MOSINEE - This spring, Rhinelander voters approved raising their own taxes, with the money going to repair the city's cracked and rutted roads. Rhinelander's street struggles are not alone. The city is just one part of a bumpy road system across Wisconsin.
One survey found less than 10% of Price County's roads are rated "good" or better. Meanwhile, like Rhinelander, the City of Marshfield will ask for more money from taxpayers to fix ITS worst roads.
Those are just a few examples of the struggles in our area to build and maintain better roads.
Marshfield's city administrator says street quality is the number one complaint from people in his town.
"The long-term success is whether or not you can provide a good long-term surface 30, 40, or 50 years out that's going to be durable," says City Administrator Steve Barg. "That's the bigger issue, as opposed to just keeping up on the filling of cracks and the potholes."
People from across the area met in Mosinee Wednesday to discuss their own community's challenges with poor roads. Many complained last year's state budget did little to help transportation funding for northern Wisconsin.
"Some of the similarities we've heard is, one is, frustration. 'It shouldn't be this hard,'" says Craig Thompson, Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin Executive Director. "Other states are figuring out a way to fund their transportation system. Wisconsin hasn't been able to yet."
Wisconsin legislators delayed budget talks for weeks last year while debating the transportation budget. They ended up cutting millions from what Governor Scott Walker first wanted to spend.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander told residents this week its municipal water is safe to drink, responding to concerns of elevated chemical levels in city water.
On Monday night, the city said it had shut down Well 7 on June 24 after a test for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) came back showing excessive levels.
But on Tuesday morning, the Oneida County Health Department couldn't offer a similar assurance about the purity of private wells in the area.
PFAS refers to a group of manmade chemicals that may cause higher cholesterol, low infant birthweights, and lower female fertility, among other health risks. The manmade chemical is found in products like food wrappers, stain-resistant fabrics, and nail polish.
RHINELANDER - Running the master streamer on a Rhinelander firetruck gave Nick Heise a sense of control over an exciting situation this morning. The junior firefighter got the chance to do something he s never done before: go into a burning building and put out the fire.
"You can call us crazy, but we actually like to do it," Heise said. "Fire rolling over our heads and got to play with it and learn some stuff about fire behavior."
Rhinelander firefighters were practicing controlled burns along Ohlson Lane, just behind the Home Depot. Crews lit four sets of fires, with two on the top floor and two on the ground level, then burned the whole thing down and worked on putting that out.
RHINELANDER - The city of Rhinelander took a municipal well offline after its water was found to contain excessive levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to the Oneida County Health Department and the city.
Since that well is turned off, "the public water system is ok to drink," stated the health department release.
"Based on current, available information, we can conclude that the water is not considered a potential threat to health and is safe to drink," read the city's release.
Some studies have shown people with PFAS expose may be at risk of increased cholesterol levels, worsening response to vaccines, a higher risk of thyroid disease, lower fertility in women, and an elevated risk of high blood pressure in pregnant women.
RACINE - A Racine woman is accused of leaving her 3-year-old grandson in a hot vehicle while she shopped at the Dollar Tree.
A criminal complaint says police were called when someone spotted the toddler in the vehicle with the windows up Friday when temperatures were in the 90s. The complaint says first responders broke a window to rescue the boy who was "limp and very warm to the touch."
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