DNR Reports Increased Bear Activity in Early Summer Published on 06/22/2022 under News
Following several recent black bear sightings across the state, the DNR is reminding the public to take precautions to avoid potential conflicts this summer.

Throughout the year, there are periods when bear activity picks up including the early summer. At this time of year, the DNR notes that young bears are striking out on their own for the first time. Breeding season is also getting underway and adult bears will be on the move in search of a mate.

Bears have a strong sense of smell, and food sources will often draw bears in to a property. To avoid that attraction, property owners should look to limit food sources such as bird feeders, unsecured garbage containers, even scraps in your fire pit or grill.

If a bear enters your property or you encounter a bear out in nature, officials recommend remaining calm and backing away slowly. You can likely scare the animal away, but be sure the bear has a clear escape route before startling it.

If bear problems persist on your property, you can contact the DNR. Each year, with their partners, the DNR responds to around 800 bear-related complaints.

In Other News

One Dead, One in Custody in Langlade County Moped Crash
Published on 07/01/2022 under News One person is dead, another in custody after a collision involving a moped and a vehicle in Langlade County. According to the Langlade County Sheriff's Office that accident occurred Wednesday evening at shortly before 10pm. Responders were paged to Wilson School Road in the Town of Evergreen, east of Antigo. According to the initial investigation, a moped, driven by a 34 year old White Lake man, was struck by an oncoming vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The man's name is being withheld pending notification of family. The Sheriff's Office says the other driver initially left the scene, but he was located a short time later at a nearby residence. The 30 year old, also from White Lake, was taken into custody for homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. His name will be released once a criminal complaint has been filed. The crash remains under investigation.
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Local HS Bands Join Together for Rose Parade Invite
Published on 07/01/2022 under News While plans have been in the works for sometime, an all-star marching band comprised of area high school students received their formal invitation to play at the Tournament of Roses Parade in January. Commonly associated with the annual Rose Bowl, the prestigious parade in Pasadena,California actually predates the football game and is more than 130 years old. Around 400 high school band students from eight area high schools have joined together for their Northwoods Band entry. Among the participating districts are Wausau East, Antigo, D.C. Everest, Lakeland, Merrill, Mosinee, Northland Pines, and Three Lakes. The Tournament of Roses Association currently has ties to the Northwoods. President Amy Wainscott is originally from the Eagle River area. Back in the area over the holiday weekend, she officially presented the offer this week. In recent months, the students have been busy not only practicing, but fundraising to cover the travel costs. They'll be showing off some of their hard work over the Fourth weekend. The band will be marching in several area parades including the annual Powwow Days here in Tomahawk on Monday. We'll have our annual parade coverage on Monday as well.
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Be Mindful of Dogs During Fireworks Displays
Published on 07/01/2022 under News While we may enjoy the fireworks displays, our four legged friends generally do not. The Lincoln County Humane Society says that more pets go missing on July 4th than any other day of the year. Many of these cases involve dogs that run off because they're frightened by fireworks. That's why they say its so important to make sure your dog has a collar with an ID tag. If your pup is micro-chipped, ensure that information is up-to-date as well. Vacationers or seasonal residents may want to pick up an extra collar and write down your Northwoods contact information. As for the fireworks, it's a good idea to take a long walk in the late afternoon or evening to tire your pet out before the fireworks begin. Once fireworks start, your dog will be most comfortable at home in a safe and familiar environment. To make it more accommodating, they recommend closing windows and lowering blinds. Make sure your pup has plenty of water and toys to keep them occupied. If you know your animal will be distressed during the firework displays, the Humane Society recommends contacting your veterinarian. Some report that calming products such as 'thunder shirts' may also help.
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Operation Dry Water: Officials Watching for Drunken Boating Over Weekend
Published on 07/01/2022 under News Law enforcement officials will be hitting waterways across the state this weekend to make sure that boaters aren't operating while intoxicated. Launched in 2009, Operation Dry Water is an enforcement and education event dedicated to increasing public awareness about sober boat operation. Throughout the Fourth of July weekend, DNR staff and local law enforcement will be out on area waterways to ensure boaters are operating safely. Lt. Darren Kuhn is the DNR Boating Law Administrator. He says, "Alcohol use continues to be a leading known contributing factor in recreational boater deaths and a leading contributor in boating crashes." In addition to the enforcement of sober driving, the DNR says they will also continue to educate boaters about other safe boating habits such as the use of life jackets. This year's Operation Dry Water enforcement begins today and runs through Monday.
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DNR: Leave Fireworks Home When Visiting State Parks and Forests
Published on 07/01/2022 under News If you're heading to a state park this holiday weekend, the DNR is reminding people to leave the fireworks at home. Fireworks are prohibited on all DNR-managed lands. This includes state parks, forests, state-owned public hunting lands and fishing areas. One of the main reasons for this restriction is the risk wildfires. In their announcement, they note that most wildfires caused by fireworks occur during the weeks leading up to and after the Fourth of July holiday. Even though holiday favorites such as sparklers and fountains are not defined as fireworks per state law, the DNR notes even these do pose a significant fire threat, particularly near grassy areas in hot and dry weather. Those who violate the firework restriction in state parks could receive a $200 fine. Violators, or parents of juvenile violators, could be responsible for the total costs of putting out the fire and double the costs of associated damages. _____ We heard a similar message from officials at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest which also has a prohibition on fireworks on their properties.
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New 'Touch-a-Truck' Event in Tomahawk Sunday
Published on 07/01/2022 under News There's no shortage of tradition here in Tomahawk over Powwow Days, the annual Independence Day celebration. A new event will debut Sunday what will also serve to showcase plans for a new all-inclusive playground. It is known as Touch-A-Truck. As the name implies, participants will get a close-up look at the many trucks, business vehicles and other heavy equipment used across the area from fire trucks to logging vehicles. While the event is geared towards kids, interested adults may also learn a little about the machinery that helps the community run. The Sunday activities are a joint effort of Tomahawk Together and the City of Tomahawk. We were joined earlier this month by Cathy Schmit of Tomahawk Together. Their goal is to ultimately create an all-inclusive 'Dream Park' in Washington Square. After more than a year in planning, they've begun outreach and fundraising to make that dream park a reality. While the Touch-A-Truck is a free event, they'll be accepting donations while also showcasing their plans. They'll be stationed at Washington Park on Sunday from 10am to 2pm.
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Body of Missing Angler Recovered in Langlade County
Published on 06/30/2022 under News The body of a missing angler was recovered from the Wolf River in Langlade County. According to the Langlade County Sheriff's Office, dispatch received notification Monday evening of a fisherman who failed to return home. Responders were able to locate the man's vehicle in the Town of Wolf River, northeast of Antigo. A search was immediately initiated, continuing overnight and into Tuesday morning. More than 100 people from at least two dozen Northwoods agencies participated in the effort. The Sheriff's Office says search teams recovered the body of the man late Tuesday morning. The initial cause of death has been ruled accidental drowning. The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of family. The investigation is ongoing.
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Summer Cookout Costs about ~15%
Published on 06/30/2022 under News A Fourth of July cookout may cost a few extra dollars this year. According to the latest Wisconsin Farm Bureau Marketbasket survey, the average cost of a summer cookout for ten is just shy of $70.($69.74) That's up about $10 from last year's survey, and in line with the national average. The survey utilizes a 12-item menu of popular cookout foods like burgers and hot dogs, sides, and desserts, and the costs at more than two dozen stores around the state. According to the survey, agriculture has been greatly impacted by a variety of factors including rising fuel prices, supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine. They did offer a few tips to help keep those cookout costs down. Shop for sales as the holiday approaches. Plan a menu and stick to it. Avoid food waste. Consider a pot luck to help spread out the costs. The July Cookout Survey is part of the Farm Bureau's Marketbasket series. They conduct a similar survey in the fall for a Thanksgiving meal.
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Upcoming Landing Blitz Educates Boaters on AIS
Published on 06/30/2022 under News Local groups will join volunteers across the state this weekend in helping educate boaters on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Friday marks the start of the annual Clean Boats, Clean Waters Landing Blitz. The goal is to keep Wisconsin lakes and rivers free of aquatic hitchhikers. As part of the effort, volunteers will be stationed at various boat launches around the state to remind boaters that they can make a difference. These crews will be offering up demonstrations of the preventative steps boaters should take when taking out or putting in boats. As part of the campaign, they'll also have a limited number of "Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!" boat towels to distribute. Each year the DNR, lake associations and other related groups invest in a variety of efforts to reduce AIS. In addition to outreach and education, the groups have undertaken other projects such as cleaning stations at boat launches. These vary from brushes and grabbers to power wash units. Back to the Landing Blitz, it will run through Tuesday. Last year's efforts included more than 4,000 volunteer hours, 24,000 boater contacts, and more than 11,000 boat inspections. The DNR has additional information for Lake or River groups and other individuals who would like to get involved.
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Merrill Man Receives 16.5 Year Prison Sentence for Producing Child Porn
Published on 06/30/2022 under News A Merrill man has been sentenced to 16 and a half years in federal prison for producing child pornography. According to the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Wisconsin, 42 year old Jason Ridolfi pleaded guilty in March and was sentenced yesterday. Ridolfi was charged after an 2020 investigation after law enforcement received a tip about sexually explicit images of children uploaded to Google. Investigators executed a search warrant at Ridolfi's home, locating more than 25,000 images of child pornography included some he had produced. In handing down the sentence, Judge William Conley expressed concern that Ridolfi's behavior had escalated from possessing images created by others to creating his own. He also stated that Ridolfi needed to address his alcoholism and mental health needs to ensure he did not offend again. Following his prison sentence, Ridolfi also received 20 years of extended supervision.
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