Two northwest Wisconsin communities warned to avoid drinking municipal water
Northwest, Wis. — Residents in both Grantsburg (in Burnett County) and Balsam Lake (in adjacent Polk County) are dealing with what is reported to be increased levels of manganese in the local water supply. In both communities, citizens were warned that infants and adults over the age of 50 should not drink water from municipal sources. The Burnett County Sentinel reports that Grantsburg’s public works director received notification from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to print a public notice stating in bold letters across the top – DO NOT DRINK THE WATER. Balsam Lake’s public works director, David Patterson, was given a similar notice. The Inter County Leaders reports that Patterson stated that the levels were no different than in the past, when both the Department of Natural Resources and the Public Service Commission assured the village that there was no major health concern.
Passenger Rail service in the works for Western Wisconsin
Eau Claire, Wis. — Passenger rail service is in the planning stages between Eau Claire and the Twin Cities metro area. WQOW reports that the Eau Claire City Council has voted to create a group for overseeing the development of the new service. The train would connect Eau Claire to St. Paul, with potential stops in Menomonie, Baldwin, Hudson and Stillwater, Minn. The project would save costs by using existing track owned by the Union Pacific Railroad.
Bloomer and Eau Claire tap funding to replace lead pipes
Bloomer, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is considering two applications for funding through its Safe Drinking Water Loan Loan Program (SDWLP), for both the City of Bloomer and City of Eau Claire. According to the WDNR, the funding would be used to address deficiencies within each city’s public drinking water system, primarily the replacement of lead service lines. In each case, an environmental review determined that the respective project would not result in significant adverse environmental effects. Public comment is now being solicited, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org before January 26th for Bloomer, and before February 2 for Eau Claire.
Five republicans vie for 89th assembly seat
Green Bay, Wis. — A five-way primary election will take place this February 16 in northeast Wisconsin to fill a seat vacated by the resignation of republican John Nygren. Residents in Wisconsin’s 89th Assembly District, which resides to the north and west of Green Bay, will decide between five republican candidates on the ballot. They are Elijah Benke of Oconto; Debbie Jacques of Green Bay; David J. Kamps of Coleman; Michael T. Kunesh of Marinette; and Michael Schneider of Suamico. The winner will challenge democratic candidate Karl Jaeger of Marinette on April 6.
Former corrections officer charged with soliciting prostitution, misconduct in office
Rhinelander, Wis — As a result of allegedly exchanging information for sexual favors, Jacob Petitt, a former Oneida County Corrections officer, has been charged with felony solicitation of prostitution and misconduct in office. The 26-year-old Petitt, from Rhinelander, is alleged to have had sexual contact with females who were incarcerated at the Oneida County Jail. Petitt was taken into custody on January 12, and has since resigned his position at the jail. He is awaiting further court proceedings. A substitute judge has been requested in the case.
12-year-old charged in stabbing of younger brother
Superior, WIs.–A former Bloomer 12-year-old is charged with trying to kill his seven-year-old brother by stabbing him four times in the torso, according to documents filed further north in Douglas County Court this week. The boy is charged with attempted 1st degree intentional homicide, physical abuse of a child, and 1st degree reckless injury. Wisconsin law dictates that juveniles over the age of ten who are charged with attempted 1st degree intentional homicide first be sent to adult court, where a judge could refer the case to juvenile court. A $100,000 cash bond was ordered in the case. The boy is being held in juvenile detention in Eau Claire pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for January 26.
Seven hospitals, 21 clinics to change ownership
Wausau, Wis.–Many hospitals and clinics throughout northern and central Wisconsin will soon change to the Aspirus name, according to a news release provided by the organization. Aspirus is acquiring seven hospitals, 21 physican clinics, as well as air and ground medical transport services throughout the region which had been owned by Ascension. The acquisition includes Sacred Heart Hospital in Tomahawk, Good Samaritan Hospital in Merrill, Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander, Eagle River Hospital in Eagle River, Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff, Our Lady of Victory Hospital in Stanley, and Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point. A January 12th press release from Aspirus didn’t provide any information as to the timeline of the acquisition, other than an agreement has been signed.
Fish eggs return from trip to outer space
Hayward, Wis.–A special delivery from the International Space Station returned to earth this week—a package of fish eggs for 8th graders at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School in Hayward. The students had sent the rainbow trout eggs to astronauts for experiments in space as part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program in partnership with NASA. The Hayward school was the first tribal school to participate in the program and only the second in Wisconsin. The students will compare the hatching and development of the fish from space to that of fish back at their school’s lab. The $25,000 needed to participate in the program was raised by the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, Subaru, LCO Youth and Education Fund and the LCO Tribal Governing Board.