MEDFORD - In April millions of Americans recognize Autism Awareness month.
In the Northwoods one family is speaking out for their son Jack, and how their school district is making a difference.
"You know I don't know what I'd do if he didn't have the structure of school," said Cathy Mayrer.
Mayrer's son Jack has been in the Medford Schools since age three.
"Jack was diagnosed at 3 years, 5 months old with autism," said Mayrer.
Before his autism diagnosis, Mayrer says things were difficult.
"Very isolated. Because your friends are all, well, we couldn't go anywhere. Not with him, because he'd throw his meltdowns, have his tantrums and I didn't know what was wrong with him," said Mayrer.
Jack's autism is "moderately severe" on the autism spectrum.
But things are a lot different now than when Jack was first diagnosed, and part of that is from the help of the Medford Area School District.
"The school itself has just been, this part of his life that I can't even describe, I haven't moved anywhere else because of it. Because they've done the best that I can see locally for my son," said Mayrer.
At Medford Area Middle School, teacher Ryan Brown has been working with Jack for three years.
"Every day is different. You know one day it might be great, but then all of the sudden something is bothering them, or upsetting them. And so each and every day is different, but we just kinda adjust to them," said Brown. The great days are what Cathy says makes a difference.
"When you see him make little gains in things, it's such a rewarding thing to watch him, and see him make these gains that you never thought he could do."
"I just, I mean personally, I feel really blessed to be able to have these guys. Because Jack and the other students, they're so much fun to be around. I've probably learned more from them, than they've learned from me," said Brown.
Autism is an individual experience, but Cathy hopes theirs can help other families.
"As long as I keep speaking for Jack, and trying to do the best thing for him on his behalf, it might not always be the right thing or the most finesse, but I'm trying to do the best I can for Jack, and that's what I aim to do"
MADISON - Wisconsin Elections Commission staff plan to hire a half-dozen new employees and upgrade software to bolster election security.
The commission received a $7 million federal grant in March to upgrade security after Russian actors tried to access a state Department of Workforce Development system before the 2016 election.
Staff told the commission Thursday that the Department of Administration has approved hiring six new four-year security positions, including an information technology project manager, an elections security trainer and a voting systems specialist.
MADISON - The Wisconsin Elections Commission has agreed to lift overseas ballot restrictions to avoid a legal battle.
The U.S. Department of Justice warned earlier this month that it's preparing to sue because Wisconsin law doesn't let temporary overseas voters to obtain ballots electronically or to submit downloadable back-up ballots in case they don't have time to return an official ballot.
Federal law allows all overseas voters to obtain ballots electronically and submit back-up ballots. Assembly Republicans passed a bill that would have aligned Wisconsin's statutes with the federal law but the measure died in April after Senate Republicans added language limiting special legislative elections.
MERRILL - Three years ago, Lincoln County got good news.
The federal government planned to spend $1.5 million to help give rural parts of the county broadband internet access. It was part of Frontier Communications' agreement to accept $283 million for broadband expansion nationwide.
But then, the contractors, equipment, and better internet were slow to arrive.
Now, Frontier is finally at work, but plenty of people are still waiting anxiously for their high-speed connection.
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