The upper Mississippi valley may be very dry this summer, but the big river itself has remained deep enough for most boats.
For that, you can thank the 9-foot channel maintained in the lock and dam system...and the frequent dredging done by the Corps of Engineers. Dan Cottrell from the Corps office at Fountain City says despite the government's best efforts to keep the water deep, boats have run aground on a stretch of Pool 5 near Winona because silt collects in large amounts in that area.
The lower Mississippi has seen much lower water levels, with barges frequently becoming stuck on the river bed. Barge operators have tried to lighten their loads so the boat doesn't displace too much water.
Wisconsin is number one...in a bad way.
A nationwide study says Wisconsin has the highest rate of whooping cough in the nation this summer...with one out of every two thousand people getting the illness. La Crosse County's rate of pertussis is well ahead of that, with public health nurse Traci Lien reporting that 121 cases have been reported in the county since May 1st. But she says people have heeded the call to get new shots.
Lien tells us whooping cough is being seen at a growing rate in Minnesota as well. The highest rates of the illness in Wisconsin are being seen near the Fox Valley and the Dells.
August 24th will be the next court date for Joseph Smith, in his newest bid for freedom...
Smith is asking to be let out of the Mendota state hospital, where he has spent most of the last six years for stabbing a La Crosse policeman in the chest with a screwdriver. The officer remains on active duty with the city police. D-A Tim Gruenke says two psychologists will testify at that August hearing about Smith's current state of mind. Smith was released from Mendota in 2010, but was committed again this year because of hallucinations.
Two prisoners walked away from the Black River Correctional Center and may have stolen a shotgun and ammunition. Now police say they are considered armed and dangerous.