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.
MERRILL - The Merrill Police Department need helping finding anyone involved in several acts of vandalism that happened earlier this week.
Brian Schwartz has lived in his home on River Street in Merrill for almost 10 years. His garage, his neighbor's garage, and the public service building down the street were vandalized. Schwartz reported the vandalism to police on Monday.
Schwartz says this is the first time anyone has vandalized his property.
CRANDON - Terri Burl wanted to ask more questions than make comments during Congressman Sean Duffy's town hall in Crandon on Thursday.
"Everybody's in the state of the unknown right now," Burl said.
Burl, a Republican, was thinking of her 26-year-old son in Oshkosh as she asked Duffy (R-Wausau) about health care concerns. She worries about tax penalties for her uninsured son and the GOP's lack of solid ideas to replace the Affordable Care Act.
MADISON - The Senate judiciary committee is set to vote on four bills that would impose tougher drunken driving penalties.
The Republican proposals would create a five-year minimum prison sentence for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and raise the minimum incarceration period for fifth and sixth offenses from six months to 18 months.
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