STEVENS POINT - When you think of basic needs for people in poverty, you probably think of food, shelter, and maybe gas for the car.
But for people living in poverty WITH young children, something else can also be a big expense - and big problem if it's not around.
On Friday, we found a group looking to collect DIAPERS to help those in need.
The United Way of Portage County kicked off their No Child's Wet Behind Diaper Drive today.
One of their top spokespeople might be a little different than what you'd envision.
"Mom and dads can't always get out of the house or afford diapers, because they're apparently really expensive, so this is helping. We're going to distribute the diapers through Operation Bootstrap, and it's going to go to those families that need them," says Ellie Andrews.
Eight-year-old Ellie has done everything from speaking before groups to radio commercials to raise awareness for the diaper drive.
The Women's Fund of Portage County hosted the kickoff for the drive.
As well as collecting diapers, the Women's Fund and United Way want to raise awareness for the issue itself.
"Lots of people can relate to the expense of diapers because they've had children. But they don't put it into perspective to think, 'oh my gosh, if I'm making minimum wage or $10 an hour, to supply diapers to one child can mean 10% of my annual income'. That's a lot of money," says United Way of Portage County Director of Community Impact Patti Cahill.
The drive is also partnering with Portage County businesses and churches.
It officially runs from this Mother's Day weekend (this weekend) to Father's Day weekend in June.
RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Salvation Army hopes to raise $40,000 in its bell ringing campaign again this year. It reached that goal during the holidays a year ago.
Volunteers kicked off the bell ringing drive at Trig's and Shopko on Friday. Eighty-six percent of money raised stays in the Rhinelander area to help families in emergencies.
"We're very excited that we're keeping our goal at 40 (thousand dollars) this year, and we're hoping that people are continuing to be generous in helping us reach that goal," Rhinelander Salvation Army Kettle Coordinator Kim Swisher said. "People are friendly, they're excited, they're like, 'Oh, it's bell ringing time!' [That] always means the holidays. We're excited about that."
You'll see volunteers at Trig's and Shopko through the holidays. Bell ringing starts at Walmart next week.
EAGLE RIVER - Americans eat more than 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. That much thawing, handling, and cooking of turkeys means people can make mistakes.
The Vilas County Public Health Department wants to help people avoid exposing themselves to dangerous bacteria. It says frozen turkeys should always be thawed in the refrigerator or under running water.
"You don't want to set them out on your countertop for any amount of time to thaw them because that's when they're going to be in the 'danger zone.' The 'danger zone' is between 40 and 140 [degrees Fahrenheit], and that's when pathogens can grow," said Vilas County Registered Sanitarian Amy Springer.
RHINELANDER - Snow plows can't do their job very well when cars sit in their way. That's why Rhinelander's winter parking ban will return in just a couple of weeks.
Starting December 1st, cars can only park on designated sides of the street during the day. On even-numbered days, cars park on the side of the street with even addresses. On odd numbered days, cars must park on odd-numbered sides of the street.
UPDATE: The suspected shooter from a homicide in Tomahawk has been identified as Eric Lee Moen, 32. Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins confirmed Moen is being held in the Lincoln County Jail for a 1st-degree intentional homicide charge.
The Lincoln County Clerk of Courts reports Moen is being held on a $1 million cash bond. He has yet to appear in court, but an initial appearance has been set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Online court records show Moen was convicted of various traffic offenses. He was also convicted of misdemeanor battery in Portage County from a 2002 case.
Elvins plans to release more information Friday afternoon.
Tomahawk police identified the victim in the city's first shooting homicide in years. Friday morning, Police Chief Al Elvins announced Charles K. Ramp, 52, was shot and killed outside his home on W. Mohawk Drive Thursday night.
Police arrested the suspected shooter, a 32-year-old man from Wausau, but did not identify him. The suspect was found about 130 miles away in Lake Hallie, which is near Eau Claire.
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