WAUSAU - Congress banned the installation of lead water pipes more than 30 years ago.
Even so, at least 117 communities in Wisconsin still have lead water lines, and some of them are here in our part of the state.
Research shows drinking water with lead can lead to brain, kidney, and nervous system damage. Children are especially vulnerable.
In last week's State of the State address, Gov. Tony Evers declared this year the Year of Clean Drinking Water in Wisconsin.
"In the coming weeks, I'll be signing an executive order to designate a person at the Department of Health Services to take charge in addressing Wisconsin's lead crisis," he said. "We have to get this done."
At least 176,000 homes in Wisconsin get their water through lead lines, including thousands in our area.
Wausau has at least 5,000.
"When we replace our side for a leak or for any reason, we offer the grant funding to residents then. We try to coordinate the grant funding with our street reconstruction projects," said Wausau Water Operations Superintendent Scott Boers.
The city gives out the federal grant money, up to $3,000 at a time, for many homeowners to replace lead pipes. It has roughly $370,000 still available.
Rhinelander, Antigo, Eagle River, Park Falls, Marshfield, Mosinee, Schofield, and Wisconsin Rapids are among cities that also got federal money to address lead service lines. Each community designs its own programs for replacement.
Fixing the crisis will involve lots of money. It might also include some convincing of an older generation.
"A lot of older people that are in homes that have been there a long time, their lines work. They have been drinking lead-line water for 40 years and don't seem to be concerned with it," Boers said.
MADISON - The National Guard as a whole is made up of many multi-faceted individuals, coming from many different backgrounds and offering many different types of skillsets where training and knowledge gained inside and outside of their military careers are often brought to enhance the fight.
However, Forest Co. residents connected to employees at Nu Roc say the virus was present a few weeks prior to the county's first case.
Resident Jennifer Connor discovered after speaking to community members that two weeks prior to the county announcing their first confirmed case another employee at NuRoc tested positive in April
Witnesses at NuRoc, who wish to remain anonymous, did confirm that the administration brushed off that employee's COVID like symptoms as another illness and allowed her to continue working in the building until April 24.
That following week the employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
CDC guidelines state "if a healthcare worker develops symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), advise them to stay home from work."
Nurses and other staff stated that the employee's significant other tested posted for the virus prior and after speaking with administration they were asked to not share that information with their colleagues.
One stated "Corporate told us that the employer has the coronavirus, but not to say anything to anyone as we need to keep this real quiet. We were told by corporate not to worry."
Following CDC guidelines includes healthcare workers to report when they come in contact to a high or medium-risk exposure. Additionally they ask to exclude them from working for 14 days after the last exposure.
Knowing that information, Connor began to call multiple state agencies to warn of the potential outbreak at Nu Roc.
All nursing homes are required to report data weekly to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and CDC through NHSN according to the CMS and CDC reporting requirements.
After speaking with almost ten state agencies, Connor added in an email to Newswatch 12 that they had no knowledge of the spread and even admitted they had inaccurate data.
MADISON, WI - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proud to host the 8th annual Wisconsin Free Fun Weekend. Park admission fees, fishing license and trail pass requirements will be waived on June 6-7 to encourage Wisconsinites to take advantage of and enjoy Wisconsin's outdoors.
During Free Fun Weekend June 6-7:
- No state park admission stickers or trail passes are required. - People may fish without a fishing license or trout/salmon stamps. All other fishing regulations apply. - ATV, UTVs, and OHMs are exempt from registration requirements. Resident and non-resident all-terrain vehicle operators do not need a trail pass to ride state ATV trails. - Capacity limits remain in effect at some properties to limit overcrowding. - Visitors are asked to recreate responsibly close to home and practice social distancing.
Before heading to a state park, trail or waterbody near you, here are some additional things to know:
- Residents and non-residents will not be required to have a fishing license or trout/salmon stamps. - All 2020-2021 fishing regulations apply including bag and length limits. - Due to the public health risk, loaner equipment will not be available. Anglers should bring their own equipment and bait. - Only anglers living in the same household (i.e. family members or roommates) should fish within six feet of one another. - Events such as fishing clinics are canceled. - Anglers are encouraged to have a backup plan in the event there is crowding or unsafe conditions where they plan to fish. We encourage everyone to fish safely and responsibly. - Locate launches and shorefishing access points near you.
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