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WHAT HAPPENED

• The Natural Resources Board voted to approve revisions to the state’s invasive species rule at its Dec. 10 meeting in Madison. Known as NR40, revisions include the listing of additional species and delisting of currently regulated species under the state’s Invasive Species Identification, Classification and Control rule of the Wisconsin Admin Code. One revision includes changing the status of the Emerald Ash Borer from prohibited to restricted. Currently, the beetle responsible for the destruction of tens of thousands of ash trees in Wisconsin is classified as a prohibited species. Under the rule, prohibited species are those not widespread in the state and whose spread can be prevented or limited to certain areas using eradication methods. Restricted species are those already found in the state and may be more widespread. Eradication is improbable but the spread can still be managed. Measures to manage the spread of EAB will still be used such as quarantines and DNR firewood transportation restrictions. Under the new revisions to NR 40, possession is legal and control is not required for restricted species. A list of the new invasive species rule changes and literature reviews are available by going to the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and searching keyword “NR 40.”

• The Wisconsin Wins program, a state-level initiative to decrease youth access to tobacco products, and re: THINK, the Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network, would like to say congratulations to the many clerks and retailers of Door County for their great work in reducing tobacco access to minors. During the past couple of months, youth volunteers have conducted tobacco compliance checks in hopes of finding that retailers are not selling tobacco products to minors and are checking IDs. Door County had a 91 percent compliance rate, with no sales to minors in 41 of the 45 compliance checks held this year. If you are a retailer and want to train your employees, check out smokecheck.org for training and certification.

• The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced that the state’s adult smoking rate is at the lowest rate ever recorded in Wisconsin. The adult smoking rate is at 18 percent, a two-percentage point drop from 2012, and is consistent with the national smoking rate of 17.8 percent recently announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data from the Wisconsin Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey (BRFSS) also shows that smoking rates remain high among specific groups. For example, the survey found that 33 percent of Wisconsin residents who are low income or have less than a high school degree still smoke. Resources are available for Wisconsin residents who want to quit tobacco, including the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 800.QUIT.NOW, which offers free help and medications. For information about the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, visit: dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobacco/TobaccoAddTreatment.htm.

 COMING UP

• With temperatures forecast to reach into the 40-degree range this weekend, state conservation wardens are cautioning people interested in venturing onto frozen lakes and rivers that due to the early season snowfall many lakes have not had enough time to form thick, safe ice. “In all likelihood, the ice looks thicker – and safer – than it actually is,” said Todd Schaller, chief warden with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “The best advice to follow is no matter what the month, consider all ice unpredictable. There can be cracks and changes in the thickness that you may not be able to see. This is especially true after we have the first cold nights and the early ice is spotted statewide.” Always remember that ice is never completely safe under any conditions.

Door County Buy Local is holding its next business networking mixer on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 5:30-7pm at Stangel Accounting, 354 N. Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay. The event will feature a program on “Preparing for Wisconsin Business Tax Changes in 2015.” The mixer will also provide time for an update about the status and activities of the Door County Buy Local program. Attendees are asked to make a $5 donation to cover costs; refreshments and appetizers will be provided. RSVP for this event by Monday, Jan. 5, or if you have questions, email [email protected] or call 920.743.3113 ext. 200.