STEVENS POINT - The Spudmobile is Wisconsin's newest addition in potato education.
The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association unveiled the Spudmobile at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Stevens Point last week.
"It was a big project, 4 years of planning and development. It cost a lot of money and we don't want it to sit parked. We want to get it out there and get people touring through it and seeing it on the road," said Tamas Houlihan.
The traveling billboard will be used to educate everyone about the potato industry.
"It took a vision and a committee to do this and it's all educational, for adults and children. It tells the story about potatoes and how they grow and how sustainable we are," said vegetable farmer Nick Somers.
Inside the Spudmobile you'll find different potato varieties, an interactive game board and potato recipes to take home.
They want to travel to grocery stores, schools and events across Wisconsin.
"People don't realize that we rank third in the nation in potato production. We also want people to buy local. We think locally grown produce tastes better, it's fresh and there's really no reason to be buying Idaho potatoes when you can buy potatoes that are grown right here in Wisconsin," said Houlihan.
To get the Spudmoble to a location near you, just contact the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.
The Spudmobile will be in the Northwoods at the end of the month. You can see it at Rhinelander's Potatofest August 30.
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.
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