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NEWS STORIES

Ginseng Board Strikes $200 Million Deal with Chinese CompanySubmitted: 04/23/2013
Story By Lex Gray


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."

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Hundreds gather to honor slain journalist FoleySubmitted: 08/27/2014

MILWAUKEE - Slain U.S. journalist James Foley is being remembered as a person committed to social justice and as a modest friend who deflected questions about himself.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/VQatzQ ) that Father Fred Zagone, the chaplain for the Marquette University Alumni Association, said at a vigil Tuesday that Foley cited the resonance of the Jesuit resolve he learned there after he was captured for the first time in Libya in 2011. Foley studied at Marquette. Zagone shared that email with more than 300 people at the vigil.

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Leadership Oneida County seeks more applicants before deadlineSubmitted: 08/27/2014

RHINELANDER - Going back to school takes a lot of time and money, but there's another way you can get a step up in your career without stepping in the classroom.

Leadership Oneida County is a nine month course offered to people who strive to be leaders. About 100 graduates of the course come from various backgrounds but have the same reason to take it.

"Go through this course to learn more about their community and learn more about their personal strengths as leaders, and to build their own professional network. The point of the course is to really connect leaders to their community," said Tim Brown, UW-Extension Community Resource Development.

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Man who caused an elementary school to be put on lockdown could have charges dismissed Submitted: 08/27/2014

RHINELANDER - Police think Michael Schettino pointed a handgun at another driver on Highway 51 in May. Police say he then drove through the parking lot of MHLT Elementary school in Minocqua. The school was put on lockdown because of what happened.

Schettino was in court Wednesday. He took a plea agreement. His two misdemeanors could be dismissed if he follows the terms of the agreement for 2 years.

"The state has the option if they have evidence indicating that you have not complied with the terms of the agreement to bring this matter back into court," Judge Michael Bloom told Schettino, "and if they presented evidence to establish that you were not in compliance that I could enter judgment on your pleas without any further proceedings and go immediately to sentencing."

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Snowmobile clubs prepare for the new seasonSubmitted: 08/27/2014

NORTHWOODS - Before the flurries fly, important preparations need to happen for snowmobile trails.

You'll find snowmobile clubs in the Northwoods busy this time of year.

The main focus is cleaning and organizing equipment.

The Minocqua Forest Riders Snowmobile Club operates about 150 miles of trails. Working inside the shop now helps them later on in the season.

"We looked at our shop and we've been doing about the same thing every year," says Club President Curt Christensen. "We never really moved the equipment out or took a real close look at things so we decided to do a major cleaning project this year to get the shop ready."

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Mining company pushes back permit timelineSubmitted: 08/27/2014

MILWAUKEE - Gogebic Taconite will take longer than originally planned to apply for a mining permit in northern Wisconsin.

The company says its application to develop an iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties will be pushed back until at least the fall of next year.

Gogebic had planned to submit an application in the spring of 2015 to develop a 1.5 billion dollar iron ore mine in the Lake Superior region.

A company spokesman says Gogebic won't finish all fieldwork this year and will be forced to conduct additional environmental work next year.

The approaching of fall is prompting Gogebic to wrap up some fieldwork already.

(Copyright 2014 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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Woman who tried to hire someone to kill fiance will spend about three years in prisonSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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WAUSAU - Jessica Strom will spend about three years in prison for offering a man $1,000 and sex to kill her fiance.

The 33 year old Merrill woman was sentenced Tuesday.

"Out of the billions of people that could potentially be partners in life [the] two of you chose the single worst combination," says Circuit Court Judge Neal Nielsen.

Strom's fiance was former Lincoln County district attorney John Schellpfeffer.

The state argued this wasn't the first time Strom and Schellpfeffer had problems.

"In 2009 there was a criminal damage to property complaint, disorderly conduct," says Prosecuting Attorney Ralph Uttke. "Mr. Schellpfeffer called saying Ms. Strom was smashing the window to his house with a hammer and left, she was arrested a short time later."

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Northwoods biologists consider options to increase average size of panfishSubmitted: 08/26/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Fishermen catch about 60 million panfish per year in Wisconsin.

But the size of those panfish has been getting smaller.

Overharvest seems to be part of the problem on many lakes.

Now, the DNR is proposing a way to increase the size of bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed, and perch on several lakes.

Their regulation plan comes from decades of data collection.

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