Friday State News Roundup: Prairie du Sac voted best drinking water in the countryWisconsin News
-- If you’re looking for the best drinking water in the countryside, look no further than Prairie du Sac in Sauk County.
PRAIRIE DU SAC - If you’re looking for the best drinking water in the countryside, look no further than Prairie du Sac in Sauk County.
The National Rural Water Association recently held its “Great American Water Taste Test,” and Prairie du Sac’s water was preferred over second-place Emporia Kansas and third-place Psagh Iowa. Wisconsin’s USDA rural development agency is also touting the honor. Its director, Stan Gruszynski, said the award recognizes a community that has worked hard to provide its residents with quality water. And not only does Prairie du Sac have adequate and tasty water supplies – it’s also got some great bragging rights. Gruszynski also said it shows the importance of investing in rural water infra-structure. The USDA has spent eight-billion-dollars since 2009 on new-and-improved water systems that benefit over 12-million rural residents, plus four-and-a-half million other households and businesses.
An elementary teacher in Green Bay got the surprise of a lifetime on Valentine’s Day. Kristin Zimmerman stood before youngsters in an all-school assembly when Tony Hellenbrand emerged from a custodian’s closet, got on his knees, and proposed. Her head dropped onto his bouquet of flowers – but she did say yes. The two had been dating for about three years after they had met, ironically, on Valentine’s Day. Zimmermann is a first-and-second grade teacher at McAuliffe Elementary in Green Bay. She’s never at a loss for words in school – but she said the proposal rendered her speechless. Hellenbrand admitted being nervous as well, especially in the moments before he left the closet.
Wisconsin’s cranberry bogs produced a record crop in 2012. The USDA said growers harvested just over four-point-eight million barrels – and 60-percent of the nation’s cranberries now come from Wisconsin. Massachusetts used to be the nation’s cranberry leader – but the Badger State has had that distinction for 18 straight years. The state’s output was bigger than what was predicted last August. Industry officials said at the time that warm weather and dry pollination period made for a high-quality cranberry crop – and lots of growers irrigated to make up for the drought. Not surprisingly, Wisconsin growers are devoting more acres to the crop – almost 20,000 last year, nine percent more than the previous year. Wisconsin apples and cherries did not fare nearly as well. The state’s apple harvest was the lowest since 1945, with 23.6 million pounds – down 54-percent from 2011. Wisconsin’s cherry crop – mostly made in Door County – was down 75-percent, with 1.7 million pounds harvested. Both crops were the victims of crazy weather patterns. They started blossoming in March when it was relatively warm – but many apple and cherry crops died in April when cold-and-snow returned. And they could never recover after that.
People who own forest lands are invited to a conference next month in southwest Wisconsin, to be put on by natural resource officials from Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. The Tri-State Forestry Conference will feature experts in forestry and other natural resources from all three states. They’ll share information on wildlife and woodland management, timber taxes, and products made in forests like syrup and ginseng. The gathering is set for March 9th at the Sinsinawa Mound Center at Sinsinawa in Grant County.
The Marshfield Clinic’s research facility has won a national competition for the best mobile-app to improve heart health. It was the first app ever designed by the Marshfield Medical Research Foundation. And clinic spokesman Jake Miller said it beat out 35 other entries in a contest put on the technology arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s called the “Heart Health Mobile” app, and Miller said it only took five weeks to design. Users enter their body statistics and health habits. The app then keeps track of the person’s risk factors for things like heart disease and stroke – and its lets people keep track of their progress in reducing those risk. There’s also a small game which keeps track of the risk factors. Project manager Brian Weichelt said the goal was to entertain people as they pursue healthier lifestyles. The app now works in I-Phones, I-Pads, and I-Pad touch devices. A Web-based version for other devices is expected to come out in March.
Wisconsin will get $674,000 from Toyota. The car-maker agreed today to settle lawsuits filed by the Badger State and 27 others, over vehicles that accelerated when they were not supposed to. The lawsuits accused Toyota of misleading people about safety issues concerning the unintended accelerations. The government started investigating the matter in 2003. Six years later, Toyota recalled almost four million vehicles to check out problems with floor mats – and in 2010, another two-point-three million vehicles were recalled to check out sticky accelerator pedals. As part of the settlement, Toyota must make sure it has sound engineering data to back up any safety claims it makes. The settlement totals $29-million dollars. Wisconsin residents are asked to contact Toyota or Lexus with questions.
Five people from Wisconsin are among 18 sickened by a salmonella outbreak linked to tainted ground beef. The problem is spread across five states so far, with half of the people sickened needing hospital care. No deaths have been reported. Last month two Michigan companies issued recalls for ground beef produced in their facilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging consumers not to eat raw or under-cooked grand beef. Hamburgers and beef mixtures like meat loaf should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, as measured by a food thermometer.
Authorities in northern Wisconsin report the woman who died in a house fire with her husband was the administrator at the Oneida County Jail. Sheriff Grady Hartman says 53-year old Kaye Juel has been jail administrator there since 1994. She and her 55 year old husband Mark were found dead last Tuesday after a fire destroyed their house about 20 miles west of Rhinelander. A preliminary investigation by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department shows no signs of foul play so far.
A Minneapolis couple has made the second-largest donation ever received by Marquette University’s College of Communications. Peter and Patricia Frechette made the $8.3 million dollar gift in honor of Patricia’s parents, Perry and Alicia O’Brien. Three fellowships will be funded this fall, with the multi-media project completed to be published or broadcast by the fellow’s home news organization. The project will include journalism students at Marquette as investigators and assistants, exposing them to firsthand experience with investigative journalism efforts.
Three people were killed this morning near Wausau, as the result of today’s snowfall throughout much of the Badger State. Marathon County sheriff’s deputies said a vehicle with four people slid across a center-line, and was hit broadside by another vehicle with only a driver inside. The three people in the first vehicle died, and the other two were taken to a Wausau hospital with undisclosed injuries. The crash happened around 8:30 this morning on Marathon County Trunk “K” in the town of Maine, northeast of Wausau. It’s under investigation, and the State Patrol is reconstructing the accident scene. Authorities said it was among numerous crashes in the area. Central Wisconsin had around three inches of snow from last night through mid-morning. One-and-a-half to four-and-a-half inches fell in northern, central, and southwest parts of the Badger State. If you need to shovel, you might want to do it before tonight, because it’s supposed to get colder. Overnight readings will drop to low as four-above, with tomorrow’s highs struggling to reach 20.
The emerald ash borer has been spotted in the Milwaukee suburb of Greenfield. State agriculture officials said today that the tree-killing beetle was confirmed along South 43rd Street. They said the finding was not unexpected, because ash trees had distinctive “S”-shaped galleries that provide evidence that the borer’s larvae had grown underneath. Also, officials said the ash borer was discovered earlier in neighboring Greendale, also in Milwaukee County. The bug has killed millions of ash trees in the eastern half of the U.S. – and it’s been confirmed in 13 counties throughout the southeast half of Wisconsin.