RHINELANDER - Hardwood logging makes up as much as 10% of Wisconsin's agriculture exports, much of it sold to China.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) says small logging businesses are at the heart of rural economies in her district and the lack of market stability is one of the main reasons for Wisconsin's economic downturn.
Today (Tuesday), Baldwin sent a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue demanding that the hardwood industry no longer be overlooked in the ongoing trade war.
"I believe that Sonny Perdue and President Trump ought to allow them to receive some of the same type of trade relief that has been granted to other farmers," said Baldwin.
Baldwin added that hardwood logging is suffering not only in the short term, but in the long term as well.
China is turning to other sources, ending decade-long trade deals.
The USDA is expected to respond to Baldwin's letter in the near future.
She hopes they'll take action immediately to help loggers.
The complete version of Sen. Baldwin's letter can be found here:
The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing face masks to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Stores in our area that sell the materials to make them have been declared non-essential, though.
"I don't want to jeopardize anybody's health and be open as usual," store owner Mary Wilke said.
Wilke knew she had to close both of her Sew Smart crafting supply stores as soon as COVID-19 appeared, but she was offering curbside delivery until she got a call.
"The health department called me and told me that I was not abiding by the law and I had to cease immediately and I could no longer do that," Wilke said. "The only options I had were to do mail order or deliveries."
RHINELANDER - As the Coronavirus spreads across the world, medical professionals balance giving patients the best care possible while also keeping themselves healthy.
That juggling act forced many healthcare providers to stay away from their families -- fearing they may bring the virus home.
One local church opened its doors to give them a clean, safe, and free place to stay.
"We said hey we aren't going to wait around for someone else to do it, we wanted to do something positive for the community." said Lead Pastor Joseph Fehlen.
The Grace Foursquare Church in Rhinelander transformed its Family Life Center into a place for medical professionals to stay.
"We were sitting around thinking what in the world can we do with our empty buildings. We were just like hey how about we open up our Family Life Center for medical professionals that might be scared to go home or can't go home because they are interacting with the Coronavirus," Fehlen said.
Fehlen says there are eight beds available with most household items handy.
"We've got some items donated. Slumberland gave us an amazing deal. Home Depot has been working with us to give us different supplies. People in our church have already donated and just the outpouring of people who've offered to help," Fehlen said.
The church assures that all spaces have been deep cleaned and prepared for the healthcare workers.
"There's a lot of space, there's a washer and dryer they can use when they come in. So there's a lot of things to do to keep it sanitized and we will have out bleach bottles and wipes all over the place," Fehlen said.
Fehlen says the church space will be available for as long as it's needed. In the meantime he hopes positive actions like this will keep the community moving forward during these times of need.
"Hang around with people who are hope dealers, dealing out hope, graciousness, love, forgiveness and acceptance to each other. Find those people," Fehlen said.
RHINELANDER - The Lights of the Northwoods Festival draws in hundreds of people to experience the best light-show in the area. Leaders from the festival want the community to know that the staff is still working to light up the Northwoods.
Oneida County health officials confirmed two more people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the county's total to 5.
Health officials say the 4th individual is in their 50's and has traveled outside the community, but has not had any contact with anyof the previously confirmed cases in the county. That person is now in isolation.
They say the 5th individual is in their 70's, and is currently in the hospital. They say they person has not had contact with any of thepreviously confirmed cases in the county, nor have they traveled outside of the community.
MADISON - The number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Wisconsin is up to 77 as of Monday, the state Department of Health Services reported.
That is an increase of nine people from Sunday. There have now been deaths reported in 16 counties. More than half of all deaths, 40, have occurred in Milwaukee County, followed by Dane County with nine.
As of Monday, there were 2,440 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. But because testing is not widespread, health officials continue to caution the actual number of cases is far higher.
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