Natalie Jablonski

Community Features Editor

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Hands-Off Approach OK'd
3:42 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Van Vliets to Be Passively Managed

Natural Resources Board members have approved a plan to passively manage the Van Vliets.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Presque Isle’s Van Vliet Hemlocks will become a State Natural Area.  And the mostly old-growth parcel will be managed with as little interference as possible.  The state Natural Resources Board voted today to approve the DNR’s recommendation to passively manage the entire area. 

Tom Olson President of the group Friends of the Van Vliet spoke at the meeting, citing widespread public support for letting the hemlock parcel manage itself.

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Keeping Mercury Out of the Environment
3:02 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Statehouse Bill Requires Recycling of Mercury Thermostats

Proposed legislation would tighten rules for disposal of mercury-based thermostats.  Though no longer made, many households still use them.  But if thrown away or burned, that mercury can get into the environment.

A new bill would require manufacturers to pay for recycling programs, and make them easy to use by the public. 

Amber Meyer Smith of advocacy group Clean Wisconsin…says it would be similar to the state’s e-waste recycling program.

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A Case of Influential Public Comment
12:00 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Wednesday: Natural Resources Board to Consider Van Vliet Changes

DNR's management plan for a small portion of the Van Vliets drew substantial public comment.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The state Natural Resources Board is set to decide Wednesday on a plan for the Van Vliet Hemlocks.  DNR officials are recommending the mostly old-growth parcel be managed with as little involvement as possible. 

The agency had originally planned to do some cutting on part of the site that didn’t fit the old-growth profile.  But after overwhelming public comment, the DNR changed its plan to passive management for the entire site. 

Chief DNR state forester Paul Delong says he doesn’t know whether the Natural Resources Board will approve the recommendation. 

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Rebounding Housing Market
2:34 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Up North, Slower Recovery for Some Home Markets

Home sales are on the upswing in Wisconsin, but the picture is more varied for the north.
Credit Casey Konstantín

Homes prices in some northern counties are not quite keeping pace with the rest of the state.  

The Wisconsin Realtors Association says statewide, median home prices went up almost eight percent in the first three quarters of this year.  But in Forest County, prices dropped almost 40 percent. 

Dave Clark, economist for the Wisconsin Realtors Association, says don’t panic.  Statistics in the northern part of the state tend to be more volatile.  There’s a smaller dataset and a wider mix of the types of homes that sell from year to year.

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How to Minimize ATV Risk
4:00 am
Mon October 21, 2013

ATV Safety Classes Could Reduce Deaths

Oneida County Deputy Brad Fogerty says ATV use is on the rise.
Credit Robert Thigpen

With ATV deaths hitting a high mark this year, ATV safety certification may be more important than ever.

Oneida County Sheriff’s Department helps put on ATV safety classes four times a year.  Deputy Brad Fogerty says his classes emphasize rules and regulations. 

“Rules of the road.  And what causes the majority of the crashes.  In every class I pull out the fatality sheet, and we actually go through each of them, and look at, this is how people are getting hurt, this is how people are dying riding an ATV.  And a lot of it is just basic safety rules. 

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Running Out of Space
4:00 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Eagle River Police Have Loan, Still Need Contractor for Remodel

The Eagle River Police Department is getting a loan to pay for renovations. Police chief Mark Vander Bloomen says the department wants to create more space for evidence storage.  Right now there’s just one small room.

“We identified that we’ve basically used up our evidence storage area.  We’re running out of room.  A lot of that has to do with DNA evidence – we’re having to keep certain kinds of evidence for longer periods of time.”

Vander Bloomen says the building also needs some security upgrades. 

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Forest Management Controversy
1:53 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

New Plan for Van Vliets Goes Up For Approval

Controversy over a plan for active management in the Van Vliets has prompted the DNR to change its recommendation.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The DNR is changing its tune on a management plan for the Van Vliet Hemlocks.  The agency plans to take a hands-off approach to the 400-acre stand of mostly old growth trees.

Officials had originally proposed to actively manage a section of the forest that didn’t fit the profile of the rest of the site: meaning some trees would be cut in hopes of speeding the process of old growth development.

But community outcry appears to have changed the DNR’s mind.  DNR Chief State Forester Paul DeLong says officials received dozens of letters.

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Forest County Land Acquisition
3:36 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

BCPL Buys 1K Acres From Plum Creek

BCPL says the land purchased from Plum Creek features a lot of hardwoods.
Credit Joshua Mayer

Plum Creek timber company is selling a thousand acres in Forest County to a state agency. BCPL – or Board of Commissioners for Public Lands - is buying the land for one and a quarter million dollars.  

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Race-Based Logos and Mascots
1:00 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Lawmakers OK Changes to Indian Mascot Rules

Lawmakers in the Assembly passed a bill making it harder to force schools to drop Indian nicknames and mascots. 

The bill puts the burden of proof onto the group complaining of discrimination: instead of making the school prove it isn’t discriminating.  The Republican legislation also requires signatures totaling 10 percent of the student body, instead of letting an individual file a complaint. 

Supporters say it makes the process more fair.  Opponents call it discrimination.

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A Question of Speed
5:27 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Assembly Endorses 70 MPH Limit

State lawmakers in the Assembly have passed a bill allowing a higher speed limit on rural interstates.  The bill introduced by Republican Paul Tittl raises the cap on speeds to 70 miles per hour on some roads, up from 65. 

The bill says 4-lane interstates could one day have the higher limit, but only after the DOT does a one-year study of safety impacts.

Many Democrats in the state assembly complained the bill was fast-tracked to a scheduled vote.  Representative Fred Kessler of Milwaukee said key voices were missing from the bill’s public hearing.

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