ANTIGO - More than 50 people met Saturday morning for a Langlade County Sheriff's Office drug presentation in Antigo.
The focus was on synthetic drugs, specifically bath salts, and their impact in the community.
Langlade County Sheriff's Office Drug Investigator Dan Bauknecht emphasized the physical impact of using bath salts.
He says the mood swing caused by synthetic drug can shift from friendly to violent in an instant.
It's something that puts users, family members and police in danger.
Police say that's because the bath salts essentially overload your nervous system. Mood swings can last for hours.
Bauknecht sees that more often when they arrest users.
"The real danger to these synthetic drugs is obviously they are not regulated because they're illegal street drugs," Bauknecht said. "The chemical compound is often times very different from bag to bag, even though its promoted to be the same brand."
Bauknecht started working at the Langlade County Jail in 1999. He says bath salts first started popping up in the area in 2009.
"I think it really got entrenched in our community and got entrenched in the outlying communities around us." Bauknecht said. "Then when it did become banned and people were too far gone on it so to speak to just stop because it was an illegal substance, so it became an underground substance."
The Sheriff's office hopes education sessions like the one they held in Antigo Saturday can help.
The goal was to let people know what is out on their streets. Bauknecht says the battle is more than just arresting users.
"This is more than just cops and robbers with bath salts because of the challenges with it and because of the catastrophic damage that it causes the person and our community, which is a trickle down," Bauknecht said.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, poison centers recorded 2,677 calls for exposure to bath salts.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Drug addicts can look nearly everywhere to get their fix, and sometimes they can get that by raiding their family's medicine cabinet.
That's why Lac du Flambeau police gave a drug presentation at an event for the elderly Thursday.
Police leaders wanted to show seniors what could happen if they didn't keep track of their medications.
"A lot of times the elderly and older population can be victims from this. As the younger children, grandchildren, things like that are you know coming in and taking their grandparents prescription drugs," says Sarah Keuer a nurse at Peter Christensen Health Center.
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.
WisDOT leaders hopeful for increase in Northwoods rail
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 don’t 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 - An Oneida County prosecutor can’t believe how stupid a move one Wausau man is accused of making in court.
“This case is unbelievable, it's hard for me to even fathom we had someone that I hate to say stupid, but I guess that's basically what it was,” says Jodie Bednar-Clemens, prosecuting attorney. “I mean someone who came into court, into our courthouse, into the courtroom carrying illicit drugs in their pocket and much less methamphetamine.”
30 - year - old Kurtis Cline was originally facing three theft charges. While in court for those on April 10th, prosecutors say he took a bag of meth from his jeans pocket. He tried to stash the drugs under his seat cushion, but an officer caught him.
“Pulled something out of his pocket and put it under the seat cushion it was so obvious to me that he was doing something I had to keep myself from laughing out loud in court,” says Kurt Kopacz, Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy.
Cline pleaded not guilty in court. He's being held on a $5,000 bond. He will be back in court next month.
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