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Sen. Baldwin travels to the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 03/19/2017
Dakota Sherek
Dakota Sherek
Reporter/Anchor
dsherek@wjfw.com

Sen. Baldwin travels to the Northwoods
EAGLE RIVER - Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) traveled to the Northwoods this weekend. The senator wanted to hear from community members about the need for more broadband access in rural areas of the state.

"There are still places in Wisconsin where there is no access to broadband," said Baldwin.


Baldwin argues broadband access is essential.

"It's a must in the 21st century," she said. 

Baldwin hosted a roundtable in Eagle River to discuss expanding and utilizing broadband in rural Wisconsin.
Don Sidlowski, a member of the Northwoods Broadband and Economic Development Coalition, says rural and urban areas should have the same level of broadband access.

"There can't be two Wisconsins, one where you've got all of the advantages of the 21st century and the other Wisconsin that struggles to keep up and to compete," said Sidlowski.
 
Members of the roundtable included service providers, educators, village administrators, and other broadband advocates. One issue brought up was the need to make federal funding for broadband expansion more accessible.

"If we really want those resources to be deployed, to end up at people's homes and businesses, we can't make it so cumbersome to apply for and qualify for that people just pass on it," said Baldwin.

Baldwin was also given a tour of the Northland Pines School District fab lab.

"It's a way that shows that broadband, which you need to power a fab lab, connects the two in way of education," said Sidlowski.

The senator agrees students need to have internet access at their schools and their homes.

"Some students go to an area where they'll get their homework done, others don't have access and that's creating haves and have-nots in our educational system. That is not right," said Baldwin.

Overall, Sidlowski thinks the event went well.

"I think she got terrific information today and valuable to her as she heads back to Washington and try to advocate for our sakes here in the Northwoods," he said.

And some of that information may come in handy soon. Baldwin says the Senate is on the verge of debating a big infrastructure project. She wants President Trump to include broadband in his infrastructure plans.

"The reason I am urging him to think of broadband in that is because of how vital it is to our economy and frankly our educational access," said Baldwin.


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EAGLE RIVER - Most of us go out on the boat for a day of fun and relaxation. But to Gary and Shele Fawcett, a trip out on the water means a chance to teach history.

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HARSHAW - More than 50 people from Vilas, Forest, and Oneida counties came together Wednesday to learn leadership skills. 

Northwoods United Way hosted the second annual Leaderfest at Rondele Ranch in Harshaw. 

Executive Director Nancy Sattler was excited to present this opportunity to people in the area. 

"We want to offer the opportunity for enrichment, learning, and growth and the opportunity also to network with other people from the Northwoods and to learn from them and maybe they can help them in the future," said Sattler. 

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"The song Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round inspired me so much. That's why I became a bus driver," said Jake Kriesel a Rhinelander bus driver who never puts a break on fun.

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Kriesel drives for Bowen's Bus Service, and Thursday he will be a part of a School Bus Safety Open House.

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Tomahawk Live Trap has grown and even relocated to Hazelhurst since then.

Greg Smith and his wife Jenny bought Tomahawk Live Trap about seven years ago.

And the company has been growing ever since.

Sales have more than doubled since Greg and Jenny took over.  But it's not just the sales that have grown.

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Operations Coordinator, Chris Powers was there when the Smith's took over and has noticed the big improvement with the environment.

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The two victims were teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Wednesday's weather made it the perfect day for a group of people to grab their paddles and explore some Northwoods waters.

The Northwoods Land Trust invited the community on a tour of private and protected waters.

People met up to paddle down Deerskin River in Eagle River.

Executive Director of the Northwoods Land Trust Bryan Pierce said Deerskin River is special because it's a trout stream and known for its resources.

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Baden-Powell Northwoods Experience donated the money earlier this month.

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So, the group decided to donate the left over funds to Trees for Tomorrow. 

Executive Director Robin Ginner said the two groups missions line up well. 

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