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Cranberry harvest numbers may slide compared to last several years Submitted: 08/19/2014
Story By Dan Marz


MANITOWISH WATERS - Cranberry growers in Wisconsin work hard every year to produce the fruit. But they may not be able to harvest as many berries this season.

Cranberry growers don't expect an overly large crop this year despite great harvests the last few years.

The numbers might not be as high, but farmers say they won't be disappointed with this year's cranberry results.

"Overall I think it will be a decent crop," says Bob Winter, owner and manager of Vilas Cranberry Company. "There's been some hail in the southern part of the state and even in western Wisconsin, so that takes its toll, but cumulatively how much that really is remains to be seen. You never know until you get it all in the barn at the end of October."

The long winter we had also had its effects on this year's cranberry crop, but that isn't scaring farmers either.

"Amazingly enough, as the year goes on, and the weather goes thru its ups and downs, we tend to kind of end up at the same place as far as mature fruit by late September," explains Winter. 'I guess I wouldn't be surprised if that's the same this year too."

Farmers will look to harvest their crop later in the fall season.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - The debate in Merrill over what's junk and what's historic treasure may not end soon.

It appears Merrill City leaders won't punish two of its workers for taking items from a now demolished building on the Lincoln County Fair Grounds. 

After about a month-long investigation, Mayor Bill Bialecki sent out a statement Thursday morning on behalf of the common council with a decision.

It said, "The actions of City Administrator Dave Johnson and Fire Chief Dave Savone, although not in violation of city Ordinances or policies, were in poor judgment. They have been advised to follow City ordinances and policies to avoid improper conduct or the appearance of such conduct, as it reflects poorly on City Government."

Back in July, Savone got the okay from Johnson to help a friend take some shutters and tables from the 
Schultz building on the grounds before it was demolished.

But some people considered those items historic and expressed their concern on social media.

The Merrill City Common Council then hired an outside firm to investigate.

Now that that's done, Johnson still feels the same way he always did.

"I've stated from the beginning that there were no laws, ordinances or policies that were violated, and that is what the investigation showed," Johnson said. "So, I mean, how can I feel other than vindicated?"

Johnson and Savone did return the items.

Savone did not want to talk on camera but told Newswatch 12 he did not violate any ordinances.

Opponents of this decision believe the city leaders violated state open meetings laws.

According to documents obtained by Newswatch 12, those opponents filed a complaint Thursday afternoon with the Lincoln County District Attorney.

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ST. GERMAIN - The owner of a Northwoods yoga and massage studio believes her business offers more than just a place to stretch.

 It's a way to change the body image of the community.

St. Germain's Shanna Stein committed herself to yoga when she was 18. 

She lost more than 100 ponds and gained a new view of her body image. 

Now 14 years later, she is using that new view to help others. 

"You set these goals and they're so far away and you're like someday," said Stein.

 "And now it's here and it's happening so it's just kind of surreal."

Because of her past, Stein is committed to providing a space to uplift people.

 She created a monthly wondrous woman class, providing a place for women to encourage each other's body in a positive way. 

"When I look at people coming into my studio and when I see their struggles and what they're going through I know because I've been there," said Stein.

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GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers have doubled down on their image of playing on the frozen tundra, unveiling more details for its Titletown District that include a winter tubing hill and a skating rink at its heart.

The team announced Thursday the district will also include a football-themed playground and full-sized football field with an artificial surface.

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WOODRUFF - You don't see very good odds of catching someone who poached a deer unless someone saw or heard it happen.  Luckily for law enforcement, that's what happened in Woodruff and Minocqua last week.

People living near Theis Road off Highway J and near Gopher Lane along Highway 70 heard gunshots late Wednesday night, September 21.  Minocqua police found two 16-year-old boys who shot and killed two bucks.

DNR Warden Supervisor Dave Walz says the teens were shooting within 100 yards of homes.

"There's a serious safety aspect when these people are out shooting deer at night, they may not know what's in the background," Walz said.  "Even if they do know what's in the background, it's still not a safe situation."

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ST. GERMAIN - 300 Vilas County sixth-graders joined together against drugs and alcohol in St. Germain Thursday.
The kids got to hang out with peers they will be going to high school with in a couple of years.

Though it all looked like fun and games, each exercise opened the floor to more serious topics like cyber-bullying, drug use, and underage drinking.

"There are little things that we are planting seeds and as those seeds are planted, later on others can help it grow as well," said UW Extension Youth Agent Nancy Ann Miller.

Throughout the day, the middle schoolers rotated through hands-on positive activities.
Kids were even able to talk to Nicolet College about future career plans.

At one station, the leaders showed off Native American traditions with drumming and dancing to get the middle schoolers to open up.

"They just have a riot. You ask them what's the best thing and they say everything!" said Miller.

This is the twelfth year the positivity conference joined at St. Germain Park.

Conference coordinators say the end goal is to leave the kids with a lifelong memory of the Northwoods.


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RHINELANDER - Lifting brand new bikes out of the basement to see the light of day for the first time, Gene Welhoefer couldn't wait to put them to use.

"We'd love to wear the tires out in year one," Welhoefer said.

The Three Lakes Principal loaded bike after bike -- 29 on this trip -- into a trailer parked outside of Mel's Trading Post in Rhinelander Thursday afternoon.  The school district purchased 63 bikes to promote healthy habits in Three Lakes students.

"Get outside, breathe some fresh air, soak in some sunshine, take a little ride," Welhoefer said.

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MILWAUKEE - A jury has convicted a Milwaukee man of first-degree reckless homicide in the fatal shooting of a 5-year-old girl.

The jury on Thursday also found Carl Barrett Jr. guilty of recklessly endangering Laylah's Peterson's grandmother, grandfather and sister who were present during the shooting in November 2014. Laylah was shot in the head as she sat on her grandfather's lap. Police say the shooters targeted the wrong house.

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