WAUSAU - In a three year period, police busted and cleaned up at least one meth lab in three-quarters of Wisconsin's counties.
The state Department of Justice says the state's meth problem is centered here in northern and western Wisconsin.
Attorney General Brad Schimel says his department has cut down on trafficking of Mexican meth into Wisconsin. Instead, he says, more addicts are making their own meth at home, which means his agents have to clean up meth labs.
"When our teams go in to investigate and clean up these lab sites, they are in full hazmat gear because each pound of methamphetamine produced creates five to six pounds of hazardous waste," Schimel said Wednesday in Wausau.
In those hazmat suits, Schimel thinks his agents look something like creatures from outer space.
"I'm expecting him to ask us to take him to our leader," he said with a laugh.
Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Alan Hunsader knows the signs of a meth lab as soon as he sees them. His job is to clean it up.
"It has to be disposed of safely and according to federal law," Hunsader said.
Disposal often requires a lot of waiting, like waiting for a hazmat company from Chicago to get there.
But on Wednesday, Schimel announced a new meth chemical storage container in Wausau. It will improve cleanup speed and reduce costs.
"This container here will house this waste until such time as a [federal Drug Enforcement Agency] contractor can come and take custody of the waste," Hunsader said.
It's one of six containers the DOJ placed across the state with federal money.
"This solution is truly simple," Schimel said. "It's a no-brainer."
Right now, it costs teams an average of $3,000 to clean up meth labs. The DOJ estimates having local storage containers will drop that cost to just $300.
TOWN OF NEWBOLD - Walking on top of the cap of an old landfill, Jackie Cody could see her dream coming true, almost as clearly as her bright orange disc she tossed around.
"This is a spectacular use, I think, of recycling land," Cody said.
Cody and her husband Pete showed off the specially printed "Rookery Run" disc golf equipment, which will come in handy for a grand opening ceremony this fall, about four years after the duo hatched the idea.
WISCONSIN - Expect to see extra publicity on teen dating violence in the Rhinelander area soon.
The "Dare 2 Know" campaign is targeting local movie theaters, radio ads, and social media.
One in five teens experience abuse in a dating relationship, according to End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, the group organizing the program. The group used input from teens to craft the campaign. "We're making sure that it really is a youth-led and youth-driven effort. We are really just the conduits for a lot of that energy and creativity," said End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin Associate Director Tony Wilkin Gibart
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin says obsessive or controlling behavior, especially using technology or social media, is common in teen dating violence situations.
CRANDON - Police still don't have Crandon's Patty Kirker in custody.
She skipped a court appearance last month in Texas. That was after skipping her sentencing hearing in Forest County in May.
Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono said Monday she's "still in the wind."
Earlier this year, a jury convicted Kirker of helping an inmate sneak narcotics into the Forest County Jail. After the trial, Kirker didn't show up to her sentencing hearing. Police later found her trying to cross the Mexican border at Laredo, Texas.
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