NEWS STORIES

Dive Team Fights for Funding Submitted: 11/04/2012
MINOCQUA - Most of us won't jump into a lake this time of year, but that's exactly what the Onieda County Dive team did today to hone their skills.

Divers know cold water raises the stakes when it comes to saving lives, but right now, the team is fighting to save itself.

Recently members of the Oneida County voted to cut the team's funding. A move divers say could cost lives- Every second counts in a drowning emergency, a quick response could save a life.

“The dive team has responded to scenes within about 17 minutes, and we've had people out of the water in under 20 minutes,” said Bill Nichols, Oneida County Dive Team Leader.

Nichols says the team responds to an average of 10 calls per year. Just over half of those calls are usually to retrieve evidence- or bodies. But in cooler months they have a better chance of pulling someone out alive.

“…We have a good hour to work with for that ‘golden hour’. Hopefully we can pull someone out, and the survival rate is extremely high for that first hour," said Nichols.

Normally a person dies in about 6 minutes without air, but in cold water the body drastically conserves oxygen, especially in children. That gives rescuers a significant window to save a life. And makes drills like these, extremely important.

"If we can put them underwater in scenarios similar to what they may get called out to it'll increase their efficiency quite a bit," said Nichols.

Dive team members keep all their equipment in their cars, and pagers on hand ready to respond at a moment’s notice.


If the county board eliminates the dive team’s budget, they would hire independent divers on a “per case” basis to retrieve bodies. But as Nichols’ says, that leaves an important function, dead in the water.

“The rescue portion would be gone. The opportunity to get someone out of the water in a short amount of time and produce a viable patient for our medic crews, would be gone."

Next week the county board will finalize next year’s budget. The team hopes they'll survive budget cuts, and help drowning victims survive too.


Story By: Kailey Burton

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 IN OTHER NEWS
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MADISON - A Dane County judge is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging a 2012 law that sets out conditions for abortions.

The law requires a doctor to determine whether the woman's consent is voluntary and inform the woman of domestic abuse services if he or she suspects the woman is being coerced. The law also requires doctors to perform a physical exam before they can prescribe abortion-inducting drugs and be in the room when the drugs are given to the woman.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in February 2013 arguing the law is unconstitutionally vague. The organization argues its unclear how doctors should determine voluntary consent and whether doctors need to be present when drugs are dispensed or administered.

Judge Richard Niess is set to hear arguments Thursday morning.

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Board speeds up start of short-term loan program Submitted: 04/24/2014

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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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MOLE LAKE - You can drive along plenty of scenic stretches of roads across Northern Wisconsin.

However, the state of Wisconsin only considers one stretch of highway in the Northwoods as an official scenic byway.

Leaders in a handful of counties want to change that by earning a distinction from Wisconsin's Scenic Byways program. They held a public planning meeting in Mole Lake Wednesday.

The proposed scenic highway, The Wolf River Nicolet Scenic Byway, is a more than 100 mile stretch of Highway 55. It stretches from Langlade, in Langlade County, north to the Michigan boarder.

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State increases fines for parking in handicap spotsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

MADISON - It will soon be three times more costly for drivers to park illegally in a disability parking spot in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Wednesday increasing those fines starting Friday.

The new law will increase minimum fines from $50 to $150. The current maximum penalty of $300 won't change.

The law also creates a fine for building owners to not provide enough disability parking spaces on site. Building owners or occupants with at least 26 parking spaces must reserve disabled parking spaces or pay between $150 and $300.

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Outside agencies will investigate officer related deathsSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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Library requests bids for expansionSubmitted: 04/23/2014

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Design and Build by Visner in Eagle River designed the expansion plan they fund-raised for.

"I think there was some disappointment on the part of the person that created the conceptual design that we fund-raised with," said Library Trustees President Tina Koller. "But they've stepped up to the plate and are willing to participate in the bidding process. So this is where I think we can really move forward today."

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NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.

Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.

“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”

Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.

“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”

Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.

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