NORTHERN WISCONSIN - Many people come to the Northwoods this time of year to relax by fishing on a calm, quiet river or lake, but that's hard to do when you have flies constantly swarming your face.
Some people say the black flies are pretty bad this year.
Black flies come around every spring and live for only a few weeks. There are almost two dozen different species of them just in northern Wisconsin alone. That's why it may seem that they live a lot longer.
The flies can become so aggressive that it impacts wildlife populations.
"If you have a year with a very large batch of black flies, they can get bad enough that they can make loons essentially abandon their nests for a period of time, and the birds may try nesting again a little while later," said Extension entomologist P.J. Liesch with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "But if the black flies are bad, they can have a significant impact on bird populations."
Liesch said most black flies feed on birds, but they can also feed on other wildlife and humans too. He said there's no way to predict how bad they'll be from year to year. But they certainly thrive in fast-moving water sources.
"And so, in a way, black flies are a little bit of a good thing because they need very high-quality water sources to live in, rocky-bottom streams and the like," Liesch says. "If all our waters were polluted, we wouldn't have black flies, but we'd have polluted water, so it's kind of a trade-off."
This week was a little bit cooler, so fishermen said the flies weren't as bad, but last week when it was hot, they were swarming.
The wind can carry the flies miles away from water as well.
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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