LAONA - What should the rules be for wolf hunting in Wisconsin?
How can we deal with phosphorous runoff in state rivers?
Should we should be able to hunt in state parks?
Those are some of the big questions Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board deals with.
Now, a longtime scientist from a small Northwoods community will join the decision-makers.
Laona isn't typically a hotbed of state leaders.
But on Tuesday, Laona native Gary Zimmer joined a group with real power to shape how we interact with nature in our state.
All 33 state senators voted to confirm Zimmer to his new post on the seven-member Natural Resources Board.
His perspective should be a valuable addition to the group.
"Our Natural Resources Board is made up of a number of different individuals. I'm one of the few that has a scientific background on the board. There's folks with real estate or farming backgrounds, just a wide range of backgrounds, and that's really important to making good decisions out there," he says.
Zimmer has worked in Laona for the Ruffed Grouse Society for the last 13 years.
Before that, he spent 18 years with the U.S. Forest Service in the Northwoods.
He plans to make the interaction between forestry and wildlife management a focus of his as a new member of the board.
"The state forests, the county forests, and the state wildlife management areas are all forests that are certified. That shows the well-managed sustained-yield forests that we do have. Those forests are very, very important for wildlife management," he says.
Zimmer will sit down for his first meeting as an official board member two weeks from Tuesday.
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.
VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.
The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
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