MINOCQUA - It almost felt like summertime at The Waters of Minocqua.
While the kids had time to play, the adults went to workshops for parents with children with special needs.
"The idea is that information and education is the best tool to help your child," said Wisconsin Family Ties Parent Specialist, Jackie Baldwin.
"If you don't have the information that you need, it's difficult to make those decisions as to how to help them."
Wisconsin Family Ties had three different workshops.
One for how to handle a crisis, caregivers taking care of themselves and kids transitioning into young adults.
"They gave a lot of really good strategies on helping to deescalate as well as kind of reminding you that children can do well," parent who attended workshops, Melanie Smith said.
"If they can, they will. Everybody wants to do a good job and kids are the same way."
Workshop leaders stressed to parents the importance of communication with their kids.
Especially when they get older and want to start doing everything they see their friends doing.
"What you need to do is find that right balance of support in the middle. And usually that involves a lot of negotiation and a lot of work," said Arc of the Northwoods Coalition, Deanna Yost.
"A lot of sitting down, being upfront with that, you're son or daughter or whoever you're supporting."
Melanie Smith says it's nice to know that she's not the only one going through these types of struggles.
"Hearing other parents that go through the same struggles as you do is very reaffirming. Because when you have a child with special needs and they have behavioral problems and all you hear are the negatives constantly, it's so nice to hear that people affirm 'hey you're doing a good job.'" Smith said.
"It's not through some falls of your own that your child has disabilities. You know your child is a blessing and it might be a little bit more difficult, but that doesn't make them bad or less than other kids."
Wisconsin Family Ties will host another event in Madison celebrating Children's Mental Health Awareness Day on May 9th.
- Valentine's Day falls on a weekend for the second year in a row. That's good news for local restaurants who expect more people to come in. But the weekend holiday ISN'T great for everyone...especially floral shops. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek went to Woodruff to find out how the weekend hurts the flower business.
- Plus, tonight on Friday Night Blitz we will bring you scores from high school games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following basketball games:
Boys: Three Lakes vs. Wabeno/Laona Northland Pines vs. Elcho
Chequamegon vs. Phillips
Flambeau vs. Prentice
Girls: Tomahawk vs. Rhinelander Mosinee vs. Northland Pines
That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.
We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
IRON COUNTY - Humans aren't equipped for single-digit and sub-zero temperatures, but huskies definitely are.
During cold snaps like this week, dog sled drivers can't pass up an opportunity to take the dogs out running—dog sledding or skijoring.
MJ Slone and Chad McGrath in Springstead have 11 huskies at their home. All the dogs are from shelters or families that can't take care of them anymore.
"It was often a sled driver with a team who had maybe 30, 40, 50 dogs and one dog wouldn't fit the team anymore or teams so we would get it," said McGrath.
For Slone and McGrath, taking in dogs started more than 20 years ago.
"Well, I brought home a pup from Alaska because I had worked up there doing some consulting work," said Slone. "My idea was to skijor, which was a fairly new thing in 1990 in the U.S….And then I realized dogs don't like to run alone, so I got another dog….and then I got another dog."
These dogs aren't competitive —they're mostly for recreational racing. Slone and McGrath host outdoor groups and school kids for sled dog racing throughout the winter. They encourage people to get out and try these sports during the winter, even if it's bitterly cold.
"It's the partnership with the dogs," Slone said. "They bring an enthusiasm to your life that you just can't get….They are always happy to see you."
WAUSAU - Wausau Police want to find a convicted dog killer now accused of prostitution.
They're looking for 23-year-old Sean Janas. In 2014, Janas was convicted on two felonies for poisoning her boyfriend's dog. She spent a year and a half in prison after she was convicted in the death of the German shepherd-Labrador mix.
Last month, an undercover officer got in touch with Janas, who was advertising as an escort on the website Backpage.
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