Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Facing a lack of volunteers, White Lake group gives up ambulance service; will rely on Antigo for serviceSubmitted: 10/10/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Facing a lack of volunteers, White Lake group gives up ambulance service; will rely on Antigo for service
WHITE LAKE - About 40 years ago, Troutland Rescue Squad started shuttling patients from the White Lake area to the hospital in Antigo.

Troutland is about to make its last run. It simply can't find enough volunteers to serve as EMTs.

This fall, the city of Antigo took over primary responsibility for calls in this part of rural Langlade County.

Troutland President Jim Summerford said a lack of volunteers isn't a local problem or a state problem. It's national.

Summerford knows just about every person he treats around White Lake.


"It's sort of like you're treating family. We're a real tight-knit area, community here. I would say I know about 90 percent of the people [to whom I respond]," he said.

Summerford just wishes he could get more of those people to volunteer for Troutland Rescue. He's seen volunteers in the White Lake area dwindle to just a few dedicated members.

"It's not a volunteer community or world anymore," Summerford said. "Younger kids go to bigger cities for a job, and they're just not here to help out."

The city of Antigo ambulance service has been helping to fill the void by sending its teams to calls for more than a year. This fall, it took over service completely.

Antigo staffs its ambulances at all hours. But it's 22 miles away.

"The future is not grim. We're still out here. We're still going to take care of you," said White Lake Village President Joe Grennell.

Grennell said the remaining Troutland volunteers will serve as first responders in the area. They can't transport patients, but can provide care until Antigo arrives.

"If I have [first responders] out here, they're going to get to your house faster," Grennell said. "They're going to take care of you and get you ready to go in the ambulance."

Grennell heard worries from his community about the change. But he's worked with Antigo Fire Chief Jon Petroskey to smooth the transition.

"We're not like, it's going to be 30 minutes and everybody's going to die and this world is coming to an end," Petroskey said. "I think it's all going to be relevant and very similar to what they've been seeing."

"A lot of people had concerns, but I think they're starting to see the big picture now, [thinking], 'Well, it's not going to be that much longer. A minute, two minutes here and there,'" Summerford agreed. "Their response time is going to be really good, and we'll continue getting a good quality care with them."

Summerford admits Troutland's exit from ambulance service isn't ideal.

But the structure in place is better than nothing.

"If we don't have Antigo coming, there's going to be nobody. A little bit of a delay is better than no one," Summerford said.

Petroskey is confident the system will work just fine. He's more worried about the overall landscape of volunteering.

"It's scary stuff," the Antigo Fire Chief said. "The volunteerism, whether you're in the EMS and fire industry, or if you're in the Optimist Club, or the local Lions Club, volunteers in general are kind of falling apart."

Troutland Rescue is responding to 140 calls a year right now. This month, it will give its ambulance to Antigo for its use.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER -
The One for the Heroes lunch at Rhinelander GM-Toyota Saturday, gave people the chance to rub shoulders with first responders while also supporting their agencies.

Fire fighters, police officers and other first responders were treated to a brat or hot dog lunch while community members were able to make a donation for that meal. The money raised will go back to the departments that attended.

Those agencies gave tours of emergency vehicles and demonstrated equipment like drones and diving gear. 97.3 WHDG, a host of the event, attended the lunch with its Hodag Hot Wheel. There was also a bounce house for children who attended.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, event organizers believe they had raised more than $200 dollars.

+ Read More

STEVENS POINT - Emergency calls for help with "poison gas" brought police, firefighters, and paramedics out to a homeless shelter in Stevens Point early Sunday morning.  Crews quickly determined there was no danger.

According to our partners at the Point/Plover Metro Wire, police were called to the Salvation Army Hope Center on Briggs Street -- just west of UW-Stevens Point -- around 6:20 a.m.  People at the shelter were already evacuating the building.

+ Read More

MADISON - Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says he doesn't support banning abortions as early as six or eight weeks into a pregnancy, and would prefer that states have the power to determine whether abortion should be legal.

Johnson commented on abortion during a news conference with reporters during the Wisconsin Republican convention on Saturday.

Johnson says he supports a national law banning abortions after 21 weeks. Wisconsin has a 20-week ban. Johnson says he would also prefer that states get to decide whether abortion should be legal, rather than relying on the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized it.

Conservatives have been pushing strict anti-abortion state laws in Alabama, Missouri and elsewhere to force the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade.

+ Read More

MADISON - More Wisconsin grocers are asking municipalities for liquor license extensions so they can take alcohol purchased online out to customers' vehicles.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that Walmart and Pick 'n Save first started offering curbside pickup of beer, wine and spirits in the Milwaukee and Fox Valley areas in 2017. Other stores quickly followed, but the practice has been met with criticism that it could allow minors to buy alcohol or make liquor access easier in a state that's known to overindulge.

Neenah Alderwoman Marge Bates says curbside pickup could worsen binge drinking in the Fox Valley. The city has been asked to amend retail liquor licenses to allow for curbside pickup of alcohol, though it hasn't happened yet.

Wisconsin Grocers Association President Brandon Scholz predicts online grocery sales will grow rapidly.

+ Read More

MADISON - Wisconsin's Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says he doesn't know whether he will seek a third term, but if it was up to his wife he would retire.

Johnson spoke with reporters Saturday during a break in the Wisconsin Republican Party convention. Johnson promised in the 2016 election that it would be his last, but after Republican Gov. Scott Walker lost in 2018 Johnson has backed off the pledge.

Johnson says he's not ruling out anything in 2022, including a run for governor. But Johnson says his focus now is on the 2020 presidential race. Johnson is the only Republican in statewide office in Wisconsin.

Walker has also talked about running again in 2022. As for the possibility they would both be running for office that year, Johnson says "anything's possible."

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A flight over the Northwoods brings views of lakes, tree canopies, and small communities. The list of people who have traveled across the Northwoods skies is short, but you could in as little as six months. The Rhinelander Flying Service offers classes to aspiring pilots from all over the Northwoods.

Valerie Dalka is just a few weeks away from being able to fly a plane solo. She says flying is the easy part, landing is where she needs some work.

"Right when you're landing you have to do this thing called a flare and you have to pull back really hard on the controls," said Dalka. "And it's really hard to just continue pulling back that far."

She's been taking lessons at the Rhinelander Flying Service for years. 

+ Read More

MADISON - A three-judge panel of federal judges has temporarily blocked a decision forcing Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to be questioned by attorneys representing Democratic voters in a federal redistricting lawsuit.

Vos has appealed the lower court's decision to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Journal Sentinel reports that judges wrote in a brief order Friday that they were suspending the requirement that Vos testify and turn over documents until they further study the case. Vos had been scheduled to testify on May 29.

Vos argues he can't be deposed due to legislative privilege, which protects lawmakers from being sued.

The lawsuit by Democratic voters challenges the election maps Vos and other Republican lawmakers drew in 2011 that have helped the GOP keep large majorities in recent years.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: