Technology could help prepare for floodsSubmitted: 04/07/2014
Story By Kaitlyn Howe

Technology could help prepare for floods
EAGLE RIVER - Melting snow could mean flooding, but new technology in the Northwoods could help plan for it.

Vilas County has new mapping data they can use to determine if certain areas might flood.

They got the data, called LiDAR, last spring.

The county paid for a plane to fly over the land. The information the plane got was then used for an accurate map of the county.

"We contracted a flight and what this flight does is they send down laser pulses as they're flying, and they get returns from those lasers. And from [that] flight data, they are able to generate [data] for us," says Adam Grassl, Vilas County GIS Analyst.

Oneida County will also have LiDAR this summer.

LiDAR can create an accurate map even with trees because they use light to get the data.

"It's light and it can get right down to the ground, where sometimes if you go with a GPS it's hard to get data through the tree cover," says Grassl.

The map shows elevation of the land.

The county could use that information to plan where melting snow will go.

"You could model if we got a lot of snow here, is it going to run off this way, or is going to run off the other way?" says Grassl.

The data isn't just helpful in preparing for floods, it could also help with internet connectivity.

"Finding out where some of the best locations for the towers are based on elevation, or line of sight, tree cover," says Grassl.

The information can also be used for road planning, coordinating search and rescue, and utility planning.

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group working to maintain recreational trails in the area got some help in their mission. The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association received grants to help fund its various projects.

The group got two DNR Recreational Trail Act Grants totaled at a little more than $13,000. The WPS Foundation also gave a total of $1,800 in grants. The grant money will be used to help with multiple projects. 

One project is to construct a boardwalk over the wetlands of the Cassian Cross County Ski Trail. RASTA is also going to construct a new ski trail at Washburn.

For more information on all of RASTA's projects, visit their Facebook page lined below.

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ARBOR VITAE - Last summer the Northwoods LBGT community and allies come together to celebrate love, diversity and acceptance.

After last year's successful festival, the Rainbow Hodags planned an even bigger one for this year.

More than 75 people celebrated gay pride at the second annual Pride Fest in Arbor Vitae.

Lots of laughter, live music, and dancing filled the park. 

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FLORENCE COUNTY - Two high school students died in a car crash early Friday morning in Florence County. The wreck happened at around 6:20 a.m. according to the Florence County Sheriff's Office.

The vehicle was traveling north on County Highway N in the Commonwealth Township, when the driver lost control while making a turn. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway, and hit a tree, bursting into flames upon impact.

The names and ages of the Florence High School students will be released after notifications are made.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Back in the early nineties, an event in Lake Tomahawk gave thanks to veterans. This year, a group of community members decided to bring it back.

The Vets and Guides event invites veterans from King, Tomah, and other areas to come to Lake Tomahawk for a day of fishing, food, and a good time.

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MARATHON CITY - A truckload of huge, heavy pieces of concrete piping sat outside County Materials Corporation in Marathon City on Friday afternoon.

They won't be there long.

Soon, it will head for Racine County, one of hundreds of truckloads delivering pipes to the Foxconn site.

Gov. Scott Walker promised luring the electronics company to southeastern Wisconsin would help the entire state. He visited County Materials on Friday. It's one of 27 contractors in the state selected to help with the Phase One build of Foxconn.

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MINOCQUA - Owners of wooden boats describe them as labors of love.

"If you're going to own a boat like this, you have to have a commitment," said boat owner Marc Toigo. "It's not optional."

It's the kind of commitment Gordon Moore had when he helped start the Minocqua Antique Wooden & Classic Boat Show 26 years ago. Moore passed away in August, making this weekend's show the first without him.

"We're going to laugh a lot, because he'd want us to," said show organizer Al Hanley. "(Moore) had a great sense of humor, he was a truly unique individual."

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A Lake Tomahawk man pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a child.

Robert Aufrere was found guilty of third degree child sexual assault in Oneida County Court Friday. 

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