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.
ST. GERMAIN - We all love our favorite sports teams. But what would happen if you had to dress up in your rival's gear? That's exactly what happened to Bears fan, Jerry Healy.
He's the janitor at St. Germain Elementary School. Healy challenged the students to raise over $700 for charity. If they did he'd wear the green and gold.
“Mr Healy you're unbelievable thank you for doing this,” says Jerry Healy, St. Germain Elementary School Janitor. “One kid said, "all this is disgusting Mr. Healy,” and another little kid who's a diehard Packers fan came up he came up and he's got an orange and blue pair of pants on and goes I'm a bears fan, today you're a packer fan, and that was pretty cool he's in second grade.”
As you can see the students surpassed the goal. The money went to pennies for patients. It’s an organization that supports people diagnosed with leukemia. The challenge brought the whole school together.
“Well I think they rose to the occasion they understood they're helping others in an easy but fun way. They came together as a class, as a whole school and just had a lot of fun with it,” says Jeff Waltz, a third grade teacher at St. Germain Elementary School.
This wasn't the first time Jerry got to dress up as a Packers fan. He did the same thing a few years ago when students accomplished a reading goal.
RHINELANDER - Wisconsin will get a new state attorney general this election year.That could mean new changes for the department.
But many of the candidates agree that more needs to be done to deal with heroin in Wisconsin.
Police and prosecutors say the drug continues to spread throughout the state. Republican candidate Brad Schimel, Waukesha County district attorney, believes heroin and opiates are one of the state’s biggest challenge.
"We're seeing more people die from accidental drug overdoses than we're seeing in car crashes," Schimel said. "That is a dangerous statistic for us to be looking at."
According to a Gannet Wisconsin Investigative study, at least 199 people died in 2012 in Wisconsin from drug overdoses.
The legislature has passed several bills this session to fight heroin and help people who are addicted to the drug.
State Rep. Jon Richards-(D) Milwaukee, is one of three Democratic candidates running for attorney general. He believes the state needs to keep going after drug traffickers.
"Local prosecutors and law enforcement are already stretched to the max in terms of their man power," Richards said. "We have to be addressing these new problems of public safety in creative ways and effective ways."
Democratic candidates Susan Happ and Ismael Ozanne were not available before running this story.
Richards was touring the Northwoods Friday talking to media and district attorneys in the area.
The Democratic primary is set for August 12th. Election day is Nov. 4, 2014.
VILAS COUNTY - More people today use maps on their phones when traveling, but some people still like those paper maps.
The Vilas County GIS just made 15 maps of the area. They give people the option to download and print them at home. A map of Boulder Junction even won an award at the 27th annual Wisconsin land Information Association conference in Middleton.
“There was a lot of interest in creating a portable, easy to use map atlas that responders, town crew, delivery entities, could take out in the field with them and find any address point any road name any water body,” says Rebecca Nordine, Vilas County GIS Specialist. “Something that they could bring out along out in the field with them.”
The atlases will give people an easier way of looking up addresses across Vilas County.
“We do offer up online mapping and that's great but if you get into an area where there's no cell phone or no internet service you'll need something a map or paper map to fall back on,” says Nordine.
Each atlas will be updated at the beginning of the year.
To download a copy of the atlases for FREE you can visit: http://vcgis.co.vilas.wi.us/vcom/.
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