MINOCQUA - Most of us won't jump into a lake this time of year, but that's exactly what the Onieda County Dive team did today to hone their skills.
Divers know cold water raises the stakes when it comes to saving lives, but right now, the team is fighting to save itself.
Recently members of the Oneida County voted to cut the team's funding. A move divers say could cost lives- Every second counts in a drowning emergency, a quick response could save a life.
"The dive team has responded to scenes within about 17 minutes, and we've had people out of the water in under 20 minutes," said Bill Nichols, Oneida County Dive Team Leader.
Nichols says the team responds to an average of 10 calls per year. Just over half of those calls are usually to retrieve evidence- or bodies. But in cooler months they have a better chance of pulling someone out alive.
"…We have a good hour to work with for that ‘golden hour'. Hopefully we can pull someone out, and the survival rate is extremely high for that first hour," said Nichols.
Normally a person dies in about 6 minutes without air, but in cold water the body drastically conserves oxygen, especially in children. That gives rescuers a significant window to save a life. And makes drills like these, extremely important.
"If we can put them underwater in scenarios similar to what they may get called out to it'll increase their efficiency quite a bit," said Nichols.
Dive team members keep all their equipment in their cars, and pagers on hand ready to respond at a moment's notice.
If the county board eliminates the dive team's budget, they would hire independent divers on a "per case" basis to retrieve bodies. But as Nichols' says, that leaves an important function, dead in the water.
"The rescue portion would be gone. The opportunity to get someone out of the water in a short amount of time and produce a viable patient for our medic crews, would be gone."
Next week the county board will finalize next year's budget. The team hopes they'll survive budget cuts, and help drowning victims survive too.
LANGLADE COUNTY - Farmers in Central Wisconsin need to keep a close eye on their potatoes.
Agricultural leaders from UW-Extension received a report of late blight from a farm in Portage County. Late blight is a disease that can kill potato and tomato crops.
The blight was found last week near Stevens Point, and leaders are worried about it spreading into Langlade County. Late blight can spread out several miles though the wind and the water. Agriculture experts in Langlade say there are certain things that you can do to protect your crops.
"Go out and scout them, look at them, we would like you to also spray protectants," says UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Stephanie Plaster. "Home gardeners should be spraying a copper or chlorothalonil-based spray. There are also organic copper sprays available for folks that would like to remain organic."
NORTHWOODS - A warming climate could challenge many of the plants and animals that live in the Northwoods.
People in Boulder Junction learned about some of those risks at the Community Center Thursday night.
The speaker says even though we've had harsh winters these past two years, the lack of ice in the long term could impact fish, evaporation rate and skiing.
"Winter's kind of the limiting factor of the Northwoods. So when you reduce winter, those species that are adapted to being here in this kind of winter, they're going to move further north and actually follow where the winter is because, it's hard to believe, but a lot of species can't live in warmer temperatures," said Naturalist John Bates.
Wausau business man will spend 11 years in prison for fraud in 5 counties
NORTHWOODS - A former Wausau business man will spend 11 years in prison for defrauding more than a million dollars from homeowners and investors.
54-year-old Jay Fischer was found guilty of felonies of racketeering, theft, and fraud. He committed mortgage fraud through his Marathon County business Valley Title. He embezzled about $1million by failing to pay off old mortgages after homeowners got new ones. He did this to people in 5 counties including Vilas, Marathon, and Wood.
PRICE COUNTY - Vietnam War veterans didn't get the "welcome home" they deserved when coming home from the war. But now, more than 50 years after the conflict, in Price County they are receiving appreciation for their sacrifices.
The Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Trail was officially dedicated on July 17th at the VFW Post 8491 in Prentice. The idea came up at a Price County Commanders call, a meeting made up of all the post commanders and commissioners for Price County, and this monument is anything but 'little'.
INDIANAPOLIS - At least 20 friend of the court briefs have been filed in appeals of rulings overturning gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, including one by a group of churches and another by 10 states' attorneys general.
The brief filed by the attorneys general argues that society should decide whether same-sex marriage is acceptable, not the courts.
Another brief filed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and groups representing four other churches argues that marriage between a man and a woman is God's will.
MERRILL - Instead of just dreaming of being a firefighter, some children in Merrill actually got to try it out.
The Boys and Girls Club of Wausau went to Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill on Wednesday to explore careers in emergency fields.
"They're going to do one scenario where they're actually going to get put up into fire gear. And they're going to hook up a hose line on a fire truck and they're going to put out a dumpster fire," says Bert Nitzke, the Executive Director of Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence.
Student's putting out the fire's say it was more difficult than it looked.
"It's kinda hard cause like the hose is pushing back really hard," says Jordyn Schalow, one of the students that took part in the training.
Students also got to experience EMS and police scenarios.
ONEIDA COUNTY - Leaders in Oneida County want to know what you think of boathouses and piers on lakes in the county. The online survey they've put together could give them better information on the issues.
Planning and zoning workers say the two topics have been debated for years. Oneida County Planning & Zoning's Karl Jennrich says the county started allowing boathouses and regulating piers in 2000 when it rewrote its comprehensive plan.
The board looked at both topics a year ago, but didn't take any action to change current rules.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.