RHINELANDER - The world spent the last few days looking to the roof of the Sistine Chapel for white smoke. Yesterday we met the new Pope for the first time.
But he takes control of the Catholic Church at a challenging time. Still, Northwoods Catholics are confident.
As tens of thousands of faithful watched for white smoke in St. Peter's square, more than a billion Catholics around the world waited to find out who their new leader would be. That included students right here at Nativity of our Lord Catholic School in Rhinelander.
"The kids were really excited. And then we prayed for him that he would lead us, lead the church in so many wonderful ways into the future," says Mary Mangerson, a Nativity Kindergarten Teacher.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina made history Wednesday in more than one way. He's the first non-European Pope in nearly 2,000 years.
"It's a very positive and very historical change. Because the developing world is being represented now, where many of the poor and marginalized are being left behind," says Father Tom Thakadipuram.
He's also the first Pope to choose the name Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi. One of the things he represents is rebuilding the Church.
"He heard that call to rebuild the church. I think that is the main message now. Because the Church has been wrought with different issues," says Father Tom.
The Papacy and future of the Catholic Church has been the focal point of international news for weeks. Every network has been on Pope-watch for days. Non Catholics KNOW the Pope's kind of a big deal, but why? What does the Pope mean to Catholics?
"We know that leaders are important to us in our everyday lives and as a Catholic we look to our leaders to guide us in our faith," says Stacie Simkins, a Nativity 2nd Grade Teacher.
"He becomes the face of Christ. He becomes the face of stability and at the same time inspiration to the new world," says Father Tom.
"I think it's a feeling of belonging; everyone belongs to this family, and he is the leader of our family," says Mangerson.
As the world learns more about this reportedly humble man from Buenos Aires, Catholics are hoping for someone up to the task of leading them through the challenges the Church faces.
"I think we need a leader who's pastoral. And he appears to me to be someone who loves people and has a gentle spirit," says Mangerson.
MERCER - You don't expect to see crowds in secluded parts of Iron County, but loons tend to be a big draw.
"There's a lot of people who have had interest in loon research," said DNR wildlife biologist John Olson.
"Monitor change overtime in the wildlife population here in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Are loons increasing or staying stable or decreasing the numbers of breeding pair?" said retired wildlife biologist, Bruce Bacon.
The community has shown interest in the animal and with the research collected, the volunteers can maintain a steady population of loons in the water.
"Over the years, there have been a number of people who have done real exciting loon work up here," said Olson.
Over the last few surveys, the DNR have decided to expand its research to all wildlife in water and on land, not just the loons.
"The survey has developed into being more all-inclusive of any wildlife we see out here. Especially breeding birds," said Olson.
Some animals seen on Friday include a deer and her fawn, ducks, geese, eagles, ospreys, and of course multiple loons.
The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is a total of 14,000 acres. Individual volunteers maintain the area year round. If they notice a home or shelter destroyed, they will help start a new one for the animals.
"It's rewarding to see a place like the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin and this monitoring gives us a sense of how to monitor and protect it," said Bacon.
Overall, the goal for the group is to collect data on the animals and maintain that number to keep the Northwoods booming with wildlife.
The power of volunteerism was in full effect on Friday. Six boats covered all 14,000 acres of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.
EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines fishing team is about as basic as it gets.
Just two kids, bait, and their gear.
"I didn't expect to go anywhere," said Northland Pines Junior Mike John.
But in their first year the team is headed to nationals after getting second BASS Wisconsin High School Fishing Tournament. It was the first tournament they've competed in together.
Mike John is going to be a junior. Harmon Marien became a freshman right before the state tournament started.
"Wednesday previous I was in 8th grade and then that Saturday and Sunday we took second in the high school tournament," Northland Pines Freshman Marien said. "That was pretty cool, good way to start high school."
RHINELANDER - This week, a seven-year-old put his life in danger to save his baby sister and little brother from a house fire near downtown Rhinelander.
On Friday, the Rhinelander Fire Department honored that little boy for his bravery.
Rhinelander firefighters now call Adam Granger, 7, a hero.
"He tells me over and over how he wasn't scared and just wanted to save his sister's life and didn't want her to die," said Jenny Schroeder, Adam's mother.
Adam saved his six-month old sister and four-year-old brother from a house fire in downtown Rhinelander.
"His actions, his quick thinking, saved two lives that day," said Rhinelander Fire Assistant Chief Tom Waydick.
Investigators still don't know the exact cause of the fire, but they say it started in the kitchen. Adam's father, Adam Granger, Sr., went outside for a couple minutes to start a campfire, and the next thing
he knew his house was up in flames.
"And the kids were in and out of the house helping him," Waydick said.
When he saw the smoke, Adam's father and his brother ran inside to get the three kids upstairs��"not realizing they had already gotten out. To do that, Adam had to run past the fire to get to the bedroom where his baby sister was. Then he went back towards the flames and led his younger brother down the back steps to safety.
"[I'm] Very proud and honored to have him as my son," Schroeder said.
Schroeder doesn't want to think of how it could have turned out.
"We've talked about how the other outcome could have been worse," Schroeder said.
GREEN BAY - Prosecutors have charged a 26-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her mother and injuring a third person in the Green Bay area.
Jacob Cayer of Ashwaubenon was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. WLUK-TV reports Cayer also is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, burglary and bail jumping.
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