NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Works: The Famous Mepps SpinnerSubmitted: 11/15/2012

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.

Related Weblinks:
Mepps Lures

Story By: Matt Doyle

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The ingredients for a harsh winterSubmitted: 04/23/2014

ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - 4.7 might seem like just a random number, but it gives us an idea of just how cold it was this year. 4.7 degrees was the average temperature for this winter. It's the coldest winter in more than a century.

It’s common to see these sights and hear these sounds in a typical winter. But this year, we heard them a bit more. The Northwoods fought through it’s snowiest and coldest winter on record. What made it so rare was the persistent cold.

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Correction: Northwoods man initially charged with attempted homicide, takes plea deal Submitted: 04/23/2014

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - We want to correct a mistake we made in our Newscasts at ten last night and again this morning.

The story was about 31-year old James Peterson of Lac du Flambeau, who accepted a plea deal.

We wrongly said he had originally been charged with first degree intentional homicide.

He actually had been charged with attempted first degree intentional homicide, and was convicted of reduced charges.

We apologize for that error.

Witnesses told police Peterson showed up to a party with a knife and drunkenly started a fight.

Other witnesses say Peterson was attacked.

This week he accepted a plea deal.

Peterson pleaded no contest to hurting someone by carelessly using a weapon.

He was also found guilty of a second O-W-I.

Peterson will find out his sentence in August.

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Home sales on the rise in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.

Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.

“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”

Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.

“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”

Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.

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Kids learn about hospital Submitted: 04/23/2014

MERRILL - Hospitals can sometimes scare kids and even many adults.

That's why one Northwoods hospital wants those kids to be comfortable with doctors if they ever need their help.

Merrill kindergarteners visited Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center on Wednesday.

The kids got to see an ambulance, physical therapy and x rays.

"We try to show them that you know what, the hospital isn't so scary. And we bring them through different areas that they may experience when they come in or they have a family member here. And a lot of times children, if they don't know, they're very afraid. A hospital can be very intimidating, says Jane Bentz, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach.

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Home sales down in Wisconsin for MarchSubmitted: 04/23/2014

MADISON - Home sales in Wisconsin fell 11 percent in March compared to the same period a year ago.

The chilly winter might be part of the reason.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association says the spring selling season got off to a slow start.

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin talking politics at Marquette University Submitted: 04/23/2014

MILWAUKEE - Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is scheduled to talk politics during an hour-long forum at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Baldwin's office says she'll discuss health care reform, immigration, minimum wage and Washington's political divide at Wednesday's event.

The 52-year-old was elected to the Senate in 2012. She previously spent 14 years in Congress, and before that was in the state Assembly for six years.

She serves on the Senate's budget committee, as well as committees involving homeland security, health, aging and natural resources.

A Marquette Law School poll last month said her favorable and unfavorable ratings were both 35 percent. Another 27 percent said they didn't know enough about her to form an opinion.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Raising awareness about alcohol useSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.

“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”

It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.

“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”

In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.

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