Loading

23°F

22°F

24°F

25°F

23°F

24°F

24°F

23°F

23°F

24°F

23°F

24°F
TOP STORY

Use of new mobile food pantry soars in Iron CountySubmitted: 01/27/2015
HURLEY - Cars in line wrap around block after block on the snowy streets of Hurley.

"Well, I got here at 11:15, and now I'm through the line, and it's 1:30," says Cindy Brannigan. "But it's worth it."

She calls this time of each month, the last week, "the hard time" for many families in the area.

The next paycheck or Social Security check is a week away.

Sometimes, the food supply at home is almost gone.

But on the last Monday of each month, Cindy picks up food for her family and six other families at a Mobile Food Pantry in Hurley.

"Rain, show, shine, sleet " we're here. People really appreciate it," says Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank Program Director Kris Horman, whose food bank is based in Duluth.

When the food bank started the Mobile Food Pantry about a year ago, it served roughly 120 people in Iron County.

Now, more than 250 households and 500 people benefit from the service.

It's needed.

"We saw a need in Iron County based on poverty level, needs, and access to food because it's more rural," Horman says.

While snaking through the line in their cars, people touch base with a few employees, who are dressed in silly banana costumes to give the day a light touch.

At the head of the line, the car is stocked, and families are set on food, at least for a little while.

It's about the equivalent of three bags of groceries.

The banana costumes are intentional.

"It's an issue of dignity, of pride. No one wants to be in the situation where they have to ask for food," says Joy Schelble, a nutrition education with the Iron County UW-Extension. "There are a lot of positive messages. I mean, who can frown on two ladies in a banana suit?"

For people like Cindy, that attitude is important, just like the food she gets.

"It's all about the volunteers. They're awesome. They rock," she says.

"Lots of smiles, a little silliness, and they're on their way," says Schelble.

Hurley's mobile food pantry is one of just a few operating in northern Wisconsin.

With its popularity, the idea might spread to more areas of the rural Northwoods.

Story By: Ben Meyer

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
 Print Story Print Story | Email Story Email Story



 LOCAL NEWS

PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.

The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.

"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - The Wausau Police Department will use a "Hero Dog" to help bolster its K9 unit.

The dog's name is Rex, and he isn't Wausau Police Officer Mark Jaeger's first K9 partner.

"My last dog, Pluto, is 12-and-a-half and he just retired," Jaeger said. "When [Pluto] saw me in the uniform getting in the squad and he didn't get to come along, he was not happy."

Rex just recently joined the Wausau Police Department, but his service to his community and his country, goes further back.

+ Read More

OWEN - A plane crash in central Wisconsin has killed one person and injured two others.

Clark County Sheriff Greg Herrick says the victim was a passenger in a Cessna 182 that was trying to make an emergency landing on a road in the town of Hoard at about 9:15 a.m. Monday.

+ Read More

Play Video

WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.

Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.

+ Read More
+ More Local News





 REGIONAL NEWS

MADISON - Governor Scott Walker wants to cut state funding for the University of Wisconsin System by 13 percent.

At the same time he thinks campuses should have more freedom.

Walker told The Associated Press he will be proposing that future funding to the UW system be a block grant funded by sales tax revenue.

It would be adjusted annually for inflation.

+ Read More

MADISON - Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald says he will investigate a Tomah VA medical center that has come under scrutiny for overprescribing opiates.

McDonald's says in a Monday press release that the probe will look into allegations of overuse of opiates and retaliation against employees.

McDonald says the month-long investigation will begin this week. A 35-year-old former Marine died of an overdose in the hospital's inpatient unit in August.

McDonald says inquiries from Rep. Ron Kind and Sen. Tammy Baldwin brought the issue to his attention. The Wisconsin Democrats wrote to McDonald last week.

Baldwin says in a column published Sunday in newspapers across the state that she took responsibility for not acting sooner in the matter. Baldwin says she should have listened and communicated better with a constituent.

+ Read More

CABLE - Supporters of North America's largest cross country ski race want to raise $2.3 million to renovate the trails where it's held in northern Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/1EnzFlb ) reports the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation has raised more than half of the $650,000 needed for the first of three phrases.

+ Read More

MADISON - The punk rock band Dropkick Murphys is asking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to stop playing one of their songs, saying in a message on Twitter that ``We literally hate you.''

The band sent the message Saturday night after Walker took the stage at the Iowa Freedom Summit to their song ``I'm Shipping Up to Boston.''

+ Read More
+ More Regional News
Search: 






Click Here