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Trying to pass bill on Pulse Oximetry for newbornsSubmitted: 08/02/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


Photos By Shardaa Gray

RHINELANDER - A high tech tool can help newborns with birth defects.

Many Wisconsin hospitals have it.

But not all of them do.

That's why State Senator Jerry Petrowski is pushing for a bill so all of them have one.

Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive method that monitors oxygen levels.

For newborns, it can detect if the child has heart disease.

The Centers For Disease Control says 30 percent of infant deaths are due to heart defects.

"I just really believe people that have children understand how devastating it can be to lose a child," said Senator Petrowski.

"When you can find out there is a problem and technology is there to fix it, that's the route we should go."

The cost of screening is four dollars per infant.

Petrowski hasn't experienced newborn heart problems in his family.

But he has friends who have.

"Sometimes they don't know about it until something happens to the child. So with that information ahead of time, medical technology is great," Petrowski said.

"It's come so far. We can fix some of the problems that are out there."

Petrowski says they'll be back on the floor in September.

The tougest part is to get this bill moved through Committee.

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AMHERST - The small town of Amherst recently broke ground to replace their aging dam.

The dam was built on the Tomorrow River decades ago for power to the local feed mill.

The Wisconsin DNR believes the structure does not meet it's 500 year flood criteria.

This designation gave the town residents a choice.

"The determination of the DNR that the dam had to meet the 500 year flood lead us to the idea that we had to be able to release more water. The DNR basically brought this to the forefront and the village responded then," says Amherst Village President Michael Juris

This close knit town of just over 1000 residents took the decision very seriously.

"The residents of the village really had the opportunity to speak on what they wanted the vision of their village to be for the future. Whether to maintain the dam and the pond or to take it out and rehab it," says Juris.

Residents chose to keep the dam and thus the millpond.

With the decision made, the bidding process moved quickly and work has just started.

The new improved structure will use parts of the current one.

"Basically the stop plug structure of the dam is going to remain as it is because we found that in order to meet the 500 year flood requirements of the DNR we're going to be able to use the water that flows through the generating station," states Juris.

There were many options on the table and some that were just too expensive.

"It's been our determination that to dredge the millpond would be an expense that the taxpayers of the village at this time aren't going to be able to shoulder," says Juris

Still, bracing the structure to meet the DNR's strict 500 year criteria does not come cheap.

"We spent a fair amount of time in discussion before this decision was made because this is an expensive decision for a community our size. The original estimate was around 1.2 million dollars," says Juris.

Work moves quickly in Amherst as a completion date is set for this September.

"We expect that the substantial completion will be towards the end of August and with final completion early in September," says Juris.

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MADISON - The state Department of Natural Resources board has unanimously approved shrinking the number of counties where hunters can shoot only bucks this fall.

The board signed off Wednesday on a fall season framework that makes 10 northern Wisconsin counties buck-only. That number is down from 19 counties in 2014 and 12 last year.

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WAUSAU - North Central Health Care blames an "undetermined device failure" for the alarm and lock down in Wausau earlier this month.

A statement released Wednesday said the internal investigation ruled out human activation or remote activation of the emergency alarm.

Earlier this month, emergency crews locked down the hospital and surrounding area after a "Dr. Black" emergency was triggered. That alarm indicates a dangerous person with a weapon. After searching the facilities, no sign of an armed person was found anywhere in the hospital.

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ASHLAND COUNTY - Investigators want to know what caused a car crash in Ashland County Tuesday morning that killed a Northland College student.

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ST. GERMAIN - The unofficial start to the summer season in the Northwoods will come this Memorial Day weekend.

That means our lakes will be busy and piers will be in use.

Pier of d'Nort steps up to that demand.

The idea for Pier of d'Nort came to owner Carl Surges after he installed his parents' pier.

The business started in Hartford, Wisconsin, in the mid 2000s. Then it relocated a few years later to St. Germain.

Now Pier of d'Nort is swamped with orders this time of year.

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But getting one isn't always affordable if you don't have insurance or not enough coverage.

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