RHINELANDER - Independence Day and fireworks go hand in hand. Unfortunately so do fireworks and injuries.
So before you start lighting fuses, the Oneida County Health Department has a few safety tips. Their first tip -- just don't light off fireworks.
They'd like for you to leave fireworks to the professionals. But if you do decide to celebrate the holiday with a bang, the department has two major pieces of advice.
"A: we want to make sure that adults are the ones lighting the fireworks out of reach of children. And don't let the children ignite the fireworks. Never trust a dud. Let it sit and then douse it with water. Another thing would be always having water handy," says Rob Deede, an Oneida County Public Health Nurse.
Deede says letting kids play with fireworks is the biggest mistake people make. He also reminds you to follow directions on the packaging, never point a firework at another person, only light one firework at time and leave pets inside.
The Oneida County Health Department has more firework safety tips on their website- you can find that on our links page.
Each town has its own rules about which fireworks you're allowed to have.
Rhinelander has a ban on anything that explodes or leaves the ground, unless you have a permit. That means inside the city limits you can only use smaller fireworks that do things like make noise, and shower sparklers.
Police will be on the lookout for people breaking the rules.
"Our city adopts the state statutes concerning fireworks. You would be looking at roughly a $263.50 fine for a fireworks violation within the City of Rhinelander. Certainly, that amount can change if it's in one of the outlying townships or other communities within the county," says Ron Lueneburg from the Rhinelander Police Department.
You're responsible for fining out what your town allows. And if you let things get out of control and set something on fire, you'll be held responsible.
Captain Lueneburg recommends leaving the pyrotechnics to the professionals. Rhinelander's fireworks show will be Thursday night over Boom Lake.
ACROSS THE U.S. - A new proposal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would expand regulation on tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, not regulated already by the agency.
The proposal, which was released Thursday, would regulate hookahs, nicotine gels, cigars and e-cigarettes. The FDA currently only regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.
Some smokers turn to e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking. Medical experts donít know the full health impact of e-cigarettes yet. Leaders at the FDA want to get ahead of the trend.
The proposal would make e-cigarette producers register their products and show their ingredients to the agency.
MADISON - The start of a new short-term loan program that wasn't slated to begin until July has been moved up in an effort to help businesses hurt by recent cutbacks at Oshkosh Corp.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state's chief jobs agency, voted this week to start the pilot program earlier. It will provide loans or loan guarantees of up to $250,000 to companies for projects or expenses that may not be eligible for traditional financing.
The board says it was starting the program earlier in light of news that Oshkosh was cutting 760 jobs from its defense division because of budget cuts being made by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The loan program this year will only target businesses in Oshkosh Corp.'s supply chain
Dane County judge to hear Planned Parenthood lawsuit
MADISON - A Dane County judge is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging a 2012 law that sets out conditions for abortions.
The law requires a doctor to determine whether the woman's consent is voluntary and inform the woman of domestic abuse services if he or she suspects the woman is being coerced. The law also requires doctors to perform a physical exam before they can prescribe abortion-inducting drugs and be in the room when the drugs are given to the woman.
Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in February 2013 arguing the law is unconstitutionally vague. The organization argues its unclear how doctors should determine voluntary consent and whether doctors need to be present when drugs are dispensed or administered.
Judge Richard Niess is set to hear arguments Thursday morning.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Railroads give businesses a chance to move loads of material for a low cost. Loggers could use rail as an alternative to trucking material, but many businesses donít get that opportunity in the Northwoods anymore.
Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.
Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.
In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.
RHINELANDER - There was no severe weather Thursday, but sirens across the Northwoods were blaring at about 1:45 pm on Thursday.
That's because the National Weather Service held a statewide tornado drill.
It was part of their severe weather awareness week, and Oneida County took part in the drill.
"The sirens are only set off for warnings, in the city of Rhinelander, it's only going to be a Severe Thunderstorm Warning that is affecting the city area," said Oneida County Emergency Management Director Ken Kortenhof. "It's also going to be set off for a Tornado Warning affecting the area."
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