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Bits and Pieces for Feb. 22
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I vowed after the Bits & Pieces column where weather and the Farmers Almanac were discussed that I was done writing about it, at least until spring.

But how can you quit? Conditions here Thursday evening were not as bad as they could have been, but after one of the worst winters on record and Friday were simply another kick to the shins.

If you have any weather stories or pictures, drop me a line at adjfred@solarUs.net

Our page of winter pictures a week or two ago drew a number of compliments for the artists who contributed and the newspaper. We might as well have a little fun sharing, it may help some of the pain, at least it seems that way.

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My friends at the Watertown Daily Times started charging for the Internet edition of the newspaper a little over a week ago, but they continue to offer plenty of content for free — more than we ever did.

So, of course, the sale of the Web paper hasn’t roared off the starting blocks.

They came up as a topic because the introduction of new technology has made it possible for the Antigo Daily Journal to be purchased online.

This issue has been a Bits & Pieces discussion topic for a few years and there has been interest expressed by readers in remote areas of Langlade and surrounding counties, where motor route delivery is not a real option.

It is also an interesting item among our snowbirds, who head out of here as the leaves come down in the fall and linger in the South until the ice is off the lakes.

They miss their newspapers, and the U.S. Postal Service has not figured out how to get them there on time — and the situation is only getting worse.

We can’t even serve our customers in the Mountain, Lakewood and Townsend areas because of erratic service. There have been cancellations, so the Internet may prove to be an answer.

In the next week or so, I’ll have a sample to post. But I know newspapers have had a tough time making a change to a subscription system for the Internet — everything is free on the Web — isn’t it?

So it becomes a balancing act.

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At the annual meeting of CoVantage Credit Union Wednesday, a former Antigo Daily Journal carrier and her husband, on a visit home, told me they check the Web often to “keep track.”

Those visits get tough with the pay system.

A publisher friend told me people do get upset when the change is stipulated.

But believe me, I want to get along. There are between 3,000 and 5,000 hits on the current website a day.

In the next few weeks, we are facing challenging questions.

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Speaking of financial support of the newspaper, my sister, Mary Jo, brought to my attention, an article about the Fitchburg Star, a longtime newspaper in a suburban community not far outside of Madison. 

It shut down in 2009, and in this digital age, it is doing the unthinkable: Returning to print.

The former weekly paper will become a monthly, and will be circulated free to the residences and businesses in the community with the help of the city. The municipality is putting $30,000 into the project, which is being cheered and questioned.

People in the community welcome it, but there are skeptics who wonder if it can be an independent publication with part of the cost being paid by the city.

Certainly the government will provide articles and notices that it wants, and needs, to see in print, but there are vows there will be a hands-off policy toward the editorial operation.

Despite the assurances, much of the article showed concern about the subsidy and the potential impact. I suppose sort of a “kept woman syndrome.”

The newspaper article said the situation illustrates “the difficult realities facing the publishing industry.”

But there are 12,600 residences and businesses in the community, and hopefully this will be a launching pad to get things rolling again.

First monthly, and after doing it right and gaining the trust of the municipality and the people, it might return as a prosperous weekly. It defies some of the modern beliefs. —————

Langlade County is certain to have a drone visit sometime this spring or summer.

It won’t be hunting bad guys or firing missiles, but collecting data and taking photographs above agriculture fields. We have thousands and thousands of acres of them.

This week Riesterer & Schnell, a firm that maintains a major implement dealership in Antigo, announced it had signed an agreement with Precision Drone, an Indiana company, to provide helicopters service for agricultural purposes.

Waldo Riesterer, general manger of the firm, explained the drone is like a small helicopter and can fly at up to 400 feet in the air. It is capable of keeping a close record of crop variability and that data will help diagnose problems to determine how to improve yields. The information will be available very quickly, too.

Riesterer & Schnell will introduce the service, including the hexacopters, to agricultural customers throughout the state in Oshkosh on March 12 in Hangar C at the EAA grounds. You can get more information on that program from the Riesterer & Schnell folks in Antigo, 715-627-4455 or at the office at Clermont Street and Century Avenue.

A farmer I am not, but it would be very interesting. And sometime this summer, Riesterer & Schnell and Precision Drone will be working in the Langlade County area with a drone.

That will make a great news story.

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While I was hunting for an agricultural drone, there were a few new discoveries: They are made for hobbyists, too.

The machines I found will stay up between 15 minutes and a half hour on a battery charge and take pictures.

B&J Photo, a firm we use for camera equipment at the Journal, has a new model for $200, which flies seven minutes and takes video and still photos. Of course, the prices do go up as features are added.

I think it looks like fun — and perhaps a little trouble.

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There was a new experience this week, too.

I rode with a fellow who was plowing a driveway packed with heavy snow.

It was fun, but not something I’d love to do for hours a day.

I love to to new and interesting things.


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ANTIGO DAILY
JOURNAL
612 Superior Street
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

WEEKLY
JOURNAL
EXPRESS
612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

*Member WNA & NNA

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