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Domestic Abuse Shelter Recognizes Longtime Volunteer Submitted: 04/27/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


Photos By Shardaa Gray

RHINELANDER - A safe haven in Rhinelander with a long history of volunteers honored one of them Saturday.

A large amount of enthusiasm packed the domestic abuse shelter in Rhinelander Saturday.

"We have the honor and the blessing of naming our shelter after our longtime volunteer Lily Kongslien," said Tri County Council for Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Executive Director, Shellie Holmes.

"Our shelter will be now known as Lily's House to honor all of the years she's dedicated working with victims and her passion that she has for the work that she does here and the people that we serve."

Kongslien wore many hats while she worked at the shelter, but working with the children is what she loved the most.

"I saw these kids all confused. Some came in their pajamas even at night and they were so confused that we had to quiet them down and get them to feel comfortable," said Honoree, Lily Kongslien.

"I'd read to them or talk with them."

Kongslien is humbled by the recognition. But working with victims that were sexually abused or in a violent relationship was very challenging.

"It's not a work that you enjoy, as we think of enjoying doing something, but it's very rewarding. And I never thought much about it, I just did it." Kongslien said.

The ceremony included a dedication from Pastor Lori Groat and guest speakers, but there was one special tribute that didn't leave a dry eye in the room.

"I know it's hard for families that have domestic problems. it's not only hard on the mother or the father, depending on what the situation is, but it's also hard on the children," said Lily's daughter, Lorraine Sackett.

"And the children are usually the ones that get hurt the most."

Lily hopes the shelter will expand in the near future.

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NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.

They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.


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MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.

Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


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RHINELANDER - Making sure nearly 400 families get enough to eat each month takes a lot of resources.

That's why the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry hopes a new spring fundraiser will help.

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