MANITOWISH WATERS - Farmers and anyone who hates mosquitos should be VERY thankful for bats. The journal ĎScience' estimates they provide US farmers with 3.7 billion dollars in pest control.
In nearby states though a fungal infection called White Nose Syndrome is killing them by the thousands. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is working on a plan for our bat population, but first they have to find them.
Bats are small, hard to see, and mostly silent to the human ear. However, with special sonar equipment we can hear them, and track them. The DNR wants to use this technology to study Wisconsin's four bat species most at risk.
"Those are the hibernating bats and those are the bats that are susceptible to White Nose Syndrome because it is a cold loving fungus that attacks and gets the bats during hibernation," said Licia Johnson with the North Lakeland Discovery Center, "Some do leave the state and go down to Illinois to hibernate where there has been White Nose Syndrome found in caves."
North Lakeland Discover Center has trained 80 volunteers so far to use sonar equipment to track bats. All the information they gather goes to the DNR's database.
"If we ever were to have an issue with our bat population, white nose syndrome infecting our bats and getting a large amount we would know baseline information of how many bats we had where they were located throughout the state, so if there ever was a reintroduction program necessary they would have that information."
For more information about the North Lakeland Discovery Center or the bat monitoring program, click the links below.
RHINELANDER - For better or worse, drivers in Rhinelander will get an extra week to use the Davenport Street bridge. The city's contractor for its downtown reconstruction project delayed closing the bridge for repairs to May 8th.
Crews first planned to close the bridge in mid-April, then pushed that back to May 1 due to weather. Now, weather has further delaying the month-long repairs to the concrete decking.
This is part of a larger project to finish up the downtown reconstruction, which began in March 2016. The city reconstructed 21 blocks, replacing underground utilities and modernizing the downtown area.
MINOCQUA - Police officers often meet people on their worst days: after a death, crime, or other bad situations. ¬†The Minocqua Police Department hopes some unpaid additions to their staff can help victims, families, and officers cope with those situations a little better.
The department is looking to add a team of clergy members to form a chaplain program. ¬†The chaplains would be on call and show up to scenes when needed. ¬†Chief David Jaeger had been considering the idea for a while when he heard about police in Oneida County using the same program.
ANTIGO - Pushups, wall sits, and sit ups may sound like a tough workout for most of us. But dozens of kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Langlade County did that and more as part of a national fitness competition Friday afternoon.
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