RHINELANDER - The Marathon-Oneida Bomb Squad takes action only once in a while.
But it's often involved in the most critical situations in the Northwoods.
The squad serves 28 counties across the northern part of the state.
It's often on the scene for not only bomb threats, but also hazardous spills, hostage situations, and other dangerous assignments.
"There are other threats to our communities beyond what we always had visualized in the past, and this is a response to that," says Lt. Chad Billeb of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department.
A critical team member of the bomb squad isn't a person - it's a $400,000 robot.
The robot is remote controlled, and can see, hear, and even speak through a microphone.
"What the robot does is it allows emergency responders, not just law enforcement but firefighters, hazardous materials teams, to go in and check out a scene or a situation without risking human life," Billeb says.
Dep. Dan Semmerling Oneida County Sheriff's Department Â»
"The safety there is, we're sending a machine down where we can stay remote, operate that, and stay at a safe distance," says Oneida County Deputy Dan Semmerling.
But the bomb squad is much more than just the robot.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People from all over the Northwoods celebrated Earth Day today. Students at Lac du Flambeau school participated in a natural resources fair today.
Classes, groups and individual students submitted projects to be judged. By doing the projects they learned the importance of Earth Day.
“Polluting could harm the earth and if that harms the earth later on we won't have a better earth to do stuff on like camping, or fishing, hiking and taking walks,” says Sky Risingsun, a Lac du Flambeau student.
35 projects were judged in the science competition. Each student was given a white spruce seed to take home and plant in their own yard.
“It's a white spruce which is a native tree to this area,” says Bryan Hoover, Lac du Flambeau Energy and Air Quality Coordinator. “We've got almost 500 of them and every student is going to take one home so that they can pick a spot in their yard to plant the new tree and watch that tree grow as it matures.”
NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.
Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.
“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”
It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.
“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”
In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.
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