RHINELANDER - Until one year ago, the Northwoods avoided the deadly deer illness called chronic wasting disease.
But a positive CWD test on a Three Lakes game farm distressed many hunters, scientists, and wildlife watchers in the area.
This fall and winter, the DNR hoped to prove no wild deer were infected with the disease. It asked hunters to submit the heads of deer shot in areas near the game farm. It then tested those heads for CWD.
"Of all of the ones that we've tested, so far we haven't had a single positive in the wild," said DNR wildlife biologist Jeremy Holtz. "Hopefully, that continues. I expect it will continue and we'll get some good news."
DNR wildlife biologists still want to sample more deer near the Three Lakes farm.
The positive test in 2015 triggered a ban on baiting and feeding deer in Oneida, Forest, and Vilas counties, which started in January 2016.
"The concept of a baiting and feeding ban in areas where CWD has been detected is to take every step to reduce the spread of the disease," Holtz said.
This month, county deer advisory committees across Wisconsin may consider expanding the ban statewide. They could also consider letting bans expire in certain areas.
Right now, a positive test sets off a ban in nearby counties under the state's seven-year-old CWD management plan.
"It's not arbitrary. It's designed from the chronic wasting disease response plan that the state has. That was written to be a living document," Holtz said.
That plan is up for review this month, with public input from county deer advisory committees.
Local meetings may consider recommending additional hunting seasons in CWD-positive areas, but those proposals may not gain much support.
"The overwhelming response--from hunters, from chambers of commerce, from snowmobile groups--is that they wanted to keep hunting seasons the way they were," Holtz said. "They liked them the way they were."
Those meetings are open to the public. You can find your county's meeting by clicking the link below.
TOMAHAWK - After a bitterly cold November, road crews in Tomahawk enjoyed a warm up on Monday. But temperatures shifting above and below freezing this week will create perfect conditions for a lot more work. John Cole is the Director of Public Works for the City of Tomahawk. He says that pothole issues are something that his crew fights all season long.
"It's job security, it's not a good job security, but it is job security for sure because you always have potholes to fill," said Cole. "When you get that expansion and contraction, we get water in those cracks, and when you get the traffic and people driving on them."
In Tomahawk, Cole sends crews out every week to look for potholes and fill them. He also sends out crews whenever they get a call about a bad pothole.
RHINELANDER - It's easy to slip on ice, skid on roads, or get stuck in the snow.
One thing that also happens is joint pain from common winter activities.
Shoveling heavy snow is one of the biggest problems Rhinelander Chiropractor Dr. Tony Lowenberg sees causing this pain.
He said shoveling is a physical activity that can cause excessive stress on the body; especially for people who don't lift heavy often.
"Lifting and the twisting creates wear and tear on their body. Then [people] feel it as pain and then their muscles get tight because they are not used to lifting stuff," said Dr. Lowenberg. "It's more people that are not used a physical job, shoveling can be [troublesome]."
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander student made it onto her school bus and to class unhurt last Tuesday, but she almost didn't. A recent close call left Bowen Bus Service employees wondering if Rhinelander will be the next to see a student killed while simply trying to get to and from school.
On Hwy 8 last week a student was nearly hit by a truck at her bus stop, leaving the bus driver in disbelief. In a surveillance video from the bus, you can hear the bus driver say "That car like just missed you. That truck just missed her."
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