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.
Wisconsin court to decide on testing drunk drivers
MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to decide whether police can legally draw suspected drunken drivers' blood without a warrant or driver consent.
The court said it would hear three drunken driving cases, two of which involved a homicide. That announcement came nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a Missouri case that could call into question Wisconsin's law.
Wisconsin since 1993 has granted police authority to draw drunken driving suspects' blood without a warrant or consent.
About 5,000 people refused to comply with police tests in 2011 and 2012.
The eventual rulings in the three cases are expected to clarify how law enforcement can gather evidence in some Wisconsin drunken driving cases.
MADISON - A federal appeals court has upheld Republican Gov. Scott Walker's public union restrictions.
The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and equal protection.
U.S. District Judge William Conley found the restrictions constitutional in September. A three-judge appeals panel affirmed Conley's ruling Friday, saying the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the state to maintain policies that allow certain associations to thrive.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen calls the ruling ``a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.''
An attorney for the unions tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needs to talk to his clients before deciding whether to appeal.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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