Social Media Connects Us All to Boston ShootingSubmitted: 04/19/2013
Story By Kira Lynne

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - Social media no doubt full of information and reactions from this week's scares in Boston.

Chances are someone you're connected to online is affected.

Newswatch 12's Kira Lynne has a friend who currently attends MIT in Cambridge, and spoke with her about her sense of security.

Alli is a graduate student at MIT and has lived in Cambridge for almost 5 years.

She lives about a 10 minute walk from where the shooting happened.

She says it's always been a safe community and never thought she would have to worry about a bombing suspect on campus, let alone the shooting of a police officer.

She first realized something was wrong when she heard sirens at 10:30 Friday night.

This was followed by emergency text alerts and phone calls through the night.

Alli writes: "I felt safe in my apartment building at that moment, but it was still scary to not know what was really happening and where the shooter was. It was also scary to think that I had been walking through campus near the shooting location just an hour or so before it happened. I could have easily been there. I actually felt more afraid this morning when it was reported that [the] MIT shooter and suspect in Watertown was the same person as the marathon bombing suspect, and the fact that this person had been so close to me on my campus."

While the campus was loud and chaotic Friday night, the request from city officials to stay home made for a different atmosphere Friday afternoon.

Alli goes on to say: "It has felt eerily quiet with very few cars and people out and about, because all mass transit was shut down and people were instructed to stay in their homes, businesses not to open. All the universities are closed. There have been occasional bursts of sirens, and I've seen some police cars racing down streets nearby. It is hard to say what the rest of the city is like, I'm limited to the part I can see out my window, but around here it seems pretty deserted."

Like all of us, Alli expressed her gratitude to area law enforcement and her thoughts go out to the family and friends of the slain MIT police officer.

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WAUSAU - Enthusiasm, excitement and surprises continue to pack the 2016 election season.

 Republican politicians in Wisconsin still have something to add to this election.  

On Sunday Governor Scott Walker, Senator Ron Johnson and Representative Sean Duffy all stopped by the Wisconsin GOP office. 

They came together to encourage voters to get out and vote early. 

About 30 people came out to hear what the politicians had to say.

"We need to convince people who maybe we don't know where their opinions are in terms of election," said Governor Walker.

 "But we work with them, we live next to them, we go to church with them those are the people we need to reach out [to]."

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MINOCQUA - Every year thousands of kids go hungry. 

On Saturday nearly 600 volunteers from the Northwoods decided to help feed some of those children. 

The "Food for Kidz" organization, invited people to Lakeland Union High School, to help package non- perishable goods.

 The packages will be donated worldwide and to nearby food pantries.

Within the past eight years volunteers have packaged one million meals.

 Last year was the first year the organization started donating to local food pantries. 

This year volunteers will give 30,000 meals to the Northwoods community.

"It's just the recurring exuberance of the people that come in and do the packing we have many, repeat people that come year after year," said "Food for Kidz" Co-chairman John Breiten. 

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Nearby Fire Departments often rely on each other when they need extra man power. 

On Saturday firefighters from around the Northwoods came together as one. 
"It's vital to have that community bond between the fire departments," said Arbor Vitae Fire and Rescue Chief Mike VanMeter.

The bond between local departments led to a rare training opportunity. 

"Being able to share an opportunity like this is vital," said Boulder Junction Fire Department Chief Matthew Reuss. 

A donated house in Boulder Junction was lit on fire so that the fire departments could practice structure training.  

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RHINELANDER - We all have Tylenol and other medicines in our cabinets at home, but what do you do with them when they expire?

Saturday, local officials helped people properly dispose of those unwanted medicines as part of Wisconsin's Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

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MINOCQUA - By the time most of us finish breakfast, we already start planning what to eat for lunch.

For some kids all around the world, that next meal sometimes never comes.

The Food for Kidz Minocqua committee will lend a helping hand to change that Saturday morning.

Lakeland Union High School's common area will transform into a full-blown assembly line.

Food for Kidz volunteers will pour and pack ingredients into plastic bags.

The goal is 175,000 packed meals.

Food for Kidz needs more volunteers by tomorrow to meet that goal.

"If you haven't experienced this, come out and try it and you'll go away with just a great feeling," said Food for Kidz co-chair John Breiten.

Kids and adults of all ages are welcome to walk in to volunteer.

The food packages will be shipped off to anywhere from Honduras to Mozambique.

Some special meals will be set aside and sent to local communities in the Northwoods.

"It's just a great, fun community event. I think the kids especially take something away that they are giving beyond themselves," said Food for Kidz sponsor and Lakeland Union High School Spanish teacher Karen Roerich.

Walk-in volunteers are welcome to attend either packing shift tomorrow morning.

The first shift is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The second shift is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you can't make it out to Lakeland Union High School Saturday, donations are always welcome.

Call John Breiten at 715-686-7570 for more info.

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RHINELANDER - A simple grooming process many people take for granted helps keeps John honest with himself.

"You can't think too far ahead, at least that's the situation I find myself in," John said.

Convicted of drunk driving seven times, John -- who Newswatch 12 is only identifying by his first name -- faced a harsh reality when he ended up in prison after three arrests in just 13 months.

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RICE LAKE - The Merrill football team doesn't feel it got the respect it deserved when WIAA playoff brackets came out last weekend. The Bluejays shared a Great Northern Conference championship.

But they were pinned to a number 8 seed, the lowest in the bracket, and travel to face top-seeded Rice Lake in a Division 3 Level 1 game Friday night.

Recent history doesn't favor Merrill in the playoffs. It has lost six straight playoff openers, dating to 2009.

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