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Wisconsin Family Ties to Host 'Fun Day' for Families with Special NeedsSubmitted: 04/17/2013
Story By Kailey Burton


Photos By Kailey Burton

MINOCQUA - In the Northwoods it can be hard to find help for special needs children. But in April especially, families affected by autism shouldn't feel alone. April is World Autism Awareness Month.

In Minocqua families can find a helpful retreat. On Sunday April 28th, Wisconsin Family Ties will host a family fun day at the Waters of Minocqua.

Caregivers and children with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges can come for workshops, and a chance to network.

"I think it's especially needed up here in the Northwoods because there are not many events like this for families who have kids with emotional, behavioral, or mental health disorders or autism," said Jackie Baldwin, a Wisconsin Family Ties Parent Peer Specialist.

Baldwin specializes in bringing families together with the resources they need. She knows an early diagnosis and proper support can help a lot.

"When you know what you're dealing with, and you know what the outcomes can be, and you know how to help your child, what better way?" she says.

Workshops will focus on trauma-free crisis intervention, tools for caregivers, and transitioning special needs children into adulthood.

There will also be child care available for special needs children.

For more information contact Jackie at 715-605-2097 or email her at Jackie@wifamilyties.org.

They're also looking for more child care volunteers.

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Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.

Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.

Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.

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"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.

"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.

But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.

"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.

Those accusations baffle Thomas.

"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.

Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.

"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.

Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.

"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.

Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its
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"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.

Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.

The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.

Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.




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