NEW AUBURN - With four sand mines in operation within a few miles of New Auburn public schools, district officials have taken extra precautions to keep silica sand out of the building's air system.
Superintendent Brian Henning says the district has been using higher-quality air filters at double the price, spending about $1,500 this school year.
West-central Wisconsin is a hot spot for sand mining and residents have expressed environmental and health concerns about the tiny sand particles generated by mining. The sand is mixed with chemicals in hydraulic fracturing _ a high-pressure process used to extract natural gas and oil from the ground.
Henning tells the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (http://bit.ly/HjCgBE ) school officials took dust scrapings from the air filters and sent it to a Madison lab for testing. They found a small amount of silica on the filters.
RHINELANDER - Thursday Rhinelander turned into the city of lights. The Light of the Northwoods kicked off its drive-through light show at Hodag Park today. "We never got to do anything like this when I was a kid," said volunteer Corey Passmore. However, Passmore's son will get the chance to experience a Christmas in a way his father was never able to. "As far as I can think back we've never had anything like this in Rhinelander," said Passmore. Months of preparation, hundreds of hours setting up, and more than a dozen creative minds helped create magic in Rhinelander. "Symbolizes an opportunity for community to come together," said YMCA of the Northwoods CEO Ryan Zietlow.
RHINELANDER - The initial emergency call -- someone screaming for help on a lake near Rhinelander Thursday afternoon -- sounded bad, but it appears it was a false alarm.
Search and rescue crews called in Newbold's air boat to search Lake Thompson around 1:45 p.m.
Pelican Deputy Fire Chief Norman Peterson said first responders first searched the west bay shoreline on foot. They then used the air boat to sweep the entire lake, but didn't find anyone, any tracks, or any places someone might have gone through the ice.
RHINELANDER - It costs nearly $240,000 to run Rhinelander's homeless shelter every year.
Frederick Place got an extra boost this month to help cover those costs with two grants totaling $8,000.
"With our just shy of $240,000 annual operating budget, we typically only get $40,000 from the state and federal government. So we are raising that $200,000 every single year," said NATH Executive Director Tammy Modic.
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