MERRILL - Statistics show Wisconsin has one of the highest rates of drunken driving in the nation. That's why Lincoln County wants to take steps to tackle a growing problem: repeat OWIs.
Almost one third of all OWI arrests nationwide are for repeat offenders. The average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest.
It's a problem Lincoln County Judge Jay Tlusty is trying to battle with an OWI court.
Treatment court is something more and more counties across the country are trying.
Lincoln County averages 169 drunk driving arrests every year. Judge Tlusty says a good number of those are repeat offenders.
"Not only would this save money and the judicial resources that are used on it, but also hopefully someday prevent an accident where someone is on a repeat drunk driving situation," says Judge Tlusty.
Criminal DUI convictions already often come with alcohol abuse assessment requirements. But Judge Tlusty says this would be more intensive and their progress would be followed by the court.
"It's part of their sentence that they would be participating in this program if that's something they're prepared to participate in," says Judge Tlusty.
Start up costs will be covered by left over funds from a program that was cut earlier this year.
Judge Tlusty hopes the program will be up and running by spring.
Marathon, Price and Taylor Counties have started these programs and have seen some success. Judge Tlusty says success can be hard to measure.
"The one thing you can't measure is the negative, the things that did not happen because of this. You can't measure the accident that didn't happen, the injury that didn't happen, the death that didn't happen. You can't measure that," says Judge Tlusty.
MADISON - If all this snow melts too quickly, there could be severe flooding in areas of Wisconsin.
That's according to the National Weather Service.
Steve Buan, the senior hydrologist for the North Central River Forecast Center in Chanhassen, Minn., says the ripening flood conditions have been caused by higher-than-usual snowfall and frost depths nearing 8 feet in some places.
WAUSAU - Most magicians wow us with their tricks, but Magician Lou Lepore does more.
He teaches his audiences how to do some of the tricks he performs. He spent the last week as magician-in-residence at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau putting on magic shows and hosting workshops.
It was part of the museum's latest exhibit on Mystery, Magic and Mayhem.
Students from local schools visited him during his six-day residency as in-house magician.
"We had schools come in, and depending on the size of the kids, if it was about 20 or under we would do a class, an actual workshop with them and teach them magic," says Lepore. "You would teach them maybe a half a dozen tricks that they can use with friends and family and things like that. If it was more than 20 we did a show."
Lepore specializes in sleight of hand using items like cards or coins. He also dabbles in cabaret.
Lepore has been doing magic for more than 40 years, but this was his first time as an in-house magician.
"They said can you do an artist-in-residency, and I said I have no idea what that is, what do I do?" says Lepore. "They said you're gong to show your art form, being magic, and you're going to teach kids classes and do demonstrations and workshops. I said oh yeah, I've done that for fairs, festivals so I can do all that for you."
Two more magicians will perform at the museum through April.
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