BLOOMER - A Wisconsin family helped save a young bear that was struggling to breathe while swimming in a lake with its head caught in a plastic food container.
Tricia and Brian Hurt and their son, Brady, were fishing Saturday on Marsh Miller Lake in western Wisconsin's Chippewa County when they came across what they first thought was a swimming dog. They soon realized, though, that it was a young bear with a clear plastic cheese ball container stuck on its head.
Their first attempt to pull the tub off the bear's head failed, but another try was successful. They captured the rescue on video.
"That was the thing I remember most, is that bear panting heavily, trying to get air. Can you imagine having that down in the water, it sealed it off so it couldn't get fresh air into that jug?" said Brian Hurt.
Tricia Hurt said if they had been two minutes sooner or later, they likely wouldn't have come across the bear.
"I should have bought a lottery ticket," Brian Hurt said. "I probably would have better chances at winning the lottery ticket than stumbling across that poor bear."
The Hurts then went to a nearby resort, where some people had watched the rescue and told them the bear had been that way for at least a few days. Locals had been trying to figure out how get the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to help it.
Brian Hurt estimated the bear was a year old and likely still with it's mother. They watched it all the way until it got to shore.
"We heard it fall and collapse on shore so I knew it was safe at that point," he said, speculating that the bear would have drowned if they hadn't been there to help.
- 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.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - President Donald Trump will begin his Independence Day weekend on Friday with a patriotic display of fireworks at Mount Rushmore, an event expected to draw thousands where masks and social distancing aren't required as coronavirus cases spike across the country.
Trump is expected to speak at the event, which has issued 7,500 tickets to watch fireworks that he says will be a "display like few people have seen."
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.
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