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NEWS STORIES

Ginseng Board Strikes $200 Million Deal with Chinese CompanySubmitted: 04/23/2013

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EDGAR - You see "Made in China" stickers every time you go to the store.

But soon, Chinese people will be seeing more Wisconsin-grown and made products in their stores.

Governor Walker went on a trade mission to China last week to help generate business in Wisconsin.

"Ginseng in our area is a pretty popular thing because of our soil and climate," said ginseng farmer Joe Heil. "Marathon County is the leading producer of ginseng in the US."


Heil is the president of the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin. He farms corn, soybean and 100 acres of ginseng. Ginseng is highly valued as an herbal medication, especially in Asia.

"It's definitely a bigger challenge. Soybeans, corn, anyone can grow that crop," he said. "Ginseng is a real challenge, there's no books, there's not been a lot of research done as far as how to grow it, because it's such a challenge."

But there's a payoff. Heil's fields are muddy and snow-covered now, but in October, they're worth upwards of $100,000 per acre.

Governor Walker worked out a big ginseng deal with Chinese leaders last week.

He announced growers could export $200 million worth of ginseng over the next ten years. Most of it will come from Marathon County.

"We understand a win-win proposition," Walker said from Beijing. "For us, a strong Chinese economy is just as important to us as a strong American economy in Wisconsin is for the people of China."

Heil hopes Governor Walker's trade mission will help Wisconsin's ginseng industry grow.

"I'm hoping that it's sustainable enough that young people will start getting back into the business or taking over the family farms," he said. "That's one thing we've seen, if we go back about ten years we have 1500 farmers and now we're down to about 140 in the state of Wisconsin just because it's not been profitable."

Story By: Lex Gray

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Police happy with K9's success, raising money for future K9 UnitSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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MERRILL - People who try to hide drugs in their cars don't stand a chance against Eros. He's the Merrill Police Department's new K9.

In the few months that he's been on the job, he's helped officers find a lot of drugs.

Merrill's Police Chief is so happy with Eros' work, he wants to make sure the department will always have a K9 unit. But the costs of getting and training a new K9 are expensive. That's why the Merrill Police Department is already raising money for the future.

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Former Rhinelander teacher faces another charge for stealingSubmitted: 07/29/2014

RHINELANDER - The former Rhinelander High School teacher convicted of having and making THC and stealing from the school district faces another charge for stealing.

Joshua Juergens is charged with a felony for stealing from Ministry St. Mary's in Rhinelander.

According to the criminal complaint, Juergens went to urgent care because his back hurt. Juergen's girlfriend said that he was given painkillers at the hospital. She was in the exam room for part of the exam. Juergens was walking around touching the medical equipment. She told him to stop. After that Juergens told her he had questions for the nurse and told her to leave.

His girlfriend drove him home about a half hour later. When they both got home she said she saw the patient monitor and thermometer in a St. Mary's bag. That's when she brought the equipment back.

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Reconstruction of Hwy 51, Hwy 47 intersection pushed back to 2018Submitted: 07/29/2014

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WOODRUFF - Construction on the intersection of Highway 51 and Highway 47 in Woodruff will be pushed back to 2018. The project was supposed to start in 2017.

That's because DOT supervisors aren't sure how they want to reconstruct the road yet. They're looking at a few different design plans right now.

Project leaders want to make sure they pick the safest option. They also want more community input before they make a decision.

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Three Lakes business enjoying a successful first summer in businessSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods store offering a little bit of everything calls its first summer in business a success so far.

Three Lakes Mercantile and General Store opened up earlier this summer.

Every inch of the store is covered with something.

The store manager says that it's a "one stop shop" for anything you need.

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WPS planning to change ratesSubmitted: 07/29/2014

THE NORTHWOODS - If Wisconsin Public Service gets what it wants, you'll see an increase on one part of your energy bill. But WPS thinks it will be offset by rate reductions for many customers.

WPS puts a $10 fixed monthly charge on residential electric bills. That's true no matter how much power the customer uses. The cost helps cover equipment like meters and wires all customers need.

Right now, some of the cost for equipment gets passed on in per-unit energy charges. WPS wants to raise the fixed cost to $25 per month to better reflect delivery costs.

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Northwoods paddleboard business successful in fourth yearSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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THREE LAKES - The popularity of paddleboarding continues to contribute to the success of a newer Northwoods business.

5 Toes on the Nose Paddleboard Rentals brings paddleboards anywhere in the Northwoods.

We caught up with paddleboard business owner Sarah Weyenberg Tuesday.

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Hand, foot and mouth disease spreading around NorthwoodsSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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NORTHWOODS - A virus that usually affects kids seems to be spreading around the Northwoods.

Pediatricians we spoke with have seen more people with hand, foot and mouth disease come in during the last month.

The symptoms include a fever, mouth sores and a rash on the hands and feet, but the rash can be found on other parts of the body.

The infection is spread through close contact including through saliva, coughing and sneezing.

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