LAKE TOMAHAWK - Animal shelters need all the help they can get placing pets with families in the community.
A Northwoods humane society has found that help from a couple of inmates.
It's not every day inmates hear panting at the McNaughton Correctional Center.
"I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems a lot less like an institution and more like a town, let's say. The attitudes reflect that." said McNaughton Correctional Center Superintendent, Brad Koshbab.
"I couldn't ever imagine having a dog program like this in a prison setting," said McNaughton House Inmate, Stewart Gasper.
"Here it is. It's great."
The correctional center recently teamed up with the Oneida County Humane Society to start a dog program called New Beginnings.
Six dogs are brought in for a six week training at the facility.
"We're teaching these dogs basic commands so that they can find a good home," inmate, John Rassbach said.
"When they do get to a good home, they'll know how to act and not be chewing things up. And just learning how to behave in a normal environment."
Some of the dogs that come in don't always have the best background.
Two year old Bea was starved.
"You can see the change just the brief time that they're here just to go from maybe anti-social animal, to the outgoing, more loving," said inmate Joseph Athans.
"Like Bea, who you seen earlier. She was more skidish and stuff and now she's already opened up in a few days."
Getting these dogs ready for adoption often means teaching obedience and social skills.
That usually requires a lot of patience.
"They all need to be loved and cared for and they do need a very good home to go to," Rassbach said.
"That's what they need and that's what they're here for."
"You learn how to nurture an animal and be loving, kind, considerate, a provider and care giver." Gasper said.
MADISON (AP) - A former driver for House Speaker Paul Ryan who has been active in Wisconsin Republican politics for years is running to succeed Ryan in Congress.
Bryan Steil is an attorney from Ryan's hometown of Janesville and a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. He becomes the likely Republican front-runner after the field of better-known potential candidates cleared for his entry.
Steil entered the race Sunday less than two weeks after Ryan said he would not seek re-election. Ryan said Friday he has no immediate plans to endorse in the primary.
Steil has been a regent since 2016 and also works as general counsel and secretary at a company that makes packaging for food and other consumer products.
Union iron worker Randy Bryce and Janesville teacher Cathy Myers are running as Democrats.
RHINELANDER - A sustainability fair in Rhinelander connects people who want to keep the earth clean and healthy. Organizers celebrated Earth Day by teaching people how they can accomplish that. Abby Meyer came up from Green Bay for her first Sustainability Fair in Rhinelander Sunday. She sells all natural skin care products.
"It's the future of being able to have a planet, such great energy here," said Meyer. Meyer and 42 other exhibitors feel energized to protect the earth. "It's kind of interesting what other people do and the good they're doing for other people," said maple syrup vendor Leroy Schmieder.
Schmieder said being around people with the same mission is encouraging. "It's kind of a community thing, you learn what everybody else is doing," said Schmieder. Fair organizer Ann Eshelman said the fair teaches the community, but also brings people with a message together. "They're providing something that we as a group think is valuable, they're kinda isolated," said Eshelman. When the fair started eight years ago organizers wanted to end that isolation. Bringing vendors together to share their message, make connections, and walk away with new information. "Giving each other jobs and work and supporting each other," said Meyer.
Eshelman believes that support is what the community needs to help move in the right direction. "[It] can enable even ordinary Northwoods residents to do something for the earth," said Eshelman. It can also show them that helping the environment starts at home. "An important part of sustainability is helping out your community," said Meyer.
RHINELANDER - All That Glitters opened for the first time this weekend in Rhinelander. The store gives customers a chance to experience another culture. Melody Majcherek decided to open the store after developing a love for henna and practicing at art fairs. She said it took her two months to transform the store into a unique outlet. "I wanted to create a space where people can walk in and feel like they have traveled to a different place and oasis. I think I accomplished that," said Majcherek. People can buy henna tattoos products and other trinkets. She incorporated cultures from India and Morocco by buying fabrics and products from there. "Very unique with the different cultures. It's interesting, something different in Rhinelander. Something you don't see all the time," said shopper Chris Albrent. The store is open Tuesdays through Sundays and is on Kemp Street.
TOMAH (AP) - A veterans affairs hospital in Wisconsin is using nontraditional therapies for pain and mental health as officials continue to address problems with over-prescribing medication at the facility.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the Tomah VA Medical Center is one of 18 veterans hospitals across the country launching the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Whole Health program.
Whole Health coaches help VA patients set personal health and wellness goals, address chronic pain, prevent illness or injury and treat mental health needs. The program also uses alternative therapies like tai chi, acupuncture and Healing Touch, which focuses on restoring a person's energy field.
The initiative comes four years after a veteran died at the facility from a mixture of prescribed drugs. Federal investigations found that some staff were over-prescribing drugs.
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