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.
STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients. Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.
Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015. He then moved to Connecticut.
At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments. Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.
SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.
Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.
Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.
Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.
People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.
"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.
"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.
But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.
"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.
Those accusations baffle Thomas.
"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.
Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.
"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.
Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.
"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.
Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.
"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.
Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.
The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.
Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.
MADISON - A suspended University of Wisconsin-Madison student accused of sexually assaulting and harassing nearly a dozen women has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges.
Twenty-year-old Alec Cook faces a total of 21 counts, including strangulation, sexual assault, stalking and false imprisonment involving 10 women dating back to March 2015. Five of the charges are misdemeanors. The rest are felonies.
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