ONEIDA COUNTY - Oneida County now sees fewer babies that are born under weight.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, low birth weights in Oneida County are improving.
Low birth weight means being born smaller than 5.5 pounds.
Data shows the most recent low birth rate in Oneida County is 6.1 percent. That's better than the state's average, which is 7.3 percent.
Low birth weights often mean higher health costs and long-term developmental issues.
"They have to stay in the hospital for a while, and usually they don't let the babies go home until they're around five pounds, so that can be a while for some of them if they're born at a really low birth weight," said Dawn Klink, a public health nurse at the Oneida County Health Department.
The Oneida County Health Department thinks the better numbers are in part thanks to its programs, including its Women, Infants and Children program. It's a free supplemental food program for pregnant women and children up to age five.
Smoking and drinking, as well as air pollution and contaminated drinking water, can cause low birth weight
"And this year we're getting a ton of rain--we're getting a lot of bacterial contamination in the wells--so we encourage people to test their well water if they're pregnant or have small children especially," Klink said.
If you enroll in the WIC program, you can get your well tested for free. For more information about WIC, call (715) 369-6109.
MERRILL - A Northwoods school pulled off a big surprise on Friday to honor a few veterans. After months of planning, students and staff at Kate Goodrich Elementary got to see the payoff of all their hard work.
"It was like kind of overwhelming," said Wolfgang Lenk.
Lenk, Todd Annis, and Randy Perry had no idea they would be the guests of honor.
"To see all these kids and knowing how hard they worked selling all this, and now your name comes up that you're one of the three recipients, it was awesome," said Annis.
RHINELANDER - A scoop of frozen custard goes down pretty well on a humid day like the Northwoods saw Friday. Rhinelander's Associated Bank made grabbing a scoop an easy way to help others.
Culver's set up a mobile custard stand outside the new bank building on the corner of Lincoln Street and Oneida Avenue from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Fifty cents from every $2.50 cup sold went to Associated Bank's Children's Miracle Network fund.
The bank is hoping to raise $500 through its fundraisers for CMN this month.
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