You can help the Health Department track West Nile in Oneida CountySubmitted: 07/19/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

RHINELANDER - A dead crow in Woodruff tested positive for West Nile Virus. It's the first positive test in Oneida County this year.

Mosquitoes that bite a sick bird can transmit the virus to people. Eighty percent of people with the virus never show any signs. But if you do, you'll have symptoms like fever, muscle aches and headache.

People with suppressed immune systems, the elderly and the very young are the highest risk for serious complications.

"If a person really gets sick from the West Nile Virus then they've got central nervous system problems. And that means Encephalitis and problems where they're going to end up having brain swelling, going into a coma, or paralysis, or something else serious. It could be fatal," says Charlotte Ahrens, an Oneida County Public Health Nurse.

Mosquitoes are just a part of life here in the Northwoods. But the Oneida County Health Department says people living where West Nile has been found should try to avoid getting bitten. Prevention goes beyond using bug spray.

"They really should look around at their gutters, and planters and their bird baths and make sure they're emptied out and that you don't have stagnant water sitting around. Because these mosquitoes are the type that really love that stagnant water that's sitting around for breeding areas," says Ahrens.

It's also really important to report any dead crows, blue jays or ravens. Call 1-800-433-1610.

The state will test the birds. That helps them keep track of where the virus is moving.

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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ASHWAUBENON - Early interest in the Green Bay Packers' proposal for an entertainment, retail and residential district around Lambeau Field has the franchise already thinking of expanding its plans.

The Packers announced recently it plans to develop the Titletown District on 34 acres around the stadium, including 30 to 50 townhouses overlooking a public plaza.

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MERRILL - Firefighters need to be prepared to rescue people from more than just fires.

People can get trapped in tree stands, water, or a tight spot. 

Local fire departments respond to those emergencies.

Merrill's first Citizen's Fire Academy learned about these specialized rescues Thursday night.

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