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Wisconsin drunken driving deaths, injuries dropSubmitted: 08/08/2014
Wisconsin drunken driving deaths, injuries drop
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - Wisconsin transportation officials say drunken driving deaths and injuries in the state have dramatically declined over the last decade.

The Department of Transportation released data Friday showing the number of fatalities in alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin dropped 47 percent, from 348 in 2003 to 185 in 2013. The number of injuries fell 59 percent, from 6,445 in 2003 to 2,660 last year.

The overall number of alcohol-related crashes dropped 45 percent, from 9,007 in 2003 to 4,945 in 2013.

DOT officials released the statistics as law enforcement agencies across the state prepare to launch their annual ``Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over'' drunken driving crackdown. The effort is set to begin Aug. 15 and run through Labor Day.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River's Natalie Decker signed with Venturini Motorsports earlier this spring.

When she became a part of the group, she noticed they did a lot of events with PADD, People Against Distracted Driving.

She got involved in that cause by bringing it back to Eagle River for the UTV/ATV Championships.

Her and her family took the annual scavenger hunt and turned it into an event to bring awareness to PADD

Decker thinks her young age can help make an impact on other young drivers.

"It's not like we're 21 yet and drinking and driving. That's another bad thing, but this is becoming even worse. I want to hit all the young kids that follow me, even on my Instagram or Facebook," said Decker.

Once Decker gets across the serious message of PADD, then comes the actual scavenger hunt.

The participants in the event had some funny challenges.

"They had to do crazy stuff like get a picture with a purple sock and a high heel, and all these crazy things and stop at all the bars across Eagle River," said Decker.

If you would like to learn more about PADD, follow the link below.


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MERRILL - When you live to be 100, you often often outlive your friends and even family members.

Lenore Ehlert, from Merrill, turned 100 years old on Wednesday.

"Well, actually, it doesn't feel much different, it's just another day," said Ehlert.

While celebrating that milestone, she found herself thinking of her husband who she lost 65 years ago.

Her husband, Merrill Police Captain, Elmer Krueger was shot and killed while on duty in July of 1952.

"July 19th and he died about three days later," said Ehlert.

Records from that time show an officer's death didn't lead to weeks of ceremonies and salutes like it does now.

"After the funeral, everything was just kind of forgotten," said Ehlert.

But decades later, it's not all forgotten. Merrill police officers, members of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and other first responders were all at the party to show that they were bonded for life after the tragedy years ago.

"It really is truly, that Lenore is part of our family," said Michael Caylor with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

In addition to law enforcement, Governor Scott Walker, Congressman Sean Duffy and Attorney General Brad Schimel all wrote Lenore letters wishing her a happy birthday.

"It's quite an honor and I know part of it is for my husband and his memory," said Ehlert.

Elmer's memory was seen all throughout Lenore's special day.

"Know that you're part of the law enforcement family. Elmer was a brother, most of us didn't know him, but he's a brother nonetheless," said Lincoln County Sheriff, Jeff Jaeger.

She was surrounded by friends and family helping her celebrate her 100 years.

"If we're all to live as old and to be as loved as yourself, what a wonderful world this is going to be," said Caylor.

When asked for advice on how to live to be 100, Lenore said to keep your mind and body active, and to eat good food.

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WOOD COUNTY - A man died after a motorcycle crash on State Highway 54 East of School Lane in Wood County.

The crash happened around 4:41 p.m. Saturday in the Town of Cranmoor.

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TRIPOLI - The Tripoli Log Church celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. Most people say it's one of the oldest buildings in that community.

On Saturday, many people who grew up going to the church went back to celebrate its history.

"At four years old I started coming to Sunday school," said Elise Marheine who grew up going to the church.

"I was baptized here and I've been here just about ever since," said Skip Rice, who also grew up attending The Log Church.

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MERRILL - A $5 million facility that just opened in Merrill hopes to give people a place to learn more about heavy equipment and technology.

On Friday, Nortrax, a division of John Deere, celebrated the grand opening of a facility. Dozens of community members and officials were at the ribbon cutting.The process to open up the location on South Pine Ridge started a few years ago.

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MADISON - MADISON, Wis. (AP) - " The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's request to provide federal low-interest disaster loans for individuals and businesses affected by flooding.

The SBA will provide loans for up to $200,000 for damaged homes, $40,000 for damaged property, and $2 million to businesses for physical damage and economic loss because of flooding.

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NEWBOLD - Hundreds of people took time to visit the Newbold Fire Department Saturday for their annual picnic fundraiser.

The event featured plenty of food, raffles, face painting, and live music. This was the 49th year for the event.

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