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NEWS STORIES

Building confidence with horseback riding Submitted: 08/02/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


Photos By Shardaa Gray

WOODRUFF - Animals can make humans feel better.

The relationship can even be a form of therapy.


Sarah Nei has Down syndrome.

She's built a lot of confidence over the last two years.

It's all thanks to a program in Woodruff called Hoof Prints of Hope.

"The purpose is to connect kids and horses and to help kids come out of their shell." said Hoof Prints of Hope Director, Cheryl Vos.

Vos started horseback riding lessons three years ago to help developmentally challenged kids.

"The riding program helps in a way that when a kid rides, the movement of the horse mimics our movement and it creates muscle memory," Vos said.

"So for them it changes their gait."

Sarah's mom has seen drastic improvement since Sarah first started.

"It shows me that she is capable of interacting with others. Capable of asking for what she wants." Dawn Nei said.

Students like Sarah aren't the only people benefiting from this program.

"If like there's people in my classroom or something, it kind of has the same thing as them. I can kind of help them because I know from this opportunity." said volunteer, Ashley Marquardt.

Someday, Vos wants to have her own ranch.

She would devote it to helping developmentally challenged kids and at-risk young adults.

"My goal is not to make a ton of money at this," Vos said.

"It's never been my goal. My goal is just to help kids and families."

Classes are every Monday at the Double D Ranch.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - Merrill may get a new grandstand by next summer.

On Monday the city sent out proposal requests for companies to bid on.

The grandstand will go in the Lincoln County Fairgrounds near the location of the old grandstand. That was destroyed in 2011 by a tornado. It sat about 1,800 people on benches, and city leaders said those seats were uncomfortable.

The new grandstand will fit between 2,500 and 3,000 people on stadium seating and benches with backs "to provide a much nicer venue for events," said Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson. 

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MERRILL - Scheduling likely helped the Lincoln County Fair draw more people this year than last.

The fair took place July 22-26.

Last year, the fair was held the same weekend as the Wisconsin Valley Fair in Wausau.

That changed this year—event organizers think it drew more than 20,000 people. That's based on a parking survey. 

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MERRILL - Some parents start to leave their kids home alone around nine years old, but that can make parents very nervous.

Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center held its 21st Lincoln County Safety Day Camp for Kids today in Merrill to help ease those fears.

The camp is specifically geared toward children that are ages 8-11 years old.

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NORTHERN WISCONSIN - Many colleges across Wisconsin ban tobacco on campus. Now, Northcentral Technical College can join that group.

As of August 1st, all NTC campuses ban tobacco on campus, including chewing tobacco and E-cigarettes. NTC staff sees this as a way to protect student health.

"As we looked at the overall wellness of our students, staff, and our visitors, we felt like that shift was a positive shift to make," said NTC Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan. "But we made that shift with the intention of also offering resources and services to those students and staff who are interested in quitting the use of tobacco."

The change got rid of designated smoking zones. NTC staff says student feedback has been positive so far.

"Students appreciate the fact that they don't have to walk through smoke or see the tobacco use on campus," said Sullivan. "Obviously there are some students who have questions and we've been dealing with those students individually, offering to have conversations with them to get their feedback, because we think everybody's feedback is important."

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/04/2015

- Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says he is still considering what steps to take next in reaction to new Obama administration rules designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - Families who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, should soon have more flexibility when shopping.

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MADISON - The state Department of Natural Resources plans to unveil a new endangered species license plate.

The plate features a photograph of an eagle. DNR officials say the design was chosen from more than 2,000 entries from photographers.

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