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Nicolet College Graduate Makes History Submitted: 05/18/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


RHINELANDER - Students around the Northwoods graduated today. One local graduate made history at Nicolet College.

"As a Nicolet Grad, not only will your education enhance you as an individual, but you will enhance the greater good of the Northwoods community as an educated citizen of our democracy," says Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster.

Hundreds of Nicolet College students walked across the stage after accomplishing their goal… earning a college degree. But one student was challenged in a way no other Nicolet graduate has experienced. Jeff Hedberg is legally blind.

"Other people can follow in my foot steps and do exactly what I did. They just need to put one foot in front of the other and believe that there are people out there that will give them a chance and opportunity," says Hedberg.

Jeff's wife Sylvia Hedberg Thomas says it all started a couple of years ago when her husband decided to go back to school. The director of disability service reached out to him to help build a plan that would ensure Jeff reached his goals.

"When Bob told Jeff everything that he would be able to do, Jeff's like 'You really think I can do that?' And I was sitting there going, 'Well yea. Of course you can," says Hedberg Thomas.

Everybody either has or will have a disability to some extent within their lifetime. Technology can and will help most of them get through the challenge of their situation," says Hedberg.

Even though Jeff's tutor Charmaine Jacques helped him out, she says she learned from him as well.

"I learned a little bit of brail from Jeff and I learned a lot about his software that he uses," says Jacques.

This isn't the last stop for Jeff. He plans to get his masters at Stout University.



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A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

Maines said most of the people in Plum Lake don't want ATVs on their town roads. The board found this out from a survey of residents and taxpayers they sent out in 2015, where he said about two-thirds of non-resident property owners and about two-thirds of Plum Lake resident voters voted against allowing ATVs on town roads.

"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

About 6 towns in the eastern part of Vilas County allow ATVs on town roads, but the towns in the western part of the county don't allow them on town roads.

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