LAKE TOMAHAWK - Amber Roth stands in an opening of a young forest plot in the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest near Lake Tomahawk.
"I'm hoping you're hearing all of the different birds around us," she says to the field trip participants around her as birds chirp and sing. "This is fabulous nest cover for birds."
Roth is a research assistant professor at Michigan Tech University. In this young forest, Roth and her team don't see a wasteland, but a valuable habitat for some bird species.
The young forest around her is a recent cutover, with aspen and shrubs growing back. The plants are a few years old.
"This is what (the birds) need for nesting cover," she says.
It's especially good for the golden-winged warbler, a songbird facing declining population. The species is under consideration for threatened or endangered status by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Amber's team is trying to find them in a young forest plot near Lake Tomahawk. She uses artificial bird songs and nets to catch them.
To help track the warblers, which migrate to the tropics, Amber puts small bands on their legs. In Wisconsin, she looks to help maintain young forest habitats for the songbirds.
"We're very critical to the future of this species, so management is really important," she says.
The field trip visited the young forest plot as part of a tour exploring forest management types, organized by Science on Tap in Minocqua.
LINCOLN CO. - The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office is calling a death east of Merrill on Thursday a homicide.
In a press release on Friday morning, the sheriff's office said a 77-year-old woman was found shot and killed around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. In the same home, a 78-year-old man was found critically injured from a gunshot wound.
It happened at a home on Range Line Road in the Town of Pine River.
The sheriff's office said it believes the shooting is isolated and the public is not in danger.
The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Lab worked to process the scene.
All sorts of animals are affected by icy conditions. Some Northern Wisconsin owls dive INTO the snow to hunt small rodents. But recent freezing rain has formed an ice crust that owls can't break through. That means owls are beginning to starve.
Amanda Schirmer has been working at the Northwoods Wilderness Center for the past four years. She says that owls may hang around birdfeeders to prey on smaller birds. They may also be seen near roads.
SEYMOUR, IND. - A chain-reaction crash in southern Indiana killed a Minocqua couple on Wednesday morning.
Glenn Cardelli and his wife, Kathryn, both 57 years old, were traveling in south an RV near Seymour, Ind., on Interstate 65. The RV was behind a semi and an SUV, both of which slowed due to highway maintenance.
Another semi failed to slow down behind the stalled traffic and crashed into the Cardellis' RV. The crash killed the couple and John Mumma, 67, an Illinois man driving the SUV.
The vehicles caught fire. Interstate 65 was closed for about eleven hours for cleanup and crash investigation.
THREE LAKES - Plenty of Three Lakes High School students didn't know what they want to do for a career as of Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, many still weren't sure, but dozens got an inside look at possible careers.
The school held its annual Career Day on Friday morning. About 25 presenters included police, an FBI agent, college teachers, and graphic designers.
The school first held Career Day in 2009. Organizers hope students realize they have plenty of opportunities close to home.
RHINELANDER - A former contracted janitor accused of sexually assaulting a Rhinelander student appears headed for a trial.
Stavros Iliopoulos appeared in Oneida County Court on Friday afternoon. Attorneys told Judge Michael Bloom they had not reached a plea deal. Bloom decided to schedule one final pre-trial conference for late August before a two-day jury trial was set for Sept. 4 and 5.
In late November, police said Iliopoulos, 65, took a girl into a dark closet and hugged, kissed, and touched her inappropriately at Northwoods Community Elementary School, a public charter school in Harshaw.
Iliopoulos worked for a contracted company, Victory Janitorial, at the time.
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