Bowing to pressure, fireplace makers step up safety measures

To stave off regulation and lawsuits over severe burns to toddlers, manufacturers will provide protective screens as standard equipment with new gas fireplaces. The industry has revised its voluntary guidelines to call for the addition of mesh screens to be permanently attached to new fireplaces to prevent contact with the scorching glass fronts, which get hot enough to melt skin.

Wisconsin InfoLink: Fatal car crash stats way down

A recent traffic crash in Fitchburg claimed the lives of four young men, and the driver has been tentatively charged with four counts of homicide by drunken driving. According to a national survey, Wisconsin leads the nation in drunken driving.

Fatal blast at Wisconsin ‘model workplace’ raises questions about OSHA program

American Packaging Corp. in Columbus is supposed to be one of the safest places to work. In 2009, the company was recognized as a model of safety when it joined other Wisconsin workplaces, now totaling 49, in a voluntary compliance program run by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. But accidents happen, even in the safest places.

Should raw milk sales be legalized?

For farmer Brian Wickert, the raw milk bill is about having the freedom to live without interference from the government. But for health officials in America’s Dairyland, it’s about potentially exposing unsuspecting citizens to disease-causing bacteria. At the crux of this debate is the age-old question: How much should government protect its citizens from possible hazards?

Burn cases turn up the heat on fireplace makers

In September, a family’s vacation in Wisconsin Dells turned tragic when an infant touched the glass front of a fireplace and suffered third-degree burns at a resort hotel. Manufacturers of gas fireplaces are being buffeted by lawsuits and the threat of federal regulation amid heightened concerns about the risk of burns from the appliances, which can get hot enough to melt skin.

"We thought we missed him. And then we heard the clunk," Merrill resident Karen Drost says of the July 28, 2010 collision of a Cessna 210 piloted by her husband, Doug, with a deer at the Shell Lake airport in northwestern Wisconsin. The plane, not shown, received $12,000 in damage.

Deer, coyotes and turkeys, oh my!

Just as Doug Drost was landing at the Shell Lake airport, his wife, Karen Drost, saw something hurtling out of the darkness toward their Cessna 210. Something big. “Deer, deer, deer!” she screamed. That hit on the northwestern Wisconsin runway — which caused $12,000 in damage — is a story that plays out over and over in this increasingly deer-ridden country.

Of the 21 bicycle-vehicle crashes reported in Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton since 2008, police reports indicate 19 involved international students on bicycles. People who live and work here say that out-of-town drivers unfamiliar with the area, congested roadways and international students' ignorance of local bicycle laws have created a perilous mix for bikers.

Russian student’s death highlights lack of public transit in the Dells

Since the area has no public transit besides taxi, many of estimated 2,000 international students who come to work in the Dells each summer ride bicycles to get around. Of the 21 bicycle-vehicle crashes reported in Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton since 2008, police reports indicate 19 involved international student riders.