LAC DU FLAMBEAU - What do auto mechanics, railroad operators, and NASA have in common? They all use an instrument built right here in Northern Wisconsin.
Simpson Electric embodies the heart of the Northwoods, quality, detailed labor, and pride in craftsmanship.
Those principles have served them well since 1934. In 1927 Ray Simpson built a key piece of equipment that allowed Charles Lindbergh to fly solo across the Atlantic. Today they build thousands of electric meters for a variety of clients.
"We sell to every branch of the military, we have NASA, the government orders, so it can go from the everyday user, all the way up into space. Our meters have been on Apollo 13," said Bill Conn, CEO of Simpson Electric.
Almost everything sold by Simpson Electric is made -starting with the tiniest pieces- right here, BY HAND.
From metal parts stamped and assembled on site to hair-fine wires spooled by hand. Each employee carefully checks the product at each stage. That dedication is what they're known for.
"We watch for the quality, we watch for the goodness in the meter before it goes out, and that's what keeps me here, the dedication to the company and the employees… And, it works," said Agnes Jack, Simpson Electric employee.
"I've had men come in and say, 'I dropped my meter 30 feet... What do you think?' And it usually works," said Conn, "So we're very proud of that meter, and we still build and sell about 60 of them every day. That's quality work."
Simpson Electric in Lac du Flambeau welcomes the public to come in for a tour.
RHINELANDER - Nicolet College's Motorcycle Basic Rider Course teaches folks to safely hit the road on their bike.
The class is in full swing for the season.
Nicolet College Rider Coach Mike Murray says even experienced riders can use a "safety brush-up" this time of year.
Riders should always wear their helmet, long pants and shirts, gloves, and boots.
It's also important to keep your eyes moving for critters that come out of the woods,especially deer.
"If you know you're going to hit it: let off your brakes, hit it with your handle bars straight ahead looking straight ahead so that your bike stays straight up," says rider coach Mike Murray.
The course covers the basics about motorcycles and riding techniques.
It's meant to build confidence when you ride, so that you're prepared for emergencies on the road.
"I've been a rider for a long time. When I completed the class, I had to look back and say man there is a lot of stuff I learned here and a lot of things I was doing the wrong way," says program coordinator Mark England.
You have until October to sign up for the Basic Rider Course at Nicolet.
MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is urging Republican senators to reject a Medicaid expansion he turned down but that most states accepted under the health care law passed by former President Barack Obama.
Walker said in a statement Wednesday that there are "no excuses" for Republicans in Congress not to repeal the law and not allow the Medicaid expansion to grow.
MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee jury has acquitted a former police officer of first-degree reckless homicide in the shooting of a black man last year that ignited riots in the city.
Jurors on Wednesday found that Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was justified when he shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith after a brief foot chase following a traffic stop Aug. 23. Smith had a gun when he ran, but prosecutors said Smith had thrown the weapon over a fence and was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown fired the shot that killed him.
Heaggan-Brown's attorneys argued the officer had to act quickly to defend himself. Bodycam footage showed 1.69 seconds passed between a shot that hit Smith in the arm - as he appeared to be tossing his gun - and the one that hit his chest.
ANTIGO - Shaughn Novy figured the perfect place to make a big announcement would be, literally, on her high horse. On a brown horse, Wenesday Novy announced a significant grant to help promote a rodeo dedicated to Antigo's rich equestrian history.
Novy and her family recently opened the non-profit Black Hawk Hill Horse Park in Antigo. It focuses on teambuilding and leadership, using horses to teach those skills.
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