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31st annual Bear River Pow Wow held this weekendSubmitted: 07/13/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson


LAC DU FLAMBEAU - As many as 1,000 people pack the grounds each year for the Bear River Pow Wow in Lac Du Flambeau.

"There's singing, dancing. A lot of times you'll hear storytelling," says Brandon Thoms, Lac du Flambeau Director of Public Relations.

The 3-day event is in its 31st year.

It not only celebrates Ojibwe culture and history, it also contemporary Ojibwe life.

"Positive changes that are going on in a community, this is a way to celebrate those and express those, and share those with friends and family," says Adrian King, a Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe tribal member.

For many like Melissa McGeshick, it's a spiritual experience. She dances at Pow Wows in memory of her father.

"Dancing has given me sobriety, I'm not smoking, and that was one of the things I gave up for dancing was smoking," says McGeshick,who is a Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe descendant.

The Bear River Pow Wow is a homecoming for tribal members who live all over the country, and even in Canada.

"People of Lac du Flambeau are very in-tune with their families, especially with the people that live away from the reservation. Many each year make their summer plans to come back home around this weekend, so it's really an important event for not only the community but people who live away from the community," Thoms adds.

Pow Wows even have their own following. Some families will travel to multiple reservations to participate in Pow Wows throughout the summer.

"It's a mixture of cultures and races coming together and having like a big huge cultural exchange," says King.

"We highly encourage everyone to come out and attend. It's a great place to learn, to build friendships, and to reconnect with those friendships we might have grown apart with in the past," says Thoms.

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The Wisconsin State Patrol tells us 65 year old Timothy Helm and his passenger, 72 year old Frances Chowaniec died at the scene of the crash.

Both men were from Oxford.

24 year old Kolton Coon of Wisconsin Dells was the second driver.

He was taken to a hospital and expected to survive.

The crash happened Saturday afternoon around 2:00 on County Road B north of state highway 23 in Adams County.

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MERRILL - Grass fires forced a road in Lincoln County to be shut down for a while yesterday.

The first fire was reported at 11:30 yesterday morning in the Merrill area near the exit for US 51 near County K.

As fire crews were arriving, additional calls came in reporting fires near County Road C.

A short time later, another fire was reported north of County Road S.

That fire got into heavier brush, and parts of the road had to be shut down.

It took firefighters nearly an hour to put out the flames and check for hot spots.

The cause of the fires is not known yet.

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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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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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