d look at the constitution to determine how he would enforce laws in Wisconsin.
"I can grantee you there are plenty of laws that I voted against that I will end up enforcing and making sure that we implement," Richards said, "And there are some laws that I think clearly violate the U-S constitution or the state constitution and we'll be taking a hard look at those."
Democratic candidates Susan Happ and Ismael Ozanne were not available before running this story.
Richards was touring the Northwoods Friday talking to media and district attorneys in the area.
The Democratic primary is set for August 12th. Election day is Nov. 4, 2014.
VILAS COUNTY - More people today use maps on their phones when traveling, but some people still like those paper maps.
The Vilas County GIS just made 15 maps of the area. They give people the option to download and print them at home. A map of Boulder Junction even won an award at the 27th annual Wisconsin land Information Association conference in Middleton.
“There was a lot of interest in creating a portable, easy to use map atlas that responders, town crew, delivery entities, could take out in the field with them and find any address point any road name any water body,” says Rebecca Nordine, Vilas County GIS Specialist. “Something that they could bring out along out in the field with them.”
The atlases will give people an easier way of looking up addresses across Vilas County.
“We do offer up online mapping and that's great but if you get into an area where there's no cell phone or no internet service you'll need something a map or paper map to fall back on,” says Nordine.
Each atlas will be updated at the beginning of the year.
To download a copy of the atlases for FREE you can visit: http://vcgis.co.vilas.wi.us/vcom/.
WOODRUFF - The Olympics might be over, but the Paralympics are underway in Sochi. Teachers at one local school are using the Olympic spirit to teach students about other countries.
Students at North Country Montessori celebrated International Day Friday morning. The students learn about different countries throughout the school year.
"The children at Montessori do a huge unit on geography and world culture, and we used today as a way to express the information that we found and things that we've learned," says North Country Montessori director Candice Henderson.
This year's theme was the Sochi Olympics.
Each student dressed up as a different country and sang songs in Russian.
This was the school's 30th annual International Day celebration. It ended with a potluck meal featuring ethnic food from different countries.
ST. GERMAIN - We all love our favorite sports teams. But what would happen if you had to dress up in your rival's gear? That's exactly what happened to Bears fan, Jerry Healy.
He's the janitor at St. Germain Elementary School. Healy challenged the students to raise over $700 for charity. If they did he'd wear the green and gold.
“Mr Healy you're unbelievable thank you for doing this,” says Jerry Healy, St. Germain Elementary School Janitor. “One kid said, "all this is disgusting Mr. Healy,” and another little kid who's a diehard Packers fan came up he came up and he's got an orange and blue pair of pants on and goes I'm a bears fan, today you're a packer fan, and that was pretty cool he's in second grade.”
As you can see the students surpassed the goal. The money went to pennies for patients. It’s an organization that supports people diagnosed with leukemia. The challenge brought the whole school together.
“Well I think they rose to the occasion they understood they're helping others in an easy but fun way. They came together as a class, as a whole school and just had a lot of fun with it,” says Jeff Waltz, a third grade teacher at St. Germain Elementary School.
This wasn't the first time Jerry got to dress up as a Packers fan. He did the same thing a few years ago when students accomplished a reading goal.
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