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5:10 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Christmas Bird Count May See Fewer Seed-Eaters

Black-capped chickadees are common at Northwoods bird feeders in winter.
Credit Tashiarr via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Black-capped_Chickadee_eating_seed.jpg

Manitowish Waters will hold its annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count Saturday. 

Groups throughout the Northwoods and across North America help track long term trends in winter bird populations. 

It’s the twenty first year of the Manitowish Waters count.  Coordinator John Bates says over that time he’s seen significant change in bird populations.  This year he’s expecting low numbers, especially of seed-eating birds that often travel here from Canada.              

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Wednesday evening fire
3:01 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Fire Kills Two In Mercer

Credit fr.wikipedia.org

A 37 year old woman and a 24 year old man have died in a house fire in Iron county.

The Sheriff's Department said the call came in just before 6:00 p.m. Wednesday night. Mercer Fire and Rescue went to the home on Old Highway 51 Road in Mercer.

The home was completely ablaze when help arrived.

Names are being withheld until relatives are notified.

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Good Snow Means Tourists
2:56 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Holiday Snowmobile Traffic Brings Good Tidings for Businesses

This weekend, snowmobile riders can hit the trails in most of Vilas, Oneida and Forest counties.
Credit Manfred Werner

Snowmobile trails are opening across the Northwoods.  Phelps trails open Thursday, and Forest County trails open Friday.

Most Oneida County trails opened Wednesday.  Minocqua Chamber of Commerce Director Kim Baltus says wintry conditions this early in the year is a big deal.

“It’s been several years since the trails have been open before the holidays, and a very long time since we’ve been able to really invite tourists to come and spend their holiday vacation hopefully between Christmas and New Years in the Northwoods.”

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Long dispute nearing end
2:53 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

LDF Tribe Agrees To Buy Strawberry Island

Credit ldftribe.com

A long time standoff between the owner of Strawberry Island in Lac du Flambeau and the tribe is a step closer to being resolved.

This week the tribe's Land Management Office told the tribal council they had come to an agreement to acquire Strawberry Island for $250,000. The tribal council passed a resolution approving the sale.

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Other counties using model
4:59 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Business Incubator For Oneida County?

Oneida county would like to follow Vilas county with a business incubator
Credit Vilas County Economic Development Corporation

Business incubators have been started in at least two Northwoods counties and Oneida county might also be looking into it.

An incubator works by putting several mostly new small businesses in one building, sharing relatively low rent and utilities with the idea toward growth and eventually leaving the nest.

During this week's Board of Supervisor's meeting, Oneida County Economic Development Corporation Director Roger Luce said critics say the incubator's compete with private sector rentals. He disputes that...

 

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Three More Hearings to Go
4:59 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Rural Schools Task Force Hears From Superintendent, Administrators

Transportation costs have been cited by many rural school districts as a big challenge.
Credit John O'Brien

The Assembly Speaker's Rural Schools Task Force held its third hearing Tuesday in Madison. 

  

Legislators heard more than three hours of testimony from educational groups and administrators.   State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers spoke about the financial challenges facing rural schools.

"We need to do something about fixing our funding system for all the schools in the state.  We need to find ways to allocate resources that take into account the income levels of families, and not just the community's property value." 

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U.P. health provider
4:47 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Aspirus, Northstar Form Affiliation

NorthStar Iron River, Michigan
Credit Aspirus

NORTHSTAR Health System and Aspirus Health System have announced an affiliation agreement.

 

Based in Iron River, Michigan NORTHSTAR includes a 25-bed critical access hospital with clinics in Iron River, Marenisco and Crystal Falls. They also have home health and hospice services. NORTHSTAR has 370 employees. Aspirus is based in Wausau. The transaction is expected to be done in late January.

Connie Koutouzos, NORTHSTAR Chief Executive Officer says the juncture will help them do more...

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A Look At Insurance Premiums
4:47 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Rhinelander Healthcare Costs Rank Average Statewide

Rhinelander health care premiums are falling somewhere in the middle as compared to the rest of the state.  That’s according to a new report from progressive group Citizen Action of Wisconsin.  It compares health insurance rates in different regions statewide.

It finds Madison tends to rank lowest, while the highest premiums are found in the Milwaukee area and in far Northwestern Wisconsin. 

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High schoolers taking college training
4:33 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Gov. Walker Signs Youth Apprenticeship Bill In Rhinelander

Gov. Walker and Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster
Credit Ken Krall-WXPR

Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill in Rhinelander that he says will help employers get more skilled workers to companies. Youth Apprenticeship integrates high school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in skills defined by Wisconsin industries. It works with local school districts and the area technical colleges.

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Controversy Over Indian Team Names
4:00 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Mascot Bill Could Become Law Thursday

A bill relating to race-based mascots is still sitting on Governor Scott Walker’s desk.  He until the end of the day Wednesday to sign or veto the bill, before it automatically becomes law.  The bill changes a process established in 2010 for how to handle complaints about race-based school mascots and team names. 

Supporters of the new process say it’s more fair – a person has to prove a mascot is discriminatory before they can get it changed.  And that person needs a petition of signatures to file an initial complaint.  Here’s Representative Steve Nass, who authored the  bill. 

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