WAUSAU - The process of building families and patients a comforting place to stay during long-term hospital care got started in Wausau on Tuesday in an unconventional way. Instead of a "groundbreaking," Aspirus held a "wall-breaking" ceremony.
The hospital invited staff to smash a hole in the drywall inside a building that will get converted into a "Family House." Aspirus held a brief ceremony before the smashing at the facility on Westhill Drive.
Aspirus raised more than $4 million to make the 10-room, 10,000 square foot building a possibility. Five of the rooms are for shorter stays, while the other five are suite-style for treatments that can last weeks or months.
The hospital rolled out its plans in January, then bought an existing building right across the street.
"Best practice would dictate that you're not in the hospital, but very close," Aspirus Wausau Hospital President Darrell Lentz said. "The fact that you can see the hospital from the windows brings comfort, not only to patients, families, but also the medical community providing care."
Patients and families will be able to stay in the building for free, but there is a suggested small donation.
Lentz says the service will mean fewer people needing to rent hotels or even stay in RVs.
"Having a facility where they can stay for free is very comforting," Lentz said. "It takes a lot of stress away and they can focus on healing."
Renovations will run through the rest of the year, with a grand opening planned for January 2020. Lentz says there is room for expansion into the parking lot. The hospital could add six to eight rooms, if needed.
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.
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.
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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