WISCONSIN NEWS ROUNDUP: September had the fewest traffic deaths for the month since the 1940's
A rare deer disease has infected some farm cattle in Wisconsin. State agriculture officials have confirmed two cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or E-H-D. The disease is normally transmitted by black-flies and midges. State veterinarian Paul McGraw says it will continue to be a threat to cattle until there's a hard freeze that kills the insects. In the meantime, McGraw urges farmers to use insect control to keep the biting bugs away. Signs of E-H-D infection include fever, mouth and gum ulcers, stiffness, and lameness. E-H-D is more common in deer, but even that's rare. About this time a year ago, a small number of dead deer tested positive for the disease in at least eight southern Wisconsin counties. Those were the first cases in the Badger State since 2002, and a dozen other states reported E-H-D at the same time.
An unusually-strong storm front has moved into the nation's mid-section. Parts of southern Wisconsin got over two-and-a-half inches of rain last night. More downpours are expected today, with severe storms possible statewide this afternoon through tomorrow. No watches or warnings were posted this morning, but forecasters said tornadoes are possible in the southern half of the state. Most parts of Wisconsin could get 1-to-2 inches of rain today. Two to two-and-a-half inches are forecast for much of west central Wisconsin, which has fallen into a severe drought since July. Southern Minnesota and a-third of Iowa have the biggest chance for severe weather, at 45-percent. Parts of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska are also in the storm's path. Places as far south as Texas could be affected. Last night, the Beaver Dam area was hit two-point-six inches of rain and winds of 65-miles-an-hour. The Baraboo area had trees down and street flooding, with an-inch-and-a-half of rain. Officials say it's the first time in 13 years that a storm this size has been forecast for October at least a day in advance. Lingering showers are predicted for Sunday in Wisconsin, with blustery winds and highs dropping to the 50's. Dry weather and warmer temperatures are due to return early next week.
Two more people in Milwaukee's North Shore suburbs have gotten sick from crypto-sporidium (spor-ih'-dee-um), bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 15. North Shore health officials say the apparent causes are exposure to swimming pool water. They also expect an increase in cases from person-to-person contact. The latest wave of crypto was first reported a week ago. Most cases have come from Whitefish Bay, along with Fox Point and Bayside. Whitefish Bay High School cleaned out its swimming pool last weekend and re-opened it on Monday. The Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay closed its pools on Tuesday for 10 days. Officials emphasize that there's been no sign of the crypto parasite in the area's drinking water. It was 20 years ago when crypto got into Milwaukee's drinking water, causing 100 people to die and 400-thousand others to get sick.
Despite a warm September, Wisconsin recorded its fewest traffic deaths for the month since the mid-1940's. According to preliminary figures from the state D-O-T, 46 people were killed in traffic accidents last month -- 33 fewer than last September, and 12 less than the average for the past five years. For the first nine months of the year, 396 people have died in Wisconsin highway crashes -- 80 fewer than in 2012, when winter ended a lot earlier than it did this year. That's why motorcycle deaths are down 26-percent for the first nine months of 2013. With warm weather continuing, officials urge both bikers and other drivers to be careful -- especially as more deer begin to emerge on the highways. Last year, motorcycles were involved in all but one of the state's 14 traffic deaths in which deer were hit.
If you want to see how baby fish are born and raised, you might want to attend open houses this month at two D-N-R fish-egg collection facilities. The first event is planned for tomorrow at a fishery on the Kewaunee River in Kewaunee County. Visitors can play casting games, adopt sturgeon, and print fish-related T-shirts. The other open house is set for a week from tomorrow on the Root River in Racine. Guided tours are planned -- along with demonstrations of spawning procedures, casting, and knot-and-fly-tying. At both places, visitors can watch crews collect fish-eggs from Lake Michigan salmon and trout. More information is available at the D-N-R's Web site.
Construction has started on a new emission control system at the Weston Power Plant Number-three near Wausau. The Wisconsin Public Service utility says it will result in a cleaner and more efficient way to burn coal. The technology will clean up sulfur, mercury, and nitrous dioxides from the coal-burning process. The utility says it hopes to sell the sulfuric acid by-product to vendors for use in batteries, fertilizers, and food production. Public Service says over 200 construction jobs are being created by the 275-million-dollar project. It's expected to be finished in 2016.