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”
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.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
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."
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.