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Artists, engineers combine for campus, national paper venture in northcentral WisconsinSubmitted: 04/16/2014

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


STEVENS POINT - College and professional artists need special cotton-fiber paper for painting, drawing, and printing.

UW-Stevens Point's art students bought that expensive paper from traditional European mills for years.

Meanwhile, UWSP's Paper Science and Engineering Department taught students about the papermaking business on its huge paper machine just a building away on campus.

The logical tie between art and engineering came together, and is now going national.

"It was a natural. We use paper, we make paper. I think there's something we can do together," says UWSP Professor of Art Bob Erickson.

UWSP students used to pay four to five dollars per sheet for imported European fine arts paper.

All the while, students at the university's Paper Science and Engineering Department were producing roll after roll of other kinds of paper - just steps away on campus.

Erickson took a sheet of his paper over.

"I said, can we make that? They said, yeah, we can make that. So I thought, that's great. We need paper, they make paper," he says.

That conversation led to years of tinkering with formulas, ideas, and the university's paper machine itself.

"The challenges came when we started trying to meet the specifications of the artists, and translating what the properties of the paper they were telling us about, translating those into something we can actually measure," says UWSP Paper Science and Engineering Department Chair Karyn Biasca.

"About a year ago, we started to get a good paper that we felt we could use and market," Erickson says.

The finished product Erickson gave students like Josie Balk?

A high quality, cotton-based, fine arts papers at an unbeatable price.

"It was kind of nice because he says, use this paper, it's free. As a college kid, it's hard, budgeting as an art student, and paying tuition, and all of that other stuff," Balk says.

"They can experiment, they can try papers, they don't have to worry about, oh my god, I'm using a four-dollar sheet of paper," Erickson says.

Art students stay in touch constantly with the papermaking students, sharing what they like about the paper, and what they want done differently.

"They say that the properties of the product are equivalent to any of the much more expensive papers that are made overseas that they've used before," Biasca says.

The paper went over so well, its reach has expanded far beyond campus - making a brand called RiverPoint Paper.

"We've filled orders in at least fifteen different states to artists, other educators, students, and we always encourage them to let us know how it's working," says Ron Tschida of the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology, a group associated with the university that focuses on entrepreneurship.

Buyers love the paper quality, but that's not the only upside.

"(They like) not only the paper itself, but also the idea behind the paper, that it's being made at a university, by students, by faculty. We're not a company. They like the idea that it's being made that way," Erickson says.

That pride holds true for UWSP student artists, too.

"Being able to present it to people, saying, hey, this was used on campus, this paper is from the campus," Balk says.

It's an idea gaining national attention, all starting from a seemingly simple cross-campus connection.

"They are very excited about making paper," Erickson says, simply. "Our students are very excited about using the paper."

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Volunteers Document WildlifeSubmitted: 06/24/2016

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MERCER - You don't expect to see crowds in secluded parts of Iron County, but loons tend to be a big draw.

"There's a lot of people who have had interest in loon research," said DNR wildlife biologist John Olson.

"Monitor change overtime in the wildlife population here in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Are loons increasing or staying stable or decreasing the numbers of breeding pair?" said retired wildlife biologist, Bruce Bacon.

The community has shown interest in the animal and with the research collected, the volunteers can maintain a steady population of loons in the water.

"Over the years, there have been a number of people who have done real exciting loon work up here," said Olson.

Over the last few surveys, the DNR have decided to expand its research to all wildlife in water and on land, not just the loons.

"The survey has developed into being more all-inclusive of any wildlife we see out here. Especially breeding birds," said Olson.

Some animals seen on Friday include a deer and her fawn, ducks, geese, eagles, ospreys, and of course multiple loons.

The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is a total of 14,000 acres. Individual volunteers maintain the area year round. If they notice a home or shelter destroyed, they will help start a new one for the animals.

"It's rewarding to see a place like the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin and this monitoring gives us a sense of how to monitor and protect it," said Bacon.

Overall, the goal for the group is to collect data on the animals and maintain that number to keep the Northwoods booming with wildlife.

The power of volunteerism was in full effect on Friday. Six boats covered all 14,000 acres of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.

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EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines fishing team is about as basic as it gets.

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Mike John is going to be a junior. Harmon Marien became a freshman right before the state tournament started.

"Wednesday previous I was in 8th grade and then that Saturday and Sunday we took second in the high school tournament," Northland Pines Freshman Marien said. "That was pretty cool, good way to start high school."

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A grand jury this week indicted Dr. Charles Szyman on 19 counts of unlawfully prescribing prescription drugs.

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Patrick J. Eppolite, Jr., 22; Michael A. Beck, 27; Jeremy J. Hess, 36; and Amanda M. Bender, 32, are currently in jail on probation holds, but investigators believe they're connected to some counterfeit 20 dollar bills in the area, according to the Wausau Police Department.

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RHINELANDER - This week, a seven-year-old put his life in danger to save his baby sister and little brother from a house fire near downtown Rhinelander.

On Friday, the Rhinelander Fire Department honored that little boy for his bravery.

Rhinelander firefighters now call Adam Granger, 7, a hero.

"He tells me over and over how he wasn't scared and just wanted to save his sister's life and didn't want her to die," said Jenny Schroeder, Adam's mother.

Adam saved his six-month old sister and four-year-old brother from a house fire in downtown Rhinelander.

"His actions, his quick thinking, saved two lives that day," said Rhinelander Fire Assistant Chief Tom Waydick.

Investigators still don't know the exact cause of the fire, but they say it started in the kitchen.
Adam's father, Adam Granger, Sr., went outside for a couple minutes to start a campfire, and the next thing 
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"And the kids were in and out of the house helping him," Waydick said.

When he saw the smoke, Adam's father and his brother ran inside to get the three kids upstairs��"not realizing they had already gotten out. To do that, Adam had to run past the fire to get to the bedroom where his baby sister was. Then he went back towards the flames and led his younger brother down the back steps to safety.

"[I'm] Very proud and honored to have him as my son," Schroeder said. 

Schroeder doesn't want to think of how it could have turned out.

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GREEN BAY - Prosecutors have charged a 26-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her mother and injuring a third person in the Green Bay area.

Jacob Cayer of Ashwaubenon was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. WLUK-TV reports Cayer also is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, burglary and bail jumping.

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STEVENS POINT - David Appel doesn't say too much these days.  Instead, he lets his artwork speak for him.

"Oh yeah, he likes to show them off," David's son Dan said.

The recently turned 82-year-old spends his days in the Portage County Skilled Nursing Facility during his weekly visit from family often admiring the oil paintings he once crafted.

"I wouldn't call it a shock, but I didn't know he had that artistic skill," Dan Appel said.

Appel's son and daughter-in-law, Dan and Julie, first found out about David's talents as the father's 47-and-a-half year career with Copps Foods started to come to an end in the late 1990s.

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