RHINELANDER - It can seem like the Northwoods wilderness never ends.
But it's hard to predict exactly what our area will look like hundreds of years from now.
One group is trying to paint a clearer - and more natural - picture.
Roland Rueckert has loved his Oneida County land on the shores of the Pelican River since he bought it.
That was more than five decades ago.
"It's a spiritual place. I come here for sustenance," he says.
He wants it to stay as pristine as possible for decades into the future.
Roland put 307 acres of his property into what's called the Northwoods Land Trust.
That means he can be confident it will stay just like it is.
"People are looking at the land as a long-term family legacy," says Bryan Pierce, the Executive Director of the Northwoods Land Trust.
The Northwoods Land Trust protects almost 10,000 acres of woods and shoreland in a handful of northern counties.
"Most of what we work with, probably 95 percent, are conservation agreements, long-term land protection agreements that really are designed to go in perpetuity," Pierce says.
That is, forever.
No major construction, no clear cutting, no subdividing, no threat to natural beauty.
"I thought about it, discussed it with my wife, and we decided this was a good way to go to preserve the land," Roland explains.
The land trust is only 12 years old.
But already, more than 60 private properties are protected by easements.
On top of that, the Northwoods Land Trust owns outright three properties with special environmental habitats.
That includes the Holmboe Conifer Forest, adjacent to Rhinelander's city limits.
"This is what we actually consider an early old growth stage conifer forest. That's a big part of this Holmboe property," Pierce says.
Holmboe also has state designation as a State Natural Area.
Whether it's precious land the land trust owns or private land that will be protected forever, the Northwoods Land Trust helps make sure at least part the Northwoods landscape will be preserved forever.
"I feel comfortable that people can enjoy it and that it will stay this way," says Roland.
RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
RHINELANDER - This holiday season, you might want to tell your child to hug family members at holiday gatherings.
The Girls Scouts of the USA hopes you won't. The organization is saying daughters don't owe anyone physical affection, and that the expectation of hugs and kisses could have bad aftereffects later in life.
"I think for some people, it is a new concept," said Melissa K., the domestic violence coordinator at Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual assault, which is based in Rhinelander.
In a post, the Girl Scouts of the USA told parents their daughters don't "owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays."
RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
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