RHINELANDER - Don't expect to get away with drinking and driving this weekend.
On a weekend when everyone's a little Irish, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office wants you to be more than a little smart.
Oneida County will beef up drunk driving and seatbelt enforcement the entire weekend. They're able to do that thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Sheriff's Lieutenant Lloyd Gauthier knows the holiday brings out many more people than an average weekend.
"The possibility of people driving while impaired, and that concerns us," Lt. Gauthier said.
"Our motto at the Sheriff's Office is we're committed to our community. And a big commitment is safety. Wanting people to get out and enjoy the time, have a good time. But take advantage of the programs that are out there through the Oneida County Tavern League, including the Safe Ride Home program."
That Safe Ride program is available at any participating Tavern League Bar. All you have to do is ask a bartender for your free ride.
Lt. Gauthier says people seem to be drinking more responsibly the last few years.
But he also points to a disturbing statistic: more than 500 traffic deaths in Wisconsin last year.
"That's why the DOT is so focused on getting these grants out each year," Gauthier said. "They see that there is a positive side to it with additional enforcement that those numbers are coming down."
The DOT gives out the grants based on where they see roadways that could be safer.
This grant is broad. That means Sheriff's Patrols could be on any road, both county and city or town.
RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.
There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.
"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.
All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.
"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."
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