WISCONSIN - It may not look anything like tornado season outside but the state still wants to make sure you'll be ready when it is. The National Weather service issued a tornado watch at 1:00 and tornado warning at 1:45 today.
"Taking these warnings and issues seriously is very important. If you do hear a tornado siren or your weather radio goes off, at least go to safety and find out what exactly is happening," says Ken Kortenhof, Oneida Emergency Management Director.
In today's world, it is important to be prepared for all types of emergencies. There are tools to help with that.
"One of the best things you can do for your family is buy a weather radio. The weather radio basically give you the information right as the National Weather Service is broadcasting it. So that's a very good tool for your family," says Ken Kortenhof.
With weather emergencies, there is some warning time to get ready. Weather forecasts can give us an idea of if something should happen during the day or night.
"The biggest thing is to be aware of the conditions. If there's a tornado watch or a severe thunderstorm watch be aware that that is, in fact, going on. That the weather conditions are right for severe weather to develop," says Ken Kortenhof.
No matter where you are, you should always have a plan for severe weather. That way you can always stay safe when the weather changes quickly.
EAGLE RIVER - Snowmobile trails open at 6 p.m. in most of Vilas County.
Local businesses that cater to snowmobilers look forward to a successful season.
The trails already have a lot more snow than they did last year at this time.
"Anytime you bring people to the Northwoods, whether it's just the snowmobilers, it's not only helping our business, it helps everybody. They bring family up so they'll go to the Children's Museum, or the downtown and restaraunts. They utilize all the area businesses," said Greg Cook from Track Side in Eagle River.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a bill that creates a new open crossbow season to run concurrently with the archery deer season.
Crossbow hunting had been allowed only for those over age 65 and those with physical disabilities. Under the new law, hunters of all legal ages and physical abilities can use crossbows to hunt deer and other smaller animals including rabbits and coyotes.
The crossbow season will be the same as the archery deer season, which runs from mid-September until the end of November or beginning of December, depending on the year.
Creating the new crossbow season ran into some opposition from traditional bow-and-arrow hunters who worried that allowing a crossbow would taint archery hunting. Walker signed the bill on Tuesday.
PELICAN - Pelican Elementary school will close Friday because of sickness at the school.
The school made the announcement Thursday.
Kerri Schmidt, School Nurse for the School District of Rhinelander, says she's mostly seen vomiting, nausea and headaches.
But some of those affected are showing other flu like symptoms like high fever.
"It's been cold out, kids haven't been able to get out for recess and we had concerts here." Schmidt said. "So anytime you get a large number of people getting together and the right transmission takes place, you certainly can have the breeding grounds for illness."
The school started seeing lots of kids sick Wednesday. They decided to cancel school Friday because even more kids were getting sick Thursday. All co-curricular activities are canceled in conjunction with this school closure.
The decision was ultimately a joint decision between the School District of Rhinelander and the Oneida County Health Department.
"We try to keep the healthy kids at school and send the sick children home," Schmidt said. "But when your whole day becomes continue more sick kids going home, you know the transmission is still taking place."
The school hopes the three day weekend will help stop the spread of the sickness. About 30 percent of the school's 295 students are sick.
Parents should keep their kids home at least 48 hours after showing the first signs of symptoms.
This is the first time since 2002 that a Rhinelander school has shut down because of sickness.
To stop the spread of illness people should: • Drink plenty of liquid (juice, water) • Keep the sick person as comfortable as possible. Rest is important • For fever, sore throat and muscle aches, use ibuprofen (Motrin) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Do not use Aspirin with children or teenagers; it can cause Reye’s syndrome, a life-threatening illness. • Be sure everyone in your home washes their hands frequently. • Keep the people who are sick away from the people who are not sick.
For more information, call your healthcare provider or contact the Oneida County Health Department at 715-369-6111.
RHINELANDER - When you’re celebrating the holidays that often means drinking.
Because of that, there are more alcohol-related accidents and deaths this time of year.
But the Oneida County Sheriff’s office wants to prevent as many as accidents as it can.
The Booze and Belts campaign runs through December 21. The campaign is part of the OWI enforcement grant the sheriff's office received in October.
Throughout the campaign, you’ll see three extra squads on patrol looking out for drunk drivers and people who are not wearing their seat belts.
Lloyd Gauthier, Oneida County Patrol lieutenant, says it's all about making the right choices after you've been drinking.
"We really want people to come and enjoy the holiday season, it's Christmas time here in the Northwoods. Whether it's a family coming to one of the resorts that we have here in the area, or just enjoying the different things that we offer," said Gauthier." "We just want people to make good decisions. And you realize that if you don't make good decision, that can affect other people."
Booze and Belts is a statewide program.
It puts more officers on the streets before the holidays.
The Department of Transportation reports that's when the most accidents happen. Lieutenant Gauthier says your choices can have a range of impact.
Gauthier thinks that's because of early celebrations like office Christmas parties and private gatherings.
"Whether it's a traffic crash where you end up killing someone because you're intoxicated, or you seriously injure somebody else, a family member, or yourself," said Gauthier. "Also driving too fast, with the winter conditions roads can change rapidly."
The Sheriff's department says more officers patrolling for OWI's will keep everyone safe.
The Department of Transportation reports most accidents happen between 7pm and 3am.
Vilas county is also participating in the Booze and Belts campaign.
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