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NEWS STORIES

UPDATE: West Nile now also found in Vilas CountySubmitted: 07/19/2013
Story By Newswatch 12 Team

EAGLE RIVER - From the Vilas County Health Department:

The Vilas County Public Health Department reports a dead crow found in Vilas County on 7/9/13 has tested positive for West Nile virus. This is the first bird that tested positive for West Nile virus in Vilas County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.

"The positive bird means that residents of Vilas County need to be more vigilant in their personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites," Gina Egan, Health Officer/ Public Health Director said.

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds.

"Vilas County residents should be aware of West Nile virus and take some simple steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites," Egan said. "The West Nile virus seems to be here to stay, so the best way to avoid the disease is to reduce exposure to and eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes."

The Vilas County Public Health Department recommends the following:

• Limit time spent outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
• Apply insect repellant to clothing as well as exposed skin since mosquitoes may bite through clothing.
• Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.
• Properly dispose of items that hold water, such as tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or discarded tires.
• Clean roof gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
• Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, boats, and canoes when not in use.
• Change the water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least every three days.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs; drain water from pool covers.
• Trim tall grass, weeds, and vines since mosquitoes use these areas to rest during hot daylight hours.
• Landscape to prevent water from pooling in low-lying areas.

The majority of people (80%) who are infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, and fatigue. Less than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill with symptoms that include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, mental confusion, tremors, confusion, paralysis, and coma. Older adults (age 50+) and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk of developing central nervous system illness that can be fatal.

The Department of Health Services has monitored the spread of West Nile virus since 2001 among wild birds, horses, mosquitoes, and people. During 2002, the state documented its first human infections and 52 cases were reported that year.

During 2012, 57 cases of West Nile virus infection were reported among Wisconsin residents, the highest annual number of cases reported since surveillance began in Wisconsin. West Nile virus infections in humans have been reported from June through October; however, most reported becoming ill with West Nile virus in August and September.

The Wisconsin Division of Public Health will continue surveillance for West Nile virus until the end of the mosquito season. To report a sick or dead crow, blue jay, or raven, please call the Dead Bird Reporting Hotline at 1-800-433-1610.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

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EAGLE RIVER - The first-ever ATV & UTV Side by Side World Championship Derby finished up Sunday afternoon. 

Races started on Saturday and continued through the weekend. 

Spectators, racers and event staff all say they were pleased with how the event turned out.

"There's always going to be some nit-nat things that need to be changed, but I can tell you for the first event with everything we had going, it really went well," said Russell Davis, the Derbytrack's VP of Sales and Marketing. "And we're going to have some meetings afterward and obviously change some things, but we've got a lot of compliments, mostly positive, and we're excited to build on next year."

Event organizers estimate about 150 racers of all ages and from all over came to the challenge. Winners got cash prizes. The derby also had night events such as a mud run and a freestyle show.

Next year organizers hope they bring in more people.




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ST. GERMAIN - More than 11,000 people suffer from Multiple Sclerosis in Wisconsin alone.

The owners of Lynn Ann's Campground in St. Germain want to do something about that. They started the Woods and Waters Paddle last year race to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

It's an out and back kayak and stand up paddle board race.

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EAGLE RIVER - Wisconsin native Zac Zakowski won the UTV championship derby on Sunday at the AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack.

"Once you start doing this you can't stop," said professional UTV and ATV driver Zac Zakowski. "It's like a drug."

Zakowski started racing seriously when he was about 17 years old. The fun hobby quickly turned into a pro sport, a career and a lifestyle. He has been traveling to many different races since then, competing at the professional level.

"You kinda miss out on that stuff and you miss it but at the same time when you're doing this stuff, you don't," Zakowski said.

The sport is hard on the body and the wallet. Two years ago, Zakowski said while driving his ATV he hit a tree and tore his ACL in his knee. He was out for two seasons.

One thing almost all ATV drivers, pro or amateur, can agree on is the sport is truly a family affiar.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my family," Zakowski said. "I mean you can walk the pits and probably almost everybody would say they do it because their family supports it and they do it as a family."

"The lifestyle is tiring because you load up the rig and the trailer to travel thousands of miles to race for an hour or two hours depending on the race," said Zakowski's mother, Linda. "Then you load back up to go home. But once you get to that site on the track you're excited and you just can't wait for things to get going."

Zakowski stopped racing for a while when his mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. Now his mother is in remission and Zakowski participates in races that raise awareness for the disease.

"He paints his whole quad pink and has stickers on it," Linda Zakowski said. 

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WAUSAU - A garage fire in Wausau early this morning will likely cost about $7,200 in damage, according to Wausau Fire Battalion Chief Allan Antolik.

Antolik said it was a 12 by 20 ft detached garage on Pleasant Street.

The Wausau Fire Department responded to the call at 1:30 a.m.

The department says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

No one was hurt. 

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TOMAHAWK - A Tomahawk man turns his love for logging into woodworking hobby and business.

Wesley Bushor shows and sells woodwork out of his home.

"I don't consider myself an artist. I'm just, I'm a logger who likes to glue sticks together," said Bushor.

Wesley Bushor started working on his wood pieces about 20 years ago.

"Being a logger I come across things all the time that I like in the woods, and I decided I'd start building some basic rustic furniture, and I built a bed. A few weeks later it fell apart, but I was hooked from then on," said Bushor.
 
Bushor's house is his gallery, and you can find his work in every room. The result: a whimsical home that showcases his love for his hobby and trade. He's proud of the work he's done.

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EAGLE RIVER - The AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack's first-ever ATV & UTV World Championship Derby is in full gear.

Racers say they are impressed with the first-ever event.

"There's been really no ATV races in Wisconsin and for them to have us here and do this event, it's going to be pretty cool," said professional ATV driver Cody Janssen. "I'm pretty excited to be a part of it."

The warm weather is a welcome change to racers like Jay Mittelstaedt, who are used to racing at the annual snowmobile derby in the winter.

"It's really weird because if you've been coming here for however long and it's snow and ice and cold...now the grass is green and there's piles of dirt," Mittelstaedt said. "It's a little different but it's pretty cool."

Racers of all ages and skill dashed around the track.

For many racers and fans, the derby is a family affair.

"My husband took it up when he was a kid, he's been racing for almost 20 years, and we just finally got into it these last few years and thought it would be something for the kids to get into," said parent and racer 
Michele Grant. "And I started three years ago and it's a lot of fun."

Racers want spectators to see a good show.

"That's why I hope that hill is full today and I hope people come out and appreciate how cool this is," Janssen said.

The event continues until the championships on Sunday afternoon. 

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WOOD COUNTY - The Wood County 911 system is fixed, according to the Dispatch Center page on the Wood County website. The website posted this update at 7:11pm. 

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