MADISON, Wisconsin.Â On the heels of a U.S. government report that Wisconsin leads the nation in adult drunken drivers, state police began to assemble here early today toÂ keep crowds forming for traditional Arbor Day festivities from spiraling out of control when beer drinkers celebrating the state's number one status are added to the mix.
"Wisconsinites will not tolerate lawlessness unless there's a Green Bay Packers' Super Bowl victory to go along with it," said Rebecca Kleefisch, who is the state's Lieutenant Governor and not its official fish.Â "Any attempt to turn over cheese delivery trucks will be met with swift and deadly force."
Arbor Day is a holiday celebrated on the last Friday in April on which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees.Â It originated in Nebraska, but the locus was moved to Wisconsin after it was discovered that in Nebraska wheat is considered a tree.Â The state song of Wisconsin is "In Heaven There is No Beer, That's Why We Drink it Here."
The government report found the upper Midwest toÂ have the worstÂ drunken-driving record in the country,Â and Wisconsin leading the pack with 25% of adults having driven under the influenceÂ of alcohol.Â "We're number 1,"Â Appleton, Wisconsin residents chanted when the results were announced, pouring into the streets with pitchers of beer in their hands to set fire to grain silos and vacant parking lots.Â
Arbor Day celebrations tend to get out of hand if crowds of horticulturists are not contained, according to Wisconsin State Trooper Jim Hampe.Â "You give a guy a shovel, a bag of fertilizer and a can of Heileman's Special Export Beer," he says, shaking his head, "and anything can happen."