WISCONSIN - Sunday, July 5, marked the 10-year anniversary of Wisconsin's Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law, which prohibits smoking in enclosed public spaces.
This law has done more than simply protect employees and patrons from the hazards of secondhand smoke. A new generation of young people is growing up with a smoke-free social norm.
According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 21% of high school youth smoked cigarettes in 2008, before the smoke-free air law passed.
By 2018, eight years after the smoke-free air law went into effect, that rate had dropped to 5%. State cigarette taxes were also increased during this time period.
E-cigarettes were not an issue when the smoke-free law took effect. As a result, they are not included in the state's smoke free law. Over the past few years, many Wisconsin communities have passed ordinances prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in public places. Currently, over 2 million Wisconsin residents (about 36% of the state's population) are protected from secondhand aerosol.
It is important to have protection from e-cigarette aerosols. The aerosol that e-cigarettes emit includes more than water vapor. It can contain potentially harmful substances including: nicotine; cancer-causing chemicals; and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that e-cigarettes not be used indoors in order to minimize the risk to bystanders of breathing in the aerosol emitted by the devices.
Free assistance to stop smoking is available by calling the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669). Click HERE for more information on tobacco use in Wisconsin. For more information on local tobacco prevention and control activities contact Jenny Chiamulera, Northwoods Tobacco Free Coalition, at 715-369-6186 or email@example.com.
RHINELANDER - Traffic slowed to a stand-still on Highway 8 West out of Rhinelander but not because of any accident or construction.
NATH and The Good News Project partnered for the third year in a row to host an e-cycling fundraiser.
"There's still a huge line of cars waiting to drop off their things and that's been going on since before we opened at 8. It's been a very busy and very successful fundraiser," say Rick Covin, Board Member for the Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing.
NATH operates Frederick's Place in Rhinelander. This is their third year partnering with The Good News Project out of Wausau to host the electronics recycling event.
"We're having anyone from the area able to bring their electronics, even vacuum cleaners, stereo systems, computers, TVs, monitors, and for a small fee which is much less than you would have to pay at the dump," says Covin.
A portion of the proceeds will go toward helping fund the shelter's operation. COVID and other complications forced NATH to cancel many of their successful fundraising events, like the Harvest Hoedown normally scheduled for October.
"While our expenses have not gone down, even gone up some, our income, which is fundraising grants, and gifts, has gone down," says Covin.
If you didn't make it Friday, don't worry! You can stop by from 9 to noon Saturady.
"We'll all be here ready to take their recyclables and all that stuff that's been gathering dust in their basement, closet, and garage, gather that up, those old electronics you have to pay through the nose to get rid of at the dump, bring 'em here, and we'll give rid of em for a small fee and it'll go to a good cause," says Covin.
The walleye population in Minocqua's Chain of Lakes has been struggling. The Wisconsin DNR has placed strict policies on walleye fishing in the area which has put a strain on anglers.
Because of that, fishing guides in Minocqua have had to suggest new alternatives to tourists in order to protect the walleye population.
"Numbers just skyrocketing," said Kurt's Island Sport Shop's Alec Steinberger on the surge of new fishermen.
But, with the walleye population struggling to reproduce naturally, fishing guides have had to direct new fishermen to different species.
"I recommend you go out and catch crappies and panfish and bass and have a good time," Steinberger said.
While the Wisconsin DNR has placed a strict "catch and release" restriction on walleye in Minocqua, it doesn't mean that anglers can't bring in those fish from other lakes.
"All the rest of the lakes don't have that restriction. So, you can still go out and fish and catch walleyes on a lot of lakes and come back with your limits everyday," said Dewey Catchem and How Owner, Jeff Bolander.
He knows better than anyone else that this summer has been especially busy for fishing.
"You've got the normal people that fish who are fishing more often," Bolander said, "You've got the people that don't normally fish are taking it up and finding out either they like it or they don't."
And Steinberger realizes these new anglers can cause a strain on an already low population.
"When you've got people coming up and taking walleyes out of the chain that aren't being naturally reproduced, you're actually taking out more fish than can be reproduced into the lake," he said.
The DNR is hoping that by next summer the walleye population in Minocqua can return to normal levels and fisherman can resume catching the fish without the strict policy.
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison has received less than 1% of the money that Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group pledged to it two years ago amid the electronics giant's expansion plans in Wisconsin.
In August 2018, Foxconn committed $100 million to the university to help fund an engineering building and for company-related research. It gave the school $700,000 in the first year of a 5-year agreement and records show the school has received no additional money over the past year.
KINGSTON, MO - Attorneys for a Missouri man accused of killing two brothers from Wisconsin are seeking to have two charges of abandoning a corpse dismissed in the case.
Garland Nelson, of Braymer, is facing the death penalty in the deaths of 24-year-old Justin Diemel and 35-year-old Nicholas Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin. They disappeared after visiting Nelson's farm in July 2019 and their burned remains were later found in Missouri and Nebraska.
RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.
"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.
And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.
"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.
A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.
"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."
For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.
"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."
But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.
"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline.
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