OSHKOSH - A Pulaski man's invention to bring back area beaches is getting positive reviews from the field of science.
We introduced you to Beachmakers LLC in March. The company's machine crushes invasive zebra mussel shells into sand, but there was some question whether that sand is safe for the environment.
Since we met inventor RJ Elsing two months ago, he's made some improvements to the Beachmaker.
"The machines, we've been working on them, and fine tuning them, and they're running a lot faster now," Elsing told FOX 11.
Elsing said this Oshkosh beach was covered in about two feet of zebra mussel shells, but within hours the Beachmaker created sand.
Now scientists with UW-Oshkosh are testing the shells and the sand for bacteria, specifically E. coli.
"We actually take samples from three different points on the beach prior to the crushing of the shells, and then we go back after we have crushed the shells. We take three sand samples at those same points," said research scientist Rhonda Mesko.
Mesko and two students take those samples back to the lab and test them to see if E. coli levels increase, decrease, or stay the same once the shells are crushed.
Early tests are looking positive.
"Our preliminary testing has shown that the E. coli numbers are actually going down as the sand is being replaced on the beach," said Mesko.
The scientists are also testing the water. They want to make sure the machine isn't doing any harm to the environment, or our health.
The work Beachmakers has done out at the Oshkosh site has actually served to bring the waterline about six inches closer inland, which is serving to bring it more closely back to its natural state.
"You're making the beach more livable, not only for people, but also for animals and the environment. It's just going to be a more healthful place," said Mesko.
Which, to Elsing, is a great side effect to his main goal, bringing back local beaches.
"It's very nice. I knew it would do good for homeowners and kids, and I'm happy it's doing good for the environment as well," said Elsing.
More testing still needs to be done to make sure the machine is safe. The UW-Oshkosh crew will test three sites on Lake Winnebago with Beachmakers through the summer.
Single digit temps around the area caused problems in the Fox Valley Saturday morning.
The frigid temperatures forced some area communities to cancel their weekend Christmas celebrations. But New London braved the cold for its annual Holiday of Wonder Parade.
Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's all of the injuries, but many Packers fans are saying "no thanks," to this weekend's Packers game.
With only a little snow on the ground in places, snowmobilers are ready for more. In the Lakewood area, trails are not yet open, but clubs are gearing up for an early start to the season.
Marinette Marine is preparing to christen one of its Littoral Combat Ships.
A survey of local businesses looked at employee numbers and overall outlook for the coming year.