MANITOWISH WATERS - The Manitowish Waters Bike Trail Committee will start construction of a new trail to help protect their cyclists and possibly boost tourism.
"The main thrust of this bike trail is safety," says Henry Bauers, spokesman for the biking committee.
Too many bikers sharing county highways could spell disaster according to Mary Beth Leopold with the town's chamber. "We know it was just a matter of time and it was something that we were seeing on a regular basis, the near misses. So we wanted to get this done before that happened."
Get it done they have. In just a year the Manitowish Waters Bike Trail Committee has raised nearly two thousands dollars through donations. Twenty thousand short of the hefty price tag on a new bike trail extension. "This is the first phase," says Bauer, "It's going from the Discovery Center, Rest Lake Park, to Red Feather Road."
Nearly two miles will be added to the existing 2.5 miles of black top bike trails in Manitowish Waters. Not only will this addition improve safety, but Leopold has high hopes for an increase in tourism. "We're hoping that this is going to bring, honestly, more people to the area they'll have more miles of bike trails to go biking. It has become such a growing sport in all of Wisconsin."
Future phases of the project will lead to trails connecting with the Boulder Junction and Sayner trail systems according to Bauers. "It's all about the kids. To get kids and adults off of the county highways and get them on to a safe alternative, a bike trail along those roads."
All donations are tax deductible and can be sent to: Citizens Bank Manitowish Waters Bike Trail Inc. P.O. Box 326 Manitowish Waters, WI 54545
Tibetan Monks create a sand mandala at Northcentral Technical College
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
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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