Scientists offer potato research data and insights at Rhinelander presentationSubmitted: 07/30/2015
Story By Wren Clair

Scientists offer potato research data and insights at Rhinelander presentation
RHINELANDER - A Northern Lights Tour scientist explained Rhinelander's role in potato breeding and genetic studies on Wednesday night.

Every year, about 50,000 varieties of potato are tested to see if they could be commercially sold.

Only about one in a 100,000 will become a named potato variety.

"The Rhinelander agriculture research station on Highway C is really where that process starts," said UW-Madison Assistant Professor of Horticulture Jeffry Endelman."[B]y making the cross pollination, raising those plants for the first time in a greenhouse, and then evaluating them in the fields there for a couple years." 

Potatoes are then evaluated in many other parts of the state until the potato variety, or breeding line, is thought to exhibit commercial potential. Then the breeding line is given to the certified seed potato program. The program's farm is also in Rhinelander.

"The reason why these farms are in Rhinelander is partly because there aren't other potato farms in Rhinelander, and so we want to try and have as isolated of an environment for those early steps in the potato process," said Endelman.

The isolation helps protect the potatoes from viruses. The scientists are part of the Northern Lights Tour, which gives science talks throughout the Northwoods this July.

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WAUSAU - When you think of Wisconsin, two things might come to mind - beer and snow. 

The Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau decided to combine the two and host an annual brew fest. 

Andy Ledesma is the head brewer at Red Eye Brewing Company in Wausau. The Granite Peak Brew Fest is one of the many perks of his job.

"No other beer fest is like this, that's for sure," said Ledesma.

He definitely wasn't alone serving more than 40 beers on Saturday. 

Jeff Geurink works for South Shore Brewery in Ashland. They've been around for 20 years, but they wanted to make this brew fest a part of their line up.

"Get our name out there and make sure people are enjoying our beer and get as much information as possible out about our brewery so then when they go out and get a beer, they remember us," said Geurink.

Something everyone will remember from the brew fest was the set-up.

"Snow bar?! You can't get that in the summer time," said Roland Bruhnke.

He's right. Most beer festivals are in the summer. But when it's still feeling like winter in March, Granite Peak turns lemons into lemonade, or more appropriately, hops into beer.

"I think it definitely helped that when they get to the bottom of the hill, you see a bunch of beer," said beer salesman Jesse Bartnik.

So even though beer and physical activity isn't the best combination, dozens of people were loving it this weekend.

"The winter, the skiing, the beer, it's all one big package all rolled into one," said Bruhnke.

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RHINELANDER - This time of year, winter activies start to wind down and the summer fun hasn't quite started yet.

That's why Fisher's Resort and Bar on Lake George in Rhinelander enjoys having it's annual ice golf tournament each year.

"In year's past, March is always kind of a slower season up here in the Northwoods so we figured we'd create an event and put efforts towards a local organization," said Fisher's Resort and Bar owner, Russ Fisher.

That local organization they raise money for is the Hodag Sno-trails snowmobile club.

This year, the tournament had it's biggest turn out.

30 teams came to play, including first timer Dennis Herrmann who lives right across the lake.

"This has nothing to do with golf, I can tell you that right now. But it's a challenge for all the obvious reasons. But you do it for the charity, you do it for the fun and it gives everybody the chance to get out," said Herrmann.

This year they cut it down from 18 holes to 13 so people could get inside faster to enjoy the chili and the raffle items after their round of golf.

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EAGLE RIVER - Kids face bullying in schools all the time.

That's one reason why the Eagle River elementary school holds its annual Great Kindness Challenge Week.

It's part of a nationwide challenge involving nearly 10,000 schools.

This year's kindness week in Eagle River wrapped up Friday with a musical assembly with Dave Dall.

Throughout the week, students were challenged to do random acts of kindness.

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RHINELANDER - Kathie Woodford keeps track of each time she donates blood.  Her visit to a Rhinelander blood drive on Friday marked her 26th pint.

"I just recently got my third gallon," Woodford said.

The universal donor (Woodford has O-negative blood) likes to give as often as she can, but Friday's blood drive was one she simply couldn't miss.

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The Crandon School Board voted unanimously Friday evening to change the wording of superintendent Dr. Doug Kryder's absence from the district.

Kryder is now on "paid administrative leave." Originally, he had been "suspended with pay."

The board said it made the change based on advice of its lawyer. The board met for two and a half hours in closed session on Friday.

Kryder is under investigation by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

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RHINELANDER - The warmer weather might have you spending more time outside with man's best friend.

But the remaining snow and ice could increase the risk of injury for dogs.

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MERRILL - Police say a Stevens Point man tried to pay to have sex 15-year-old girl. 
Police arrested Leo Pelot, 67, on Tuesday. 

According to a criminal complaint, an undercover agent with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office posed as the 15-year-old's aunt. 

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