WAUSAU - Imagine you're in a car crash - you pull out your cell phone and call 9-1-1 and expect someone to answer.
The dispatcher is always there, but seldom remembered after the call.
That's why this week, emergency dispatchers around the country are being honored for their work.
The dispatch center at the State Patrol headquarters in Wausau covers 18 counties and handles about 41,000 calls per year.
For the seven dispatchers at the center, every day and every call can be a new challenge.
“When they call 911 or they call the emergency number, they're usually in distress, something bad is happening. They don't just call 911 for the fun of it. The nice part of it is to be able to talk with people and calm people down and figure out what their problems are and get them the help that they need,” says Bert Nitzke, police communications supervisor for Wisconsin State Patrol’s Northcentral region.
After especially tough calls, dispatchers get together with EMS, firefighters and police officers to talk through the scene.
That helps them manage stress, and there is a lighter side to what's typically a very serious job.
“You always gets some strange ones,” Nitzke says. “I've had calls of naked pedestrians walking down the interstate. And, you know, the troopers ask, "Why are you walking down the interstate naked?" And they really have no reason, it's just a nice day and they wanted to take a walk.”
Nitzke says when you call 911, you can get help faster by staying calm and remembering where you are.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
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