WAUSAU - The sound of tradition filled a Wausau high school today. A Native American pow-wow celebrated the end of summer, and gave the community a chance to learn more about native heritage.
It's the fourth annual Powwow held at Wausau East, but this celebration has roots that go much deeper.
"When I was a little girl they had an annual pow-wow here, but it just stopped and nobody knew why," said Nicole Larson, a member of the Indigenous Circle of Nations (ICON), parent advisory board.
So ICON decided to bring it back. They want kids to learn about their heritage and be able to share it with everybody in the community.
"Really what it is, is a celebration of life. We're always taught to never come to a pow-wow with negative feelings or thoughts, and it's always a place to come with a good heart… The goal of our powwow, the ICON pow-wow, is basically to bridge the gap of cultures... Ending racism is a huge, huge goal for just about every culture in the world," said Larson.
"It's a fun family tradition,” said Kearstin Rose Comstock, a young Ojibwe dancer from Wausau, “But most of all I've been watching other people doing like grass dancing and jingle, and all those other kinds, so I've been actually learning!"
The ICON parent advisory board invites students and parents of all cultures to attend their annual pow-wow to experience some native traditions up close, and take away a new understanding of centuries old celebrations.
“Even if they’re not an Indian or anything or a native, they should just see what it's all about!" said Kearstin.
STOUGHTON - Police in Stoughton are investigating a threatening letter that was sent to a black teenager, with a photo that depicted him as the victim of a lynching.
The letter had a Madison postmark but no return address. The family told the newspaper it contained a photo showing two men hanging from a tree, with a mob watching. A picture of the 18-year-old was superimposed onto one of the men.
MADISON - A federal appeals court has upheld Republican Gov. Scott Walker's public union restrictions.
The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and equal protection.
U.S. District Judge William Conley found the restrictions constitutional in September. A three-judge appeals panel affirmed Conley's ruling Friday, saying the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the state to maintain policies that allow certain associations to thrive.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen calls the ruling ``a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.''
An attorney for the unions tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needs to talk to his clients before deciding whether to appeal.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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