RHINELANDER - Helium-filled balloons will cost a little more this Valentine's Day. There's a helium shortage. And some florists are worried about their store's biggest shopping day of the year.
Forth Floral Owner Ruth Hempel has seen helium prices rise over the past year. But her store is doing all they can to keep prices low.
"We've tried to do a better job on finding better deals on the actual balloons themselves to offset the increase. At this time of the year though, because it's Valentine's Day, the little bit extra they might have to pay usually isn't a big deal. For most, especially guys, if they want that balloon they're going to buy it."
Some parts of the country are out completely. Hempel said her business could deal without, but having balloons is an added perk.
"It's just that added exclamation point on the bouquet so as long as we can continue to do it we're going to hope we can. But if it gets to that point we're just going to have to find some other thing that gives that little punch."
Helium is also used for welding, medical devices, and some computer parts.
MADISON - A new report shows Wisconsin's unemployment rate hit a record low in February.
The state Department of Workforce Development released data Thursday that shows the unemployment rate dipped to 2.9 percent in February, down 0.2 percent from January to mark a record low. The previous record was 3 percent unemployment in July 1999.
MADISON - The Wisconsin State Patrol says it saw more drugged drivers on the roads and had a significant increase in drug arrests from 2016 to 2017.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the State Patrol saw a 20 percent increase in drug arrests during that time period, with fewer than 2,900 arrests in 2016 to more than 3,400 last year. A drug arrest involves the possession of illegal narcotics or paraphernalia.
HARSHAW - Rhinelander charter school students mixed in math with science, social studies, and reading projects on Thursday.
Northwoods Community Elementary School hosted parents to show off their work. Some classes did the math to plot out a vegetable garden. Others did research on Wisconsin counties and planned a weeklong trip there.
"I added decimals to count up all my rates for my bills, all the admissions to state parks, and renting," explained Oceana Patulski, who did a project on Door County.
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