CONOVER - Frozen lakes might make Saturday a fishing opener by name only, with most water inaccessable.
That's discouraging for Northwoods anglers, but could be even worse for those who rely on southern visitors.
People around Eagle River know him simply as Yukon Jack.
The fishing guide has been around the area for a long time.
But he can't remember too many times when lakes have had solid ice into May.
That could bite into the business of Yukon and other guides.
"Well, I had a couple of calls for opening day, and I said, bring your ice fishing gear, because we aren't going to get a boat in, and they put it off for two weeks," he says.
Yukon says the second week in May is when fishing starts getting popular for his customers.
But even that's no sure thing.
"I talked to one of the guides, and he's got a customer that booked him for five days starting on Monday after the opener, and he's a little bit frustrated, because he's not sure he's going to be able to get his boat in the water," he says.
Even with the late thaw, Yukon doesn't think the fishing patterns will be impacted much once the ice melts.
WHITEWATER - Wisconsin has made the Peace Corps' Top 10 list for number of volunteers per capita.
Peace Corps volunteers spend two years working in a developing country. Tasks might include teaching English, digging wells and tending gardens.
According to rankings released Wednesday, for every 100,000 Wisconsin residents, 3.7 join the Peace Corps. That's ninth best in the nation, just behind Minnesota (3.8). Vermont is No. 1 at 7.8 volunteers per 100,000 residents.
Many of Wisconsin's volunteers come from the Whitewater area, which was ranked No. 10 in metro areas per capita.
President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. More than 215,000 Americans have served in 139 countries worldwide.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker's administration plans to schedule round table discussions around Wisconsin for people to discuss the state's tax code and propose changes.
Walker says he wants to lower the overall tax burden every year he is in office. The round tables are to discuss the state's tax structure, not any specific proposal.
Walker and the Republican Legislature this year passed a $650 million income tax cut and a $100 million property tax reduction.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Revenue Department Secretary Rick Chandler hosted the first tax reform round table discussion on Monday at Beloit College. Walker says more will be announced in coming weeks.
MADISON - Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature are calling on Republicans to hold a public hearing on a bill to increase the minimum wage.
Twenty six Democrats, including possible gubernatorial candidate Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, sent a letter Tuesday requesting the hearing.
The bill was introduced in January. It would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $7.60 an hour and then have it go up automatically based on inflation.
The request for a hearing comes as President Barack Obama and Democrats nationally have been calling for an increase in the minimum wage.
Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman says he doesn't support the bill, saying a higher minimum wage won't help his goal of finding more entry level jobs for teenagers. Grothman chairs the Judiciary and Labor Committee.
EAGLE RIVER - A Northwoods middle school started a fundraising competition Monday that will help raise money for the Frederick Place in Rhinelander.
Grades six through eight at Northland Pines Middle School in Eagle River will compete to raise the most money.
Students donate a dollar to buy a brick. The goal is to get the most bricks on the tape framed house on the wall in the school's cafeteria.
Eighth grader Zach Neddo helped put the project together.
"It feels better knowing that we're helping homeless people get a home so that we know exactly where its going," Neddo said. "Its not like your just mailing it off somewhere not knowing what it's being used for."
Other students like the Student Council President Sophie Spiess hope the competition encourages others to help with homelessness in the area.
"It really does make kids realize that homelessness is a part of our community, that we do need to take action and help people out," Spiess said.
Neddo says the donations have increased since the competition started Monday. He hopes more students begin to donate.
"It's going good right now, I just hope more kids get involved because if you look at all of the bricks with the names on them, a lot of names keep repeating, so I just hope more kids get involved and help support homeless people," Neddo said.
The competition runs through Friday. You can contact the Northland Pines Middle School to donate or help.
RHINELANDER - The antler-less deer hunt season opens Thursday.
Local legislators wanted to cancel the four day hunting season, but the DNR says that can't happen.
It would take at least six months to get through the administrative process to cancel any hunting season.
The DNR wants hunters to have a chance to hunt game before the season ends.
Jeremy Holtz is a DNR wildlife biologist in Rhinelander.
"The December antler-less hunt would simply be giving hunters who didn't get to hunt the first weekend--because they had to work, or they were in another part of the state--to fill a tag they already have," said Holtz. "So the odds of it having a significantly negative impact on the herd from a population management standpoint, I would consider them pretty low."
Republicans Tom Tiffany, Rob Swearingen, and Mary Czaja disagree. They say last year's late winter and high number of predators hurt the deer.
Now, legislators believe this year's early winter weather will continue to hurt the herd.
"My office in Madison, Representative Mary Czaja from Tomahawk, and certainly Senator Tiffany, have been receiving a lot of comments from frustrated sportsman regarding the low harvest of the deer season this year," said Rob Swearingen, Wisconsin State Representative. "As well as with the natural predators out there, and the early on set of icy conditions, we're worried that all of this together is going to create the perfect storm and take it's toll on these deer."
In August, two deer management units over-issued about 350 antler-less deer permits.
The DNR says it got about 254 of those permits back.
Last year in Oneida County, 74 deer were shot during the antler-less deer season.
Antler-less deer hunting is open from December 12 through December 15.
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