The Jackson County Forestry and Parks Department is pleased to announce the receipt of $24,350 in grant funding to be used for the development of wildlife openings on the Jackson County Forest. Contributing partners include the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in the amount of $17,700 and the National Wild Turkey Federation in the amount of $6,650.

Less than one percent of the Jackson County Forest is comprised of “productive” forest openings. Forest openings are critical in providing forage opportunities for wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse and the newly-established Central Forest elk herd. The openings also provide critical habitat for a host of non-game wildlife species which rely on grassland habitat for their existence.

Jackson County proposes to create approximately 24 acres of new openings on the forest.

Interested in growing some of your own fresh produce? Want to learn more by gardening with others? Tired of the deer eating the fruits of your labor?

The Spaulding Road Community Garden has a limited number of plots for rent. There are ten plots currently available. A community garden open house and informational session will be held on Friday, May 5 from 2-4 p.m. at the Jackson County UW-Extension office.

This will be an opportunity to ask questions about the community garden, make suggestions for the 2017 gardening season, find out what is new at the garden this year and meet the other gardeners!

Beginning and experienced gardeners alike are welcome at the garden. Often gardeners find lots of help and ideas from other gardeners.

Wayne K. Johnson, 62, the owner of Holy Smokes in Black River Falls and Tomah, was charged April 13 with four misdemeanors after selling and manufacturing unstamped cigarettes through his business.

According to the rolling machine readouts seized from Johnson's garage, 863,732 cigarettes were rolled between November 2012 through June 2016, which means he allegedly avoided $108,813 in state excise taxes.

Last year the Wisconsin Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Unit was tipped off to the unlicensed sales happening in the shop.

According to the complaint, when undercover officers ordered a large amount of the cigarettes at the store, an employee at Holy Smokes told agents that Johnson was manufacturing cigarettes with two commercial grade rolling machines in his garage and that any large orders would have to be made with him directly.

Young Debbie Proft used to enjoy watching her parents get ready to host herck River Country Bank, which used to be the Bank of Melrose. dad’s company Christmas party in their home.

Her dad, Jerry Proft, who started as a cashier and eventually became the CEO of the Bank of Melrose, enjoyed welcoming their bank family of employees and directors into their home.

Mom, Dolores, always enjoyed baking lots of breads, bars and cookies, while Jerry, known for being an excellent candy maker, made the candies for the holidays. Debbie also fondly remembers helping her Dad decorate the lobby at Christmas time when she was a child, “The big white Styrofoam letters that spelled out Merry Christmas and Happy New Year were fun to help put up along with the Christmas tree.

Whether stressed from the loss of a processor or low commodity prices or even just considering transitioning the farm to the next generation, Wisconsin farmers can benefit from helpful information and support.

Since the mid-1980s, thousands of farm families have turned to the Wisconsin Farm Center, which provides an extensive array of services to farmers, often in cooperation with the university, governmental or private sector.

“The Farm Center mission is help farmers with both the challenges and opportunities inherent in farming,” said DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel. “The center’s agricultural economic development consultants help Wisconsin farmers deal with the critical economic, business and social needs of farm families.”

Services include financial and business consultation, farm succession planning, farm ownership transition planning, conflict mediation, production challenges, legal and financial mediation, and other assistance.

A Wisconsin Indian tribe that has threatened to withhold nearly $1 million from the state because of a dispute over another tribe's casino expansion in Shawano County filed a lawsuit Wednesday to block the expansion.

The Stockbridge-Munsee filed the federal lawsuit against the state of Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker and the Ho-Chunk Nation, which is expanding its once-limited gambling facility east of Wausau.

The lawsuit seeks several potential remedies to the dispute, including declaring the state in violation of the Stockbridge-Munsee compact because it is not protecting the tribe's interests and rights in not having another tribe develop a class III gambling facility near its only casino.

The tribe also asks a federal judge to order a preliminary injunction blocking the Ho-Chunk Wittenberg casino expansion until the lawsuit is resolved.