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Gov. Walker surveys northwestern Wisconsin wildfire damageSubmitted: 05/16/2013
Story By CNN


DOUGLAS COUNTY - We spent the last few nights taking in the sheer destruction a massive wildfire in Northwestern Wisconsin created.

Thursday, Governor Scott Walker got a first-hand look at the damage caused by a massive wildfire.

The governor and local officials toured the damaged areas in Douglas and Bayfield counties by helicopter.

The fire scorched some 9,000 acres and destroyed 47 buildings, including at least 17 homes.

But the governor made sure to point out the number of buildings saved.

"Seventy-seven structures were saved," Walker said. "Seventy-seven structures. When you look at this from an aerial shot, when you look at the map it is phenomenal particularly when you see the ashes literally yards away from homes and properties and you realize it was the fire service there making sure and it was the DNR crews making sure that those properties were protected, it's just phenomenal."

The fire is completely out as of Thursday night.

The DNR says this is the largest fire in northern Wisconsin in 33 years.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials have pushed back the release of updates to their chronic wasting disease plan to this spring.

The DNR has a 15-year plan that expires in 2025. It calls for reducing local herds in isolated areas of infection that appear far from known disease clusters but centers largely on monitoring. The DNR's board ordered a review of the plan by this December amid concerns the disease has been spreading.

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ANTIGO - The rain this summer put a damper on some people's outdoor plans, but it was great for potato farmers.

The rainfall made this one of best growing seasons in Wisconsin's history, but now that rainfall is delaying harvesting.

Potato growers can't dig up potatoes when they're wet because they won't store well.

But if they wait too long growers run the risk of the crops getting damaged by frost.

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NORTHWOODS - The high-dosage flu shot for people 65 and older is stronger than the regular one, but holding off for a couple weeks could help keep you flu free for even longer.

The CDC says all ages should get the flu shot as soon as possible, and many pharmacy chains have started pushing shots in the late summer.
But some health professionals think waiting a couple weeks might pay off.

"Why they advertise it so early doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It takes two weeks for it to kick in, and flu season lasts six months. So if you do get vaccinated too early you do run the risk of being prepared for the early part of flu season, but you may not be covered then through the end of flu season," said St. Germain Health Mart pharmacist Jennifer Hansen.


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APPLETON - Tuition and debt have jumped at Wisconsin's technical colleges, which are supposed to provide a more affordable option for career training than four-year universities or for-profit schools.

The Post-Crescent reports that U.S. Department of Education figures show many tech school students are facing bigger financial challenges than a few years ago.

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RHINELANDER -
Hockey players in Rhinelander will see some big changes. 

After getting a large anonymous donation, the Rhinelander Ice Association will get a new training area, weight room, locker room, and more. 

Since work began in August, framing for the building has gone up and dry wall will be put in next week.

"Just the whole project is really exciting and really going to come together and improve Rhinelander, and improve athletics in Rhinelander," said Rhinelander Ice Association Rink Manager Brett Aylesworth. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Highway workers do a dangerous job, working alongside traffic with very little protection.  A new state law could make their jobs a little safer.

A handheld cellphone ban for work zones starts statewide Saturday.  Drivers will not be allowed to make or answer phone calls while in work zones unless they use Bluetooth or some sort of earpiece.

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STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point police want your help finding suspects in two possible stabbings.  The stabbings happened early Friday morning and early Sunday morning near downtown Stevens Point.

Friday, four young men got into a fight on Main Street. One man said he was stabbed in the chest.  Police say the suspect is a black man in his mid-20s, about 5' 9" tall, with a muscular build and short hair.  The victim was treated at the hospital and released.

Sunday morning, police responded to an incident at 2nd Street and Crosby Avenue. Witnesses heard glass breaking and people yelling about a stabbing.  Police don't have a victim or suspect description in that case, but they don't believe the two stabbings are connected.

If you have any information about the stabbings, call Detective Sgt. Gruber at 715-346-1518.

You can also call Portage County Crimestoppers to remain anonymous at 888-346-6600.

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