WAUSAU - An early morning chairlift to the top of Granite Peak in Wausau had a dual purpose for Safety and Professional Services Secretary-designee Dawn Crim.
Along with Gov. Tony Evers, Crim got a closer look Thursday at preparations for the winter season. The duo also inspected ski lift machinery.
"All of the mechanics are working and he puts his stamp on it, he puts his stamp on our department and we put our stamp on the people," said Crim.
The Granite Peak workers who accompanied Evers and Crim on their inspection are among nearly 170,000 in Wisconsin employed because of outdoor recreation. The industry generates 17.9 billion in consumer spending year round.
"Ski areas I think provide a real solid anchor for winter tourism and enable tourism to be much more year round and sustainable," said Granite Peak owner Charles Skinner.
Soon, year round tourism will be a greater focus at Granite Peak. The state Natural Resources Board approved a revision of the Rib Mountain State Park master plan just last week.
"There's potential opportunities here for expansion of other outdoor recreation opportunities like mountain biking, additional hiking in addition to additional ski runs," said DNR section chief Missy VanLanduyt.
Granite Peak requested more than 150 acres for additional runs nearly five year ago. Evers said Thursday he says "can't imagine why we wouldn't want that expansion."
NORTHWOODS - Wisconsin's lakes have a lot to offer their visitors. But some, like aquatic invasive species, are unwelcome due to the damage they can cause to native ecosystems.
There's a growing effort to prevent, contain, and control the spread of these aquatic invasive species, especially this holiday weekend. As part of the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, volunteers will be stationed across popular boat landings, doing inspections and educating boaters on how to properly clean their boats.
"Any type of holiday weekend, especially the fourth of July when there's a lot more boat traffic, there's an emphasis on getting more awareness out there," said DNR recreation warden Justin Bender.
Aside from volunteers, most boat landings also have information posted on aquatic invasive species and the laws regarding boat cleaning. Citations for not properly cleaning your boats typically run $200-300.
- The U.S. headed into the Fourth of July weekend with many parades and fireworks displays canceled, beaches and bars closed, and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans' self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak.
With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors and local officials have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.
MADISON, WI - Cigarette smoking rates have dropped since Wisconsin's Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law went into effect 10 years ago.
In 2008, before the law passed, 20% of Wisconsin adults smoked cigarettes. By 2018, the rate had dropped to 16%. High school youth cigarette smoking rates dropped from nearly 21% in 2008 to nearly 5% in 2018.
State cigarette taxes were also increased during this time period and contribute to this reduction.
"Wisconsin is breathing easier today thanks to this law, but we know there are many people in our state who still smoke," said DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm. "We urge smokers to take advantage of the programs available to help them to quit, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people who smoke are believed to be more susceptible to the virus, and can become severely ill with it."
CRANDON - The Forest County Humane Society works around the clock to help animals find forever homes. But taking care of those animals during their stay doesn't just take a lot of time; it takes a lot of money, too.
The shelter got a helping hand, thanks to a $35,000 grant from the ASPCA. It's part of an initiative to help brick-and-mortar shelters improve their animals' quality of life.
Shelter director Angie Schaefer says that money paid for 20 new cat-condos, fencing for two new dog yards, and several other much-needed supplies.
"We're small, we're in a small community, so to raise that kind of money to get these items would have been quite a task. For them to step in and do that for us is amazing," said Schaefer.
Schaefer said the extra yards will allow dogs to spend more time outside and socialize with each other.
If you're interested in volunteering or donating to the humane society, visit its website for more information.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, LLC. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.