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Wisconsin DNR urges safety, proper equipment on ice after Sparta tragedy

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The tragedy in Sparta over the weekend that saw a 9-year-old boy die after going through the ice has returned the focus to safety.

Matthew Groppi with the Wisconsin DNR says you need to be extremely vigilant on the ice.

“With the warmer weather that we’ve had, what we see is that the shoreline deteriorates pretty bad,” Groppi said. “The ice might be thick in one area, and not so much in another.”

Temperatures got into the 50s last weekend in the La Crosse area, making the ice on the Mississippi River and smaller lakes unstable. Groppi points out there are tips to know if you might be entering a sketchy area

“Darker areas, that could indicate an area where there’s bad ice,” Groppi said. “If there is a lot of water in a particular spot. Also any drastic changes from one spot to the next.”

Groppi recommends having a spud bar to check the thickness, as well as a life jacket on you at all times.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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