RHINELANDER - Bare ground, no snowmobiling, and freezing fingers and toes might seem like the worst of this winter's no-snow problems.
But there's one more - this weather might make your septic system freeze.
By the time temperatures drop this low, there's usually enough snow to insulate the ground.
That's not the case this week.
But you can still prevent problems before you have to call a service company.
"I personally am going to put hay over my septic system," said A-1 Septic Service owner Tom Arts. "A lot of people don't know exactly where their drain field is, or they don't know exactly where the pipe is that goes to the drain field. In a case like that, they're better off to spend a few extra dollars get a little bit more straw and put more straw down."
Putting down four to six inches of straw could save you thousands of dollars.
Another easy fix - reduce foot traffic.
Arts says a lot of people feed deer, let their dogs out, and run vehicles over their drain field.
"That's one of the worst things, because that foot traffic of deer or dogs or even people, for that matter, drives the frost down," he said. "It can create problems."
You'll know when your system freezes when the alarm goes off or when waste water backs up into your lowest point of plumbing.
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee County district attorney says he's confident the public will see he made a fair decision in not charging a white Milwaukee police officer in the shooting death of a black man.
John Chisholm said the officer, Christopher Manney, was justified in using deadly force when his encounter with Dontre Hamilton turned into a fight last April. Manney shot Hamilton 14 times after Hamilton got control of the officer's baton.
Chisholm said the release of the full investigative file will help people understand what went into the decision.
RHINELANDER - You can't find public radio stations as easily as you can find commercial radio stations in the Northwoods. That's because they're funded mostly by donations. However, one Rhinelander radio station has found a way to make it work for more than 30 years.
"The station came about as the result of a dream, really, of a fella named Peter Nordgrin who came from northern Minnesota at a station very similar to this one," said Ken Krall, news director and interim station manager at 91.7 WXPR in Rhinelander. "He realized that there was a hole in northern Wisconsin for public radio."
MILWAUKEE - Federal officials say they'll review the shooting of a black man by a white police officer in Milwaukee for a possible civil rights violation.
Dontre Hamilton, a 31-year-old man whose family said he was mentally ill, was shot to death last April in a downtown park after he struggled with Officer Christopher Manney. The Milwaukee County prosecutor announced Monday that Manney's use of force was justified self-defense, and he wouldn't be charged in the case.
RHINELANDER - A 23-year-old Wausau woman faces three charges for allegedly stealing a purse and using a stolen credit card in Rhinelander. Those charges include burglary, theft and credit card fraud.
Prosecutors accuse Brieanna Persike and Andrew Washburn, 25, of Wausau, of stealing a purse from an unlocked home on South Rifle Road in Rhinelander. The criminal complaint shows that Persike told investigators they broke into the home. She said it was after visiting Washburn's grandmother early on December 17th.
The two then went to Wal-Mart and spent more than $500 using the stolen credit card. The criminal complaint shows that the two bought a car installation kit, a car amplifier, a black BB gun, cat food, ice fishing equipment and other items just hours after the reported burglary.
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