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NEWS STORIES

Leaves have started to change colors but it's not because of the weatherSubmitted: 08/16/2013

Melissa Constanzer
Morning Meteorologist/Reporter
mconstanzer@wjfw.com


ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Look around you and you may notice signs of autumn. We're already starting to see leaves changing colors but experts say this is nothing new for August.

Summer has been on the chilly side of normal. But that is not the cause of some trees in the Northwoods starting to show color.

"What makes them turn is primarily triggered by the day length. As the days get shorter, that's what makes start turning, getting ready for winter," says Jerry Van Cleve, U.S. Forest Service Silviculturist.

There are also other factors that lead to leaves changing. Some may have diseases that can contribute early change.

"The ones that I notice, just the loners that turn early. Usually those tend to red maple. But yeah, you'll see any tree that's under stress will kind of go to yellow whether it's an Aspen, or a Birch, or an Elm," says Jerry Van Cleve.

But give the healthy trees a month or so and they'll be ready to change too. And this year's fall season should be a brightly colored one.

"I think it's going to be a good year, you know, we got some of the ingredients in place. We got a nice wet spring and the summer hasn't been exceedingly hot or dry," said Jerry Van Cleve.

So as long as we get some nice days with above freezing nights, we'll see a lot of vivid colors this fall.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Local kids help protect batsSubmitted: 04/27/2015

RHINELANDER - Seventh graders in Rhinelander will help protect bats this summer. That's thanks to help from the U.S. Forest Service.

Kids in Rhinelander Monday learned about endangered bats across Wisconsin on Monday. A bat expert with Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest showed the importance of keeping bats healthy. The students helped local scientists by building new homes for the bats.

"Ms. Swaney showed us a presentation about the bats with a speaker and now we're building them," said 7th grader Jackie Wells.

"They have predators and it will kind of keep them safe in their little bat homes," said 7th Grader Connor Lund.

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ANTIGO - Dealing with allergic reactions to bee stings can be one of the biggest health threats to students.

"If we were seeing a reaction, for example a tingling of the mouth, swelling of the throat, a visual that a student might give us if they are unable to breath at that time, we would immediately administer an EpiPen," Director of Pupil Services Unified School District of Antigo Karen Baker.

Teachers watch carefully for possible allergic reactions, especially at recess and on field trips.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many people enjoy freshly roasted coffee. But, the process to roast those coffee beans can be a science.

"We start with green coffee. It comes in 130 to 155 pound sacks of coffee," said owner of Eagle River Roasters Dan Beihoff.

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MERRILL - The Community Warming Center in Merrill finished up its first winter season a few weeks ago. The center provides a place to stay for people in need from November through April.

The guest's ages ranged from 22 to 45 years old. The center is run through the Merrill United Way. The Warming Center's director said its first year went much better than expected.

"It's kind of like building the field of dreams and not knowing if anyone will come to play, or to stay in our case," said Merrill United Way Executive Director Dee Olsen. "But what ended up happening was the community was responsive and we ended up with 11 guests throughout the season with 90 user nights."

The center is already preparing for the next season. They have new blankets and pillows ready for their next year.

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RHINELANDER - Fields of an invasive plant called phragmites stand all along Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shore. Invasive species workers hope most of the plants stay away from the Northwoods.

Workers chopped down a stand of phragmites on Monday. It stood on Highway 8 just west of Rhinelander. It had been chemically treated in the fall. Hopefully, that will help control the spread of the species.

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RHINELANDER - Last year, a valve malfunction in eastern Wisconsin sent natural gas leaking into the air. A similar situation in the Northwoods could cut off gas supply to a whole city and be dangerous to people in the nearby area.

Wisconsin Public Service wants to be ready in case something like that happens. A natural gas station near the intersection of Highways 8 and 47 provides natural gas to most of Rhinelander. Workers rushed there on Monday, simulating their response to a leak.

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WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court is struggling over when jail officials should be held accountable for using excessive force against inmates who are accused _ but not yet convicted _ of crimes.

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