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.
RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.
There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.
"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.
All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.
"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."
CONOVER - June 22 makes it the 14th day of rainfall for us this month, and it's not been very convenient.
People all over northcentral Wisconsin have had to deal with storm damage or flooding in some way.
Pioneer Lake in Conover has had a particularly tough time with flooding not only because of the rain, but also because of a dam upstream.
"We've got 20 piers here, and they're floating away, they're underwater," said Maple View Resort and Campground Owner Tony Osiecki. "I've never seen it like this in fifty years."
Osiecki blames the deluge of rain we've gotten in the past few weeks for the flooding in his resort. But he and many others on the lake also blame a dam upstream.
It's located on the southwest side of South Twin Lake in Phelps. It's owned by Wausau-based Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company, and it's meant to maintain the levels of the Twin Lakes. Peter Hansen, the company's Vice President of Operation, admits they are releasing a lot of water--because they are federally required to.
"We are releasing an amount of water that is more than the 500-year rain event," Hansen said. "That means the rain that we've had, according to our calculations, is only supposed to happen every 500 years...We're doing everything within our federal license to lower the water level on Twin."
Downstream of the dam is the Twin River, which flows into Pioneer Lake. Hansen says the company is not responsible for what happens downstream.
That leaves some people frustrated
"[People] have been calling wanting to know what we're doing about the water and what they've got to do to fix it," said Pioneer Lake Association President Terry Wright. "If it's affecting us we have to have somebody we can call to change it."
In the meantime, Osiecki deals with the flooding.
"Move everything back a bit and try to get someone to close the dam and compromise," Osiecki said.
Hansen says the company has been able to cut back on the water release in the past few days, but with more rain in the forecast, that might change. He says Pioneer Lake does not have a controlled structure to help with the lake's water levels.
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