WAUSAU - Imagine you're in a car crash - you pull out your cell phone and call 9-1-1 and expect someone to answer.
The dispatcher is always there, but seldom remembered after the call.
That's why this week, emergency dispatchers around the country are being honored for their work.
The dispatch center at the State Patrol headquarters in Wausau covers 18 counties and handles about 41,000 calls per year.
For the seven dispatchers at the center, every day and every call can be a new challenge.
“When they call 911 or they call the emergency number, they're usually in distress, something bad is happening. They don't just call 911 for the fun of it. The nice part of it is to be able to talk with people and calm people down and figure out what their problems are and get them the help that they need,” says Bert Nitzke, police communications supervisor for Wisconsin State Patrol’s Northcentral region.
After especially tough calls, dispatchers get together with EMS, firefighters and police officers to talk through the scene.
That helps them manage stress, and there is a lighter side to what's typically a very serious job.
“You always gets some strange ones,” Nitzke says. “I've had calls of naked pedestrians walking down the interstate. And, you know, the troopers ask, "Why are you walking down the interstate naked?" And they really have no reason, it's just a nice day and they wanted to take a walk.”
Nitzke says when you call 911, you can get help faster by staying calm and remembering where you are.
RHINELANDER - It won't be much longer before the Hodag water show gears up for the summer, but right now they need to make repairs to their building. Rod Olson says it may cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to make repairs to the building. To watch the video click on the video link.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Railroads give businesses a chance to move loads of material for a low cost. Loggers could use rail as an alternative to trucking material, but many businesses don’t get that opportunity in the Northwoods anymore.
Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.
Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.
In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.
ACROSS THE U.S. - A new proposal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would expand regulation on tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, not regulated already by the agency.
The proposal, which was released Thursday, would regulate hookahs, nicotine gels, cigars and e-cigarettes. The FDA currently only regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.
Some smokers turn to e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking. Medical experts don’t know the full health impact of e-cigarettes yet. Leaders at the FDA want to get ahead of the trend.
The proposal would make e-cigarette producers register their products and show their ingredients to the agency.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Drug addicts can look nearly everywhere to get their fix, and sometimes they can get that by raiding their family's medicine cabinet.
That's why Lac du Flambeau police gave a drug presentation at an event for the elderly Thursday.
Police leaders wanted to show seniors what could happen if they didn't keep track of their medications.
"A lot of times the elderly and older population can be victims from this. As the younger children, grandchildren, things like that are you know coming in and taking their grandparents prescription drugs," says Sarah Keuer, a nurse at Peter Christensen Health Center.
MADISON - The start of a new short-term loan program that wasn't slated to begin until July has been moved up in an effort to help businesses hurt by recent cutbacks at Oshkosh Corp.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state's chief jobs agency, voted this week to start the pilot program earlier. It will provide loans or loan guarantees of up to $250,000 to companies for projects or expenses that may not be eligible for traditional financing.
The board says it was starting the program earlier in light of news that Oshkosh was cutting 760 jobs from its defense division because of budget cuts being made by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The loan program this year will only target businesses in Oshkosh Corp.'s supply chain
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