NEWS STORIES

Early start to flu seasonSubmitted: 11/21/2013
MADISON - Get ready for aches and fever.

State health officials say the flu season is starting earlier than usual in Wisconsin.

Fifteen people have been hospitalized so far across the state.

About half are in Milwaukee County.

25 flu cases have been confirmed statewide.

The Wisconsin Division of Public Health says there's plenty of flu vaccine available.

Last year's flu season peaked in late December and was the earliest in nearly a decade.

Usually, the flu season doesn't peak until late January or early February.

No one went to the hospital for flu before January the last couple of years.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)


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Merrill looks to identify mission, major issues, future plans in first-ever strategic planSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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Where does it hope to go in the next few decades?

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2 fined for mistreating dairy cowsSubmitted: 04/22/2014

GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.

Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.

Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.

Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.

Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.

A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.

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Raising awareness about alcohol useSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.

Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.

“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”

It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.

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In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.

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"Maybe they have diabetes and their spouse has heart disease. Or other people in the family may have a different disease," said Mary Sikora-Petersen, a Registered dietician. "They want to know, how [to] cook a meal that's going to be for everybody in the family."

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Last year, there were 153 reported cases of tick-borne illnesses in Oneida County alone.

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