WAUSAU - Lower gas prices this summer please most Wisconsin drivers. But those same low gas prices could be leading to more deaths on Wisconsin roads.
Sixty people died in traffic crashes during July, making it the deadliest month so far this year.
The total number of year-to-date traffic deaths is 16 percent higher than this time in 2015.
The Wisconsin State Patrol thinks several factors might be at play.
"Some of those factors are an increased number of holiday travel vacationers for the summertime," said Wisconsin State Patrol Sgt. Dan Gruebele, who is based in Wausau. "Also, due to the lower gas prices we've experienced and a stimulus in the economy, those are contributing factors."
Those lower gas prices might be encouraging more people to use the roads. The State Patrol says drivers can't seem to shake the habit of distracted driving.
"It just keeps continuing and continuing due to, maybe, generational differences where people are so accustomed to having smartphones in their life that they really can't live without it, even when they're on a short trip in their vehicle," Gruebele said.
So far this year, 338 people have died on Wisconsin roads.
Many deaths are also due to drunken driving. The state will start its annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign on August 19.
RHINELANDER - Donations to members of the military will fill the lobbies of local banks soon as part of a care package donation drive.
Rhinelander's Military Support Group kicked off its 19th donation drive this fall, partnering with People's State Bank for the third year.
"We have vets working for us, we have families of vets, a lot of our base is vets, that's just a strong community base for us," said commercial banking specialist Stacy Timm.
Nearly 7,300 items were donated in 2017 and 8,900 items were collected last year.
A brat fry earlier this month, raised just under 700 dollars to help send those donations to veterans and active duty service members.
Support group member LeRoy Eades said donations mostly go to Wisconsin service members who can't make it home for the holidays.
"A lot of them won't be home for Christmas, so this is just a little piece of Christmas we're giving to them," said Eades.
Peoples State will accept donations until Veterans Day on November 11. Donation drop-offs can be found at bank locations in Rhinelander, Wausau, Rib Mountain, Weston, Eagle River, Minocqua and Marathon.
ST. GERMAIN - Few things can ruin a Friday night fish fry in Wisconsin - except maybe a lack of fish.
"A lot of those Lake Erie perch are ending up on the plates of Wisconsin restaurants and Wisconsin suppliers, so when something happens to Lake Erie … then the restaurants and suppliers can feel that," said DNR Fisheries Supervisor David Boyarski.
Faced with a shortage of yellow lake perch, Cathy Kuske, DJ's Northwoods Family Restaurant manager, has found a way to combat the issue.
"When I ask the distributor how much they have, he'll tell me how many cases and I'll order twice as many cases as I normally do, just so we don't run out," said Kuske.
WAUSAU - After Gov. Tony Evers introduced a "red flag" proposal in September, leaders in the Wisconsin legislature never brought that bill to the floor. The governor revealed his plan Monday to get Republicans on the record about gun control.
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