PHELPS - Very few people even go inside the old hospital in Phelps these days, much less work there. After serving as a hospital, clinic, and nursing home in its lifetime, the building has been vacant for years.
But Phelps thinks it might be the perfect place for the DNR's state forestry headquarters. The DNR is exploring the possibility of moving the headquarters to the northern part of the state, and Phelps wants its community and the old building to be considered for the honor.
"It's got a beautiful view of the overlook of North Twin Lake. It's plenty big enough," said Phelps Town Chair Steve Doyen. "We're just looking that it would be a great site for them to locate to."
Phelps wants the Vilas County Board to endorse its plan. Housing the new forestry headquarters could give an economic boost to the small community.
"That would mean a lot," Doyen said. "You're talking probably 60 to 65 jobs that would be located in this area. That would be big-time for Phelps. Not only Phelps but Vilas County as a whole."
Proposals from other interested Northwoods communities have flooded into the DNR. Phelps joins Oneida County, Langlade County, Tomahawk, Rhinelander, and several other places eager to serve as the forestry headquarters' new home.
MADISON - University of Wisconsin President Ray Cross cautioned Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak that has already led to the suspension of all in-person spring classes could also force changes to the fall semester, which is scheduled to begin in August.
Cross, in addressing the university's Board of Regents, said UW was working on various scenarios based on rapidly changing conditions. The flagship UW-Madison campus announced Thursday that it was moving all in-person summer classes scheduled to start in May to online only, another sign that leaders don't expect a return to normalcy for months.
RHINELANDER - For staff at Wild Instincts, treating diseases and parasites is part of the job.
"We know how these things spread and how it goes so it really isn't a big surprise for us seeing what happened," said wildlife rehabilitator Mark Naniot.
That's why staff are being extra careful when it comes to COVID-19.
"If we get sick and we aren't able to care for the animals it's going to make the problem even worse," said Naniot.
For the last couple weeks, the animal rehabilitation center has suspended all non-essential volunteers in an effort to keep its people and the animals safe.
"We are down to a skeleton staff at this point," said Naniot. "We had about 140 drivers and we cut them off also. We're not having them go out and interact. We do a few close rescues when we can [and] we still have about 50 animals here on site."
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