CWD contaminated deer farm should be closed
-John Hagen, Rhinelander
There’s been a lot of talk concerning the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) recently found in a deer on the Three Lakes Trophy Ranch. This resulted in the DNR placing restrictions on deer feeing in three Northwoods counties. A situation took place this past summer on a “deer breeding” farm in western Wisconsin. On that farm in Fairchild, one deer was found to have CWD which initiated the killing of all 228 deer. Of those killed, an additional 23 deer were found to have CWD (10%)
The DNR has found little support in the actions they take to try to limit CWD. These same actions have been prescribed anywhere the disease is found which often times have proven unpopular and then are minimally implemented. My concern is allowing the deer farm (Three Lakes Trophy Ranch), to remain in operation while we in the Northwoods take the brunt of the restrictions. There are an estimated 425 deer on the 570 acre Three Lakes Trophy Ranch. With a concentration of deer that high it’s extremely likely other deer will be found with CWD. The disease, which is believed to be transmitted via saliva, urine, feces and contaminated soil, is difficult to eradicate. The causative agent is extremely difficult to destroy and remains in the soil. Recent studies indicate it’s transmissible via plants grown on contaminated soil so this farm will remain the perfect breeding ground for the disease even if the animals are destroyed.
Important to note: The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATPC) monitors the deer inside these farms while the Wisconsin DNR is responsible for the wildlife outside these farms. Unfortunately it’s been all too common for the deer, and the excrement or tainted soil, inside these facilities to make contact with deer outside these facilities and spread CWD.
Finding CWD on the Three Lakes Trophy Ranch is an unfortunate but all too familiar risk you take in the deer farm business. That risk and burden should not fall on local residents but unfortunately it has and it will have profound effects. Small businesses rely on the sale of corn and deer feed mixes will take a major hit. If you enjoy supplemental feeding to watch deer from your living room you will now be a criminal in violation of the law. If you enjoy turkey hunting, like my boys and I do, anticipate turkey numbers to drop with any hard winter since, to quote a wildlife biologist, “in the Northwoods, if turkeys aren’t fed, they’re dead.” And with all the talk of trying to rebuilt the deer herd in the Northwoods, that won’t happen in most areas without supplemental feeding. Even if you don’t like supplemental feeding, if you hunt in the Northwoods, you benefit from it. This isn’t a DNR problem, this is a deer farm problem and the huge deer farm lobby is strongly pushing their agenda. If you’re a hunter or simply enjoy watching deer you should provide your input NOW.
Many hunters feel threatened by anti-gunners and anti-hunting groups but the real threat to destroying our hunting tradition in the Northwoods is the artificial deer farm that brings CWD deer from all over the U.S. and Canada into our backyard. You can help stop the CWD spread by taking action. Contact your County Board members. They could start by restricting these farms like other counties and states have done. Contact your state and national representatives and local branches of your Quality Deer Management Association to put pressure on the Department of Agriculture, Trade and consumer Protection to stop the spread by closing facilities that carry the disease. Let’s not let what happened to our lakes with invasive species happen to our wild lands. Act now!
John Hagen, Rhinelander
County Treasurer talks taxes
Oneida County Treasurer
Oneida County taxpayers should have received their 2015 tax bills. If you did not receive your tax bill, you should contact the County or your local Treasurer. Oneida County Treasurer’s office can be reached at (715) 369-6137. Remember, State law states you must pay your taxes and pay them on time even if you did not receive a tax bill. You can also find the 2015 Oneida County tax information on the Oneida County website. Go to www.co.oneida.wi.gov. Click on Property Tax Information located in the center of the screen to access the information. 2015 tax payments will not be updated on this screen until the municipalities have closed their books in February.
You must pay at least the first installment listed on the tax bill on or before January 31st to your Local Town/City treasurer. If you miss the payment deadline, or if you pay less than the amount due, your taxes will be delinquent. You will be charged 1.5% penalty and interest per month on the total unpaid tax amount beginning February 1st. More importantly, however, you lose the option of making your second half payment in July.
Now is also the time to be sure you are certified for the Lottery and Gaming Credit. Please check your tax bill. The amount of the Lottery and Gaming Credit appears in the middle of your tax bill, right above the Net Property Tax calculation. If you have not received the Lottery Credit and meet the requirements, contact your local treasurer who will see that you receive a claim form or go to the County website and look under Departments, Treasurer. You must sign and return the form to your local treasurer before you can be certified for and receive the Credit. You are only allowed one credit. It must be property that was owned by you and was your primary residence on January 1st, 2015 to be eligible for the credit. This form must be in the hands of the local treasurer by January 31st to receive the credit off the current tax bill.
Oneida County Treasurer
Toilet paper and tar
-Thayer Davis, Tomahawk
Taxpayers of Wisconsin: The price of maintaining our roads and infrastructure in Wisconsin has become increasingly more expensive. The political climate at the state level would rather reduce taxes and borrow money to pay for critical infrastructure that is needed. Presently, the money that has been borrowed in the transportation budget is costing all taxpayers $1.43 for every dollar borrowed. Now keep in mind, it doesn’t matter if you drive 1 mile or 100,000 miles a year or drive at all, we all pay. The tax on fuel is designed to be an equitable means of creating revenue to pay for roads and infrastructure. The more you drive the more fuel tax you pay at the pump. We haven’t seen an increase in the fuel tax since 2006, maybe it’s time. When we travel out of state we pay in most cases a higher fuel tax and in some cases tolls to help those states maintain and build their infrastructure. Nobody likes to pay a tax! But consider this, if the gas tax was increased by just $.10 a gallon it has been projected that the state could generate $334.4 million in gas tax revenue for 2016 and every year after. (Information from: transportation budget at Legislative Fiscal Bureau). While our fuel prices are historically low, it would be an ideal time to increase the fuel tax and rebuild our infrastructure and strengthen our economy in Wisconsin. First and foremost, it would save money for the taxpayers of Wisconsin by not having to repay $1.43 on every dollar borrowed and invest in Wisconsin’s future now! Let’s face it, it’s going to take a constant stream of dollars to fix our roads not just toilet paper and tar!
Thayer Davis, Tomahawk