MINOCQUA - "This disease is called the great imitator for a good reason," says Jeff Waite.
Lyme disease can be good at hiding.
"Lyme disease is a bacterial type infection spread by a spiral keet, which is also considered a parasite. And it can be carried in the spit glands and intestinal track of ticks in this area. Particularly the deer tick," said Dr. Kurt Landauer.
Lyme disease can be a debilitating disease if left untreated. Northwoods father, Jeff Waite, knows that well. His daughter, Jennifer, got Lyme disease in 2003. Test results came back negative so she went untreated for years.
"The bacteria had had its way with her body for two and a half years and ended up getting into her brain and doing damage to her nervous system," said Jeff Waite.
Jennifer still battles with the disease.
So what's the best way to avoid going through what Jennifer went through? ... Staying informed.
"Knowing what the symptoms are is a must up here in the Northwoods. Because, you know, a lot of times you'll get bit by a tick and you won't even know it," says Jeff Waite.
Ticks that carry the disease are as small as a poppy seed. Checking your body for ticks is a good idea after walking in the woods. But you don't always catch every one. Watching for symptoms is often your only sign of Lyme disease.
"Symptoms to watch for are like a bad summer flu. Headaches, fevers, muscle aches and during the ticks season, I consider that Lyme disease unless I have something else to blame it on," says Dr. Landauer.
But not every tick carries Lyme disease. Most ticks need to be drawing your blood for 24 hours before the bacteria can be transferred. However, Wisconsin is still among the top ranking states for the disease. Northern Wisconsin is no exception.
"It's definitely a problem up here. We see a lot of Lyme's and mostly it's presumed Lyme's." –7 sec, Dr. Landauer.
Often the illness is only presumed Lyme's because the disease is hard to test for. That's why doctors stress knowing the symptoms.
"Be vigilant and think Lyme disease because typically, it's not confirmed in any way. It's a disease of symptoms, suspicion, and findings," said Dr. Landauer.
And that's why Jeff Waite takes so much time to educate kids … who spend lots of time outside. Because of his daughter's disease, Jeff commits his time to speaking with students.
"The kids are great, you know, they soak it up. There's not one of them that doesn't know someone who has had Lyme disease," says Jeff Waite.
But that doesn't mean we need to live in fear if we're well informed.
"The main thing is get outside, have a good time, check for ticks every day, and watch for the symptoms," says Dr. Landauer.
Those steps can help you avoid getting Lyme disease like Jeff's daughter Jennifer did.
ROSENDALE, WI - An explosion and fire at a cheese plant in Fond du Lac County sent one person to the hospital.
The sheriff's office says 36-year-old Travis Klotzbach, of Brandon, was using a cutting torch on an empty 55-gallon barrel in the auto shop at Knaus Cheese near Rosendale when the explosion happened just after 7 a.m. Friday.
EAGLE RIVER - Americans eat more than 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. That much thawing, handling, and cooking of turkeys means people can make mistakes.
The Vilas County Public Health Department wants to help people avoid exposing themselves to dangerous bacteria. It says frozen turkeys should always be thawed in the refrigerator or under running water.
"You don't want to set them out on your countertop for any amount of time to thaw them because that's when they're going to be in the 'danger zone.' The 'danger zone' is between 40 and 140 [degrees Fahrenheit], and that's when pathogens can grow," said Vilas County Registered Sanitarian Amy Springer.
RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Salvation Army hopes to raise $40,000 in its bell ringing campaign again this year. It reached that goal during the holidays a year ago.
Volunteers kicked off the bell ringing drive at Trig's and Shopko on Friday. Eighty-six percent of money raised stays in the Rhinelander area to help families in emergencies.
"We're very excited that we're keeping our goal at 40 (thousand dollars) this year, and we're hoping that people are continuing to be generous in helping us reach that goal," Rhinelander Salvation Army Kettle Coordinator Kim Swisher said. "People are friendly, they're excited, they're like, 'Oh, it's bell ringing time!' [That] always means the holidays. We're excited about that."
You'll see volunteers at Trig's and Shopko through the holidays. Bell ringing starts at Walmart next week.
RHINELANDER - Snow plows can't do their job very well when cars sit in their way. That's why Rhinelander's winter parking ban will return in just a couple of weeks.
Starting December 1st, cars can only park on designated sides of the street during the day. On even-numbered days, cars park on the side of the street with even addresses. On odd numbered days, cars must park on odd-numbered sides of the street.
UPDATE: The suspected shooter from a homicide in Tomahawk has been identified as Eric Lee Moen, 32. Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins confirmed Moen is being held in the Lincoln County Jail for a 1st-degree intentional homicide charge.
The Lincoln County Clerk of Courts reports Moen is being held on a $1 million cash bond. He has yet to appear in court, but an initial appearance has been set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Online court records show Moen was convicted of various traffic offenses. He was also convicted of misdemeanor battery in Portage County from a 2002 case.
Elvins plans to release more information Friday afternoon.
Tomahawk police identified the victim in the city's first shooting homicide in years. Friday morning, Police Chief Al Elvins announced Charles K. Ramp, 52, was shot and killed outside his home on W. Mohawk Drive Thursday night.
Police arrested the suspected shooter, a 32-year-old man from Wausau, but did not identify him. The suspect was found about 130 miles away in Lake Hallie, which is near Eau Claire.
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