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.
TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.
The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.
The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.
Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.
Several Tomah VA officials — including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan — have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.
APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.
The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.
The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.
Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."
WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.
Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.
A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.
MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.
Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.
The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.
RHINELANDER - People deposited more than just money at a Rhinelander bank Friday morning. A blood drive at People's State Bank allowed donors to double down on what they gave.
Nurses from the Community Blood Center took donations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the "Give a Pint, Give a Pound" blood drive. For every pint donated, the Blood Center will give a pound of food to the Lakeland Food Pantry.
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