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NEWS STORIES

Wildfire Season Quickly Approaching the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 05/02/2013
Story By Kailey Burton


STATEWIDE - Although it's fairly damp in much of the Northwoods now , that could change quickly. When the snow is gone, last year's leaves will dry out fast, and make the perfect fuel for forest fires.

"Generally spring is our most dangerous fire season because all the dead and dry vegetation, and that's typically time of year that we have the least amount of humidity," said John Gillen a Forest Ranger with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Recources.

We've all seen the signs with Smokey the Bear alongside the road. Now is the time to follow his warning. Just one warm, windy day can push conditions from a low fire threat, to moderate or high. That makes it even more important to follow the rules before lighting a fire.

"Now that we've lost our snow cover, folks need to obtain a burning permit anytime that they wish to burn yard waste, such as leaves, needles, brush piles, those types of things," said Gillen.

Wind, humidity, temperature, and the timing of the last rainfall are the biggest factors in a wildfire. Gillen says to take extra care with long-burning fires, like wood boilers. They can take DAYS to completely die out, he says be especially careful with those ashes.


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ANTIGO - A fire left some minor damage to a business in Antigo earlier today.

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MADISON - Concerns about treatment of veterans at Wisconsin's largest veterans home will be investigated.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People die from heroin overdoses every day throughout the U.S., and it's a problem we see here in the Northwoods as well. 

That's why Lac Du Flambeau hosted it's first Overdose Awareness Day to help people learn more about drug addiction.

"Having lost my sister last year, and other families that lost loved ones like that, an awareness and education needs to be done in Indian Communities," said organizer Jeanne Wolfe. 
 
A special agent gave a presentation about heroin.

Afterwards the people at the event could talk about ways to prevent drug use in the community.

The event was also a way to deal with grief.

"Nothing has really been done to recognize or talk about our sorrow and the loss a person goes through when somebody dies unexpectedly like that," Wolfe said. 

Wolfe hopes to host the event again next year.


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MOSINEE - The Marathon County Sheriff's Office says a 60-year-old Marathon County man died Tuesday night after trying to push a pontoon boat off a sand bar in the Wisconsin River.

The victim was identified as James A. Bohn of the Town of Knowlton.




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RHINELANDER - It all started with an idea.

 After visiting a church in Whitewater, Rhinelander's Barbra Thompson came back with an idea for her own community.

Thompson realized her community was missing something. 

The Table event started providing free meals to the people of Rhinelander 20 years ago. 

"A great, great opportunity to serve those in need, and I think our community in Rhinelander appreciates it," said a volunteer from St. Mary's Hospital.

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RHINELANDER - Trig's Smokehouse in Rhinelander hired 15 new employees to start a second shift. Supervisor Geremiah Young remembers the early days of Trig's Smokehouse. He's worked there since 2009 which was before the plant on Stevens Street was even built.

"We had one little stuffer and now we've got two lines going and looking to possibly get more," said Young.

That demand for more was enough to add a second shift and 15 new jobs at the Smokehouse.

"We're fairly excited about for this second shift. It means a lot more of our product is getting out to the world and we're very excited for that," said Young.

Getting out tons of new product may be more accurate.

"We're doing about 4,000 pounds of just bratwurst and with the first shift, they were doing about 3,000 pounds of sticks. Throughout both shifts I know we can do a maximum of that and right now we're going through quite a bit," said Young.

The day shift goes from 6am-2:30pm when the second shift comes in and takes over right away, making the shift change relatively smooth.

"We've got one person coming in and one person steps out. We exchange what we were doing for the day, what products were ran during the day and we continue on from there," said Young.

With the 15 new night time employees, training can be a challenge. 

"Training… it's going… it's like anybody else, you come off the street and this is a whole different ballgame from what they're used to," said Young.

In addition to the 15 hired employees, the Smokehouse is still looking for about six more.

"It's a fun, fast-paced environment. If you think you've got it, come on in. But be prepared for the cold."

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TOMAHAWK - It doesn't look like the candidates for northern Wisconsin's seat in Congress can agree on a debate schedule just yet. 

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Weston) said earlier this week he wants two debates, one in Superior and one in Wausau.

But that's apparently not enough for his democratic challenger. Mary Hoeft said she wants six debates.
Originally Hoeft said she wanted a debate in all 26 counties in the district.

"But people said to me, Mary, when you make this request to the Duffy campaign, make it reasonable," Hoeft said. "So alright I went in my head from 26 down to six." 

Hoeft said more debates would help voters make a more informed decision when they go to the polls. 

"But I'm happier than if he had said zero," Hoeft said. "But I'm not going to stop, though. I'm going to ask the people of the 7th Congressional District, if you want more forums, make sure that your voice is heard."

Hoeft hosted a meet and greet in Tomahawk Wednesday morning. She addressed a group of about 20 people. 

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