MANITOWISH WATERS - Throughout the Northwoods you can find many small environments among the thick trees.
But one large expanse of land you wouldn't expect to find among the forest has an uncertain future. A future that you can even play a part in.
DNR Wildlife Biologist Michele Woodford recalls one of her experiences at the marsh.
"This whole area was open and there were literally thousands of ducks. We had a thousand blue wing tails, a thousand green wing tails, and pin tails, and horned grebes that came up and are pretty rare to the area. It was just amazing the number of birds that were flying. It's a bird watchers heaven."
It's called the Powell Marsh in Manitowish Waters. Where the forest seems to magnificently open up to a vast wetland, home to all sorts of wildlife and recreational activity.
"We think of Northern Wisconsin as being mostly forested," says Woodford. "But there was a time when loggers came and cut most of Northern Wisconsin. So there was a lot of open areas and because of all of the burning that occurred in this area, this area stayed open, to this semi-marsh that it is."
The DNR has been regulating this land since, roughly, the 1950s.
You can do many things on the land like pick berries, hunt, trap, and bird watch to name a few.
But developing a master plan for land regulation with all of these activities in mind can be difficult, says Woodford.
"We want to protect species of greatest conservation need and enhance their habitats whenever possible. One of the other things we want to do is to maintain and enhance hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and other compatible recreation activities and public access within the property."
They want you to help them decide which direction the marsh's future will take.
A meeting on August 24th will lay out a few scenarios for how the land will be managed. Your input could help shape its future for the next 15years. More information can be found at the link below.
ST. GERMAIN - We all love our favorite sports teams. But what would happen if you had to dress up in your rival's gear? That's exactly what happened to Bears fan, Jerry Healy.
He's the janitor at St. Germain Elementary School. Healy challenged the students to raise over $700 for charity. If they did he'd wear the green and gold.
“Mr Healy you're unbelievable thank you for doing this,” says Jerry Healy, St. Germain Elementary School Janitor. “One kid said, "all this is disgusting Mr. Healy,” and another little kid who's a diehard Packers fan came up he came up and he's got an orange and blue pair of pants on and goes I'm a bears fan, today you're a packer fan, and that was pretty cool he's in second grade.”
As you can see the students surpassed the goal. The money went to pennies for patients. It’s an organization that supports people diagnosed with leukemia. The challenge brought the whole school together.
“Well I think they rose to the occasion they understood they're helping others in an easy but fun way. They came together as a class, as a whole school and just had a lot of fun with it,” says Jeff Waltz, a third grade teacher at St. Germain Elementary School.
This wasn't the first time Jerry got to dress up as a Packers fan. He did the same thing a few years ago when students accomplished a reading goal.
VILAS COUNTY - More people today use maps on their phones when traveling, but some people still like those paper maps.
The Vilas County GIS just made 15 maps of the area. They give people the option to download and print them at home. A map of Boulder Junction even won an award at the 27th annual Wisconsin land Information Association conference in Middleton.
“There was a lot of interest in creating a portable, easy to use map atlas that responders, town crew, delivery entities, could take out in the field with them and find any address point any road name any water body,” says Rebecca Nordine, Vilas County GIS Specialist. “Something that they could bring out along out in the field with them.”
The atlases will give people an easier way of looking up addresses across Vilas County.
“We do offer up online mapping and that's great but if you get into an area where there's no cell phone or no internet service you'll need something a map or paper map to fall back on,” says Nordine.
Each atlas will be updated at the beginning of the year.
To download a copy of the atlases for FREE you can visit: http://vcgis.co.vilas.wi.us/vcom/.
RHINELANDER - Wisconsin will get a new state attorney general this election year.That could mean new changes for the department.
But many of the candidates agree that more needs to be done to deal with heroin in Wisconsin.
Police and prosecutors say the drug continues to spread throughout the state. Republican candidate Brad Schimel, Waukesha County district attorney, believes heroin and opiates are one of the state’s biggest challenge.
"We're seeing more people die from accidental drug overdoses than we're seeing in car crashes," Schimel said. "That is a dangerous statistic for us to be looking at."
According to a Gannet Wisconsin Investigative study, at least 199 people died in 2012 in Wisconsin from drug overdoses.
The legislature has passed several bills this session to fight heroin and help people who are addicted to the drug.
State Rep. Jon Richards-(D) Milwaukee, is one of three Democratic candidates running for attorney general. He believes the state needs to keep going after drug traffickers.
"Local prosecutors and law enforcement are already stretched to the max in terms of their man power," Richards said. "We have to be addressing these new problems of public safety in creative ways and effective ways."
Democratic candidates Susan Happ and Ismael Ozanne were not available before running this story.
Richards was touring the Northwoods Friday talking to media and district attorneys in the area.
The Democratic primary is set for August 12th. Election day is Nov. 4, 2014.
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