Preventing Septic Systems From FreezingSubmitted: 01/16/2013
Story By Lex Gray

Preventing Septic Systems From Freezing
RHINELANDER - Bare ground, no snowmobiling, and freezing fingers and toes might seem like the worst of this winter's no-snow problems.

But there's one more - this weather might make your septic system freeze.

By the time temperatures drop this low, there's usually enough snow to insulate the ground.

That's not the case this week.

But you can still prevent problems before you have to call a service company.

"I personally am going to put hay over my septic system," said A-1 Septic Service owner Tom Arts. "A lot of people don't know exactly where their drain field is, or they don't know exactly where the pipe is that goes to the drain field. In a case like that, they're better off to spend a few extra dollars get a little bit more straw and put more straw down."

Putting down four to six inches of straw could save you thousands of dollars.

Another easy fix - reduce foot traffic.

Arts says a lot of people feed deer, let their dogs out, and run vehicles over their drain field.

"That's one of the worst things, because that foot traffic of deer or dogs or even people, for that matter, drives the frost down," he said. "It can create problems."

You'll know when your system freezes when the alarm goes off or when waste water backs up into your lowest point of plumbing.

That's usually a floor drain in your basement.

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RHINELANDER - The ground won't thaw for another month or so, but you can start planning your garden now.

You'll have to wait until mid-May to plant flowers, but you can get away with some vegetable seeds.

Bare root plants are also a good option for early-spring.

Those include apple trees, blueberry and raspberry bushes.

"We can help out here when you come out and make sure you get everything you need to get started.

It's mostly getting it established in the ground and you can just let it grow, says Beth Hanson.

Hanson Garden Village's Spring Preview is this Saturday and open to the public.

If you want to find out more about their spring planting classes, click below.

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MADISON - The entire state of Wisconsin will be placed under quarantine for emerald ash borer.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced the quarantine will take effect March 30th.

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MINOCQUA - People don't often realize what is going through police officers' heads when they arrive on a scene. Whether it's a traffic stop or a robbery, a lot of training and preparation comes before an officer can respond. The Minocqua Police Department holds a Citizen's Academy to show people in the community just what it takes to be a police officer. 

Michelle Littleton enrolled in the Citizen's Academy four years ago to see what a day in the life of an officer is really like. 

"I wanted to see behind the scenes to what they're doing each and every day," said Littleton, of Hazelhurst.
She learned there is a lot more to an officer's job than the public might realize. 

"They have a small window of opportunity to take care of themselves and protect themselves," said Littleton.
Now in its fourth year, the Citizen's Academy gives people in the community a hands on learning experience with situations like traffic stops, OWIs, and defense and arrest tactics. 

The eight-week course is a shorter version of what new officers learn in the Police Academy. Sometimes it can help people find out if a career in law enforcement is something they want to pursue.

David Wellman decided to take this year's course to see how law enforcement in Minocqua differs from in a big city. 

"I wanted to see if the smaller town police the training is the same, how they interact with the public and how things are done on a day to day basis up here with a smaller department," said Wellman, of Hazelhurst. 

Tuesday's lesson showed the students how dispatch works and how officers respond to a traffic stop. 

One of Littleton's favorite lessons was about how officers utilize their guns in a dangerous situation. 

"They set up a scenario, which was like a movie screen, where you'd actually walk into a scene and you had to determine whether or not to use lethal force," said Littleton. 

While the Citizen's Academy helps people understand what a day in the life of an officer looks like, it's also beneficial for the teachers to meet members of the community.

"It also helps me and some of the other officers. I get to meet some of the people I might not get to meet on a regular basis. It builds that trust and community relationships a lot more, I think," said Minocqua Police Officer Daniel Littleton.

The academy is held every year from March until May. Classes meet Tuesdays from 6-10 p.m. for eight weeks. 

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RHINELANDER - Chilly temperatures and gray skies greeted people in the Northwoods on the first day of spring.

Despite the near freezing temperatures, a team of two wanted to give you a reason to smile Tuesday.

Hometown Chiropractic chiropractor Grace Nash stood along Highway 47 in Rhinelander with her coworker holding up green signs with positive messages like 'Smile it's contagious.'

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MADISON - The Wisconsin Senate has unanimously approved an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan that would close the troubled Lincoln Hills prison by 2021 and replace it with smaller regional facilities.

The Senate voted without any debate Tuesday to pass the plan, which largely mirrors what the Assembly unanimously approved last month.

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RHINELANDER - Looking back on his 28 years as airport director, Joe Brauer says he has a lot to be proud of. 

"When we got the disabled passenger lift, the non-motorized one, we were very, very proud of that," said Brauer, who's worked as the airport director for 28 years. He's also been in the airline business for 20 years. 

Now, the longtime Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport director will be passing things off to a familiar face. 

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man's wallet will soon get a lot fuller.

Paul Webster is one of the lucky players who won $50,000 playing Powerball from last week's drawing.

Webster bought his ticket at Wagner's Westside Shell in Rhinelander.

Shell Cashier Brenda Novak says she doesn't know Webster, but hopes to meet him soon.

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