WAUSAU - We teach our kids to look both ways before they cross the street, buckle their seatbelts, and never drink and drive. But our kids may be teaching us a safety lesson soon. When it comes to texting and driving, adults are worse offenders than teenagers.
Today, Wausau Police went to Wausau West High School. Instead of telling them how dangerous texting and driving can be, they showed them.
This simulator car has an accelerator and brakes, but doesn't actually move. Students who went in thinking they can get away with texting and driving found out otherwise.
"I think they do feel like they do a pretty good job. They might say, 'Well oh yeah I was speeding a little bit'. But they don't even realize the drifting and the danger that it could cause," says Maureen Pilsner, from the Wausau Police Department.
One of our reporters gave it a shot, thinking she did pretty well. But she hit two people, another car, and had two speeding violations.
"Anything that you're texting or reading over the phone while you're driving is not worth dying for or risking someone else's life so it can wait. Hopefully through people's passion on this topic more lives can be saved in the future," says Maggie Deloye, a Wausau West Senior.
The Wausau Police Department is offering the simulator to anyone in Marathon County who wants to learn the dangers of distracted driving. Officers will take it to businesses, schools and community events. If you're interested, you can call the police department.
TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.
The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.
The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.
Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.
Several Tomah VA officials — including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan — have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.
WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.
Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.
A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.
MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.
Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.
The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.
APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.
The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.
The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.
Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."
RHINELANDER - People deposited more than just money at a Rhinelander bank Friday morning. A blood drive at People's State Bank allowed donors to double down on what they gave.
Nurses from the Community Blood Center took donations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the "Give a Pint, Give a Pound" blood drive. For every pint donated, the Blood Center will give a pound of food to the Lakeland Food Pantry.
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