Packers brace for bad news on Bryan Bulaga's kneeSubmitted: 08/04/2013
Story By Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers were hoping for the best while fearing the worst Sunday on knee damage suffered by left tackle Bryan Bulaga.

Sources said Bulaga was hurt at some point during the intra-squad scrimmage Saturday night at Lambeau Field.

He was walking afterward and was seen in the middle of the team's huddle after the scrimmage.

However, Bulaga reported a problem with one of his knees while in the locker room and received treatment. The players were off Sunday, when the medical staff continued to run tests in an attempt to determine the extent of the damage.

Sources said the Packers had concern that the injury was a torn ligament and would turn out to be season-ending.

Bulaga played 30 snaps from scrimmage during the full-contact practice. He took a nasty fall on the first series and got up slowly, and he appeared to be a bit gimpy and limped to a degree at various other times.

Still, Bulaga didn't miss a turn with the No. 1 offensive line.

Late in the practice, he lined up as the right wing on the field-goal protection team for one kick before tight end D.J. Williams replaced him for the bulk of the competition between Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio.

Bulaga, 24, has been performing well at left tackle, his new position after being shifted there from right tackle during the off-season.

If the injury is significant, the Packers would have two options.

They could move right tackle Marshall Newhouse back to left tackle, where he played all 1,103 snaps in 2012 and started 13 games in 2011.

Or they could keep Newhouse at right tackle and start rookie David Bakhtiari, their impressive fourth-round draft choice, at left tackle. Bakhtiari alternated with Newhouse at right tackle in the scrimmage and didn't have an obvious bad play in his 31 snaps.

Don Barclay, the late-season starter at right tackle a year ago, has focused on center and right guard in the last week.

Andrew Datko, a second-year tackle, doesn't appear to have made much progress this summer.

Tackle Derek Sherrod remains on the physically unable to perform list with a leg injury dating to December 2011. The coaches say Sherrod is close to being able to practice, but he has done nothing on the field yet.

Bulaga suffered a sprained left knee in September 2011 and sat out two games. Three months later, he suffered a sprained left kneecap and missed two more games.

Last season, Bulaga suffered a small fracture in his left hip capsule and was sidelined for the final nine games.

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MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods priest may never experience a mass as large as he did this past Sunday. It was Pope Francis' final mass in the U.S. during his trip. Organizers predicted nearly 500,000 people would attend.

Father Bala of Three Lakes was able to make it to Philadelphia for the mass. He was one of a small group from the Northwoods who made the trip, and he said it felt like an extremely personal gathering.

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