ARBOR VITAE - Tomorrow the North Central Chapter of the American Red Cross honors local heroes. Today we're spotlighting two Northwoods stand-outs making a difference through the Lakeland Pantry.
"We have anywhere from 5,000 to 65-hundred men, women and children that come in monthly," said Pam Winkelman, director of the Lakeland Pantry.
That's a lot more than when the pantry opened more than 30 years ago. Today, directors Pam and John coordinate nearly 300 volunteers to stock shelves and offer the community even more than a bag of food.
"They [the kids] actually look forward to coming here because they have stuffed animals and they have other things they can do," said John Winkelman, "They have toys they have books for them and we have former grade school teachers and librarians that run or book area, we have some great clothing areas for all ages."
For the past 7 and half years the Winkelmans have run this pantry. In that time they've started 3 major fundraisers, and hosted health and eye care checks. It's not how they expected to spent their retirement, but they're glad to do it.
"I know personally it would mean a lot to John and I if we needed help that somebody would give their hand to us, and that's how we have felt from the very beginning," said Pam.
The Red Cross is honoring this pair for their hard work, but they give the credit to the volunteers and generosity of the community that help keep their doors open. Such a powerful thing can be accomplished with simple actions they say.
"It's difficult to help people that are maybe across the world, but you can certainly help somebody that's right down the road," says John.
Thursday evening the Red Cross will honor the Winkelmans and two other nominees for the 2013 Real Heroes Banquet.
RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander will be able to cast their November election ballots starting on Friday. It's the earliest people in Wisconsin have ever been able to vote.
The absentee ballots are stacked and ready for Friday at the Rhinelander City Clerk's office. To make the early voting process go as smoothly as possible, you will need to come prepared.
"When you come in make sure that you're registered. That is important. Make sure you're registered in the city if you're coming into us," said Clerk Valerie Foley.
Registering is easy; all you need is a photo ID and proof of residence. The registration form takes a couple of minutes, and then you will be able to fill out an election ballot.
"I think it is going to be a very busy day. I think people are pretty interested in the issues. And I think a lot of them would like to get and make sure they can vote if they're not certain they're going to make it to the polls in November or not," said Foley.
The clerk's office has already sent out about 200 ballots to people who have requested them.
Now, it is preparing for the early voter in-person rush.
If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or where to go for early voting, the clerk's office suggests voters visit myvote.wi.gov for more information.
The Boulder Junction Town Board voted two to one Tuesday night to move forward with a town plaza plan. The plan will now go to a design phase.
The board estimated the cost of the design phase to be between $30,000 to $50,000, but it was dropped to about $25,000 at the meeting.
Town Chairman Dennis Reuss and Town Supervisor Dennis Duke voted in favor, with Town Supervisor Denny McGann voting against the plan.
A little more than $1 million may not seem like a lot of money to a city like Madison or Milwaukee. But for a town of fewer than one thousand people, it's a lot. The Boulder Junction Town Board could vote Tuesday whether or not to move onto the next phase of a $1.26 million town plaza project.
Dennis Duke has a vision of what Boulder Junction could look like in a few years.
"This one has a much more artistic flair, this has a more engineering flair if you will," said Duke while looking at potential design plans.
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