Camp Angel Gives Kids a Much Needed GetawaySubmitted: 01/13/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

BOULDER JUNCTION - Wisconsin kids living with cancer in their family got to run wild this weekend at Camp Angel in Boulder Junction. The Angel On My Shoulder Foundation has been sending kids from around the state to Camp Angel for 17years.

The foundation's founder and executive director says the whole purpose is to provide a weekend for these kids to just be kids again.

"It's healing. It's healing for me as well as for them," says Executive Director Lolly Rose.

When Rose's husband passed away from cancer she and her family decided to create something that would help others affected by the disease. The Angel On My Shoulder Foundation has programs for cancer survivors and caregivers... but it's someone else that Camp Angel focuses on.

"These are kids affected by cancer through a loved one, either parent sibling or grandparent. Or they've lost someone to that situation," says Rose.

"And anybody whose dealt with cancer knows that really takes up everyone's time and energy and thoughts and everything is built around what's going on with the cancer," says Amy Lemke.

"Families don't get to do as much fun stuff. They don't get to go to the Dells or do fun things on the weekend, or roller-skate, or play out with friends or go on play dates because a lot of times parents are going to the hospital," says Dr. Vijay Aswany, from Marshfield Clinic.

These kids are bussed in from every nook and corner of the state to enjoy a weekend of fun, and a little bit of pampering.

"This morning we got our hair done, and face paint. And then we made kaleidoscope. Then we went rock wall climbing and we both got to the top," says Emily Sullivan, nine years old, from Dodgeville.

On snowy weekends the kids get to go snowmobiling, sledding and ice fishing. Volunteers say cancer is often the one element that's not on the agenda.

"We don't have any talks on cancer. We don't walk around with long faces. Here, you're just a kid," says Dr. Vijay.

"And they don't have to talk about it if they don't want to. But if they want to talk about it, everybody around them knows what this is about. They know where these kids are coming from," says Cody Lemke, a Counselor.

"You definitely notice them being able to relax and relate," says Richard Lemke.

The kids might start out shy, but most find it's a place they can make fast friends.

"We kept smiling at each other on the bus," says 10-year-old Julia Herod, from Waukesha.

"Yeah we became friends pretty much when we walked into the building," says Sullivan.

Camp Angel has touched so many kids for so many years, many of them come back, to give back. Twelve-year-old Alayna Perry went from camper to junior counselor.

"My mom met up with the people and she likes to do a lot of volunteer work and help because she was the one who had cancer for this camp, and she wants to give back because of the opportunities I was able to get because of it. I think we're going to be doing this every year," says Perry.

Angel On My Shoulder has hundreds of volunteers for its many programs. But this weekend, the thirty people who wanted to show these kids a good time can rest easy.

"I feel special that I can interact with other people who know how I'm feeling," says Sullivan.

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WOOD COUNTY - We now know the names of the people involved in a Wood County Crash that killed two people Tuesday afternoon.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department says the cars crashed head-on along Highway 80 in the Town of Dexter around 3:30.

71-year-old Barbara Baldwin of New Lisbon was driving one of the cars, and died in the crash.

Her passenger, 74 year old Louise Hemenway of New Lisbon, also died.

Another passenger in the car, 72-year-old Dona Sharp, was hurt....as was the driver of the second car, 30-year-old Greg Kopelke of Wisconsin Rapids.

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TOMAH - The Tomah VA Medical Center will end a lease agreement for a shelter for homeless veterans.

The Veterans Assistance Foundation has operated the shelter for nearly 20 years.

Tomah VA spokesman Matthew Gowan says there have been more than 30 incidents involving shelter residents recently.

They include a suicide attempt, a drug overdose and criminal violations.

The center has given the foundation notice that it will end the lease in January.

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MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.

The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.

When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.

"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.

Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.

Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.

"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.

The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.

Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.

Call (715) 536-1207 for more information.

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EAGLE RIVER - The Northwoods didn't get a lot of bitter cold or snow early last winter.  That forced Vilas County to keep its snowmobile trails closed much later than it hoped.

But the county set its target opening date for this year, with hopes we see a very different winter.

The county set a projected date to open trails of December 12.  That allows deer hunters to get through their season without worrying about snowmobiles in the woods.

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MERRILL - A former Merrill choir teacher will be sentenced today for sexual assault.

Last month, 26 year old Chase Tonar plead no contest to sexual assault of a student by school staff in Lincoln County Court.

Tonar is accused of having sex with a student both while he was a teacher at Merrill High School and after he resigned last May.

Police arrested Tonar in July.

The Lincoln County District Attorney says he will ask for jail time, as well as sex offender reporting and counseling.

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CRANDON - Kids learn math and English in school, but this evening, the Crandon school district taught their students how to stay drug free. All year long, the school has been promoting values such as respect and forgiveness and tonight was no different.

The Red Ribbon Walk started at the courthouse and then went to Crandon High School. Along the way, walkers saw signs with facts about living a drug free life. No matter how young the students were, they still heard the message loud and clear.

"It's really good for the youth because they can see not to do drugs. To have this event, it should be about a fun experience and it's really good for kids," said 5th grader Bryce Marshall.

Even with the cold temps and rainy weather, there was still a great turnout. After the walk, there was a presentation by motivational speaker Mike McGowan to really push the message of staying drug free.

"I think it's important that we bring forward all the reasons why drugs are bad for kids. They know drugs are bad but how does it affect their lives?" said Crandon parent and teacher Agnes Keller.

The Red Ribbon walk was just one of many events that the school will have over the year to show students how to live out good, positive values.

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce wants to push economic growth and work closer with businesses.
But to do that, the chamber needs a new director first.  That process is just starting.

The Chamber Board of Directors voted to fire executive director Bill Clow October 3rd.  Clow had only started last December.  Eric Britton has been serving as interim director since then.

Past president and current board member Brett Aylesworth says the chamber sent out a job description to all members this week, asking if anyone is interested.

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