ANTIGO - More than 50 people met Saturday morning for a Langlade County Sheriff's Office drug presentation in Antigo.
The focus was on synthetic drugs, specifically bath salts, and their impact in the community.
Langlade County Sheriff's Office Drug Investigator Dan Bauknecht emphasized the physical impact of using bath salts.
He says the mood swing caused by synthetic drug can shift from friendly to violent in an instant.
It's something that puts users, family members and police in danger.
Police say that's because the bath salts essentially overload your nervous system. Mood swings can last for hours.
Bauknecht sees that more often when they arrest users.
"The real danger to these synthetic drugs is obviously they are not regulated because they're illegal street drugs," Bauknecht said. "The chemical compound is often times very different from bag to bag, even though its promoted to be the same brand."
Bauknecht started working at the Langlade County Jail in 1999. He says bath salts first started popping up in the area in 2009.
"I think it really got entrenched in our community and got entrenched in the outlying communities around us." Bauknecht said. "Then when it did become banned and people were too far gone on it so to speak to just stop because it was an illegal substance, so it became an underground substance."
The Sheriff's office hopes education sessions like the one they held in Antigo Saturday can help.
The goal was to let people know what is out on their streets. Bauknecht says the battle is more than just arresting users.
"This is more than just cops and robbers with bath salts because of the challenges with it and because of the catastrophic damage that it causes the person and our community, which is a trickle down," Bauknecht said.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, poison centers recorded 2,677 calls for exposure to bath salts.
BOULDER JUNCTION - Pilots find very little room for error when they make a landing. Wings, flaps, and landing gear all need to work properly. Then there's the runway itself, which needs to be flat and smooth.
So, when pilots found ruts and divots torn into the grass runway at Boulder Junction's airport, folks were more than upset, they were worried about safe landings. Airfield president Jeff Long thinks someone used a pickup truck to do the damage. It happened right before the airfield's busiest weekend of the year, the Musky Day fly-in.
"To see somebody disregard that, disrespect that, and then again the safety, where somebody could get hurt that we're inviting up here for summer fun, doesn't make you feel very good," Long said.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander and Oneida County will consider borrowing $15 million to help develop a manufacturer in Rhinelander, according to an Oneida County Economic Development Corporation release Tuesday.
The money would help Rhinelander Coated Products start work inside the former Printpack building on Kemp Street.
MADISON - New state regulations designed to retain teachers are going into effect.
The package was published Tuesday. The provisions allow retired teachers or teachers nearing retirement to apply for a nonrenewable five-year license without submitting a professional development plan. They also increase the time that short-term substitute teachers can serve in the same assignment from 20 days to 45 days.
THREE LAKES - Pollinators play an essential role in the growth of plants, and it's not just bees that help pollinate.
Butterflies, bats, and even mosquitoes are pollinators, but those populations have been in decline in recent years.
"Across the U.S., pollinators have been seeing big declines," said Oneida County Conservationist Michele Sadauskas. "We've been hearing more and more about our honeybee pollinations. The monarch populations have had dramatic decreases. So we're seeing it across the board."
EAGLE RIVER - Cities across the Northwoods drop tens of thousands of dollars every winter on crack sealing roads. The Eagle River Airport is no different. The airport spent about $25,000 in 2016 patching up its main runway.
Arguably, that runway is even older than most roads people drive on. The runway was last redone in 1971. On a busy day, the 5,000-foot runway hosts upwards of 80 takeoffs and landings. Airport manager Rob Hom showed Newswatch 12 a number of places where the pavement is buckling and cracked. That can lead to dangerous landings for small planes.
"Relative to a car or a truck [a prop-powered airplane is] pretty light relatively speaking, so having a smooth runway is imperative," Hom said.
CRANDON - For some Northwoods families, it can be hard to find the money to pay for their kids' school supplies every year, but a back-to-school program in Forest County is giving children the supplies they need to succeed.
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