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Extended Winter Shortens Cranberry Growing SeasonSubmitted: 05/08/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


MANITOWISH WATERS - The cold April meant you could ski and ice fish longer, and had to keep your winter coat at hand.

But it also could have an impact on northern Wisconsin crops.

Cranberries from the Northwoods might be smaller and not as deep red in color this year.

That size and color difference shouldn't make a difference on how our official state fruit tastes this year.

The expected difference in how they grow is due to the shortened growing season compared to last year.

Cold weather into May this year pushed things back much further than last spring.

"Last year, we were at one extreme, and this year, we're the other extreme. Last year was probably the longest growing season we've ever had. This year, I would predict that it would be closer to what the average growing season would be," says Bob Winter of Vilas Cranberry.

A short growing season often produces berries smaller and lighter in color.

That doesn't change the taste.

But it could change profits for growers.

"You'd probably have to wait a little longer into growing season before you start harvesting to get a little better color. Size is weight, so, the bigger the berries, the more they weigh. You get paid by the hundred pounds, so size is good," Winter says.

Many growers are flooding their bogs right now to help get frost out of the ground faster.

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Police say it might have taken hours to find the man man, but thanks to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office's new drone, it only took about 45 minutes.

According to the Lincoln County Coroner, 76-year-old William Storm drowned to death.

Police got the call around 4 p.m. Wednesday from the family saying Storm had been missing since about 12:30 p.m. that day. He had gone out hunting and returned back to his home to get his waders before going back out to find the deer he had shot.

Ground searchers first found the deer Storm had shot. That's when deputies sent the drone up into the air, and using thermal imaging, were able to find his body in less than an hour. He was found next to Pine River in the woods.

Police could have had to ground search about 120 acres, but the drone helped them whittle that area down to just about a few football fields.

"When they find the deer, if we don't have the UAV it's going to turn into a ground search where they're just going to have to grid the whole area and that could be the whole 120 acres or it could be 2 acres, it could be right away," said Lt. Andy VanderWyst. "You're relying a lot on luck then too."

Police flew the drone about 160 feet in the air, which is high, because they didn't know if tall trees or power lines would get in the way.

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