ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - If you own a pet, you know they can become another member of the family.
You want to protect them from illnesses just like other members of your family.
But there's one infection here in the Northwoods that's not preventable.
"She just loves being around people. And loves just giving so much. Everybody says she was a good spirit."
Cheryl Lipori remembers her dog, Lehlo as an active, loving companion.
Lehlo loved to run through the field behind her house.
But two weeks ago, Lehlo started limping.
"She started crying about her leg and her back," Lipori explains.
After going to multiple vets, Cheryl took Lehlo to a few vets here, and then to the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center in Appleton.
They diagnosed her with Blastomycosis.
"It's a fungus that lives in the soil. It likes moist soils. Some swamps, riverbeds,[in] those areas it is most prevalent," explains Veterinarian Alison French.
Dr. French did not treat Lehlo but she has treated many dogs and even cats with Blastomycosis.
She says the survival rate in most pets she treats is about 50 percent.
Symptoms can take months to show up.
For Lehlo, it was too late.
"It just got so bad. She couldn't breathe anymore. There was a point when they thought she was going to go into cardiac arrest because she was breathing so heavy," says Lipori.
Lehlo's organs failed and she died less than two weeks after showing any symptoms. Cheryl and her husband spent more than $10,000 dollars trying to save Lehlo (see the link below to help pay for her medical treatments).
"It can present in any form, in any way. Respiratory is the most common but I've seen it everywhere. I've seen it affect eyes. I've seen it affect the brain where they're having seizures and they can't walk. I've seen it affect every organ there is," adds French.
Wisconsin is one of just a few states where the fungus is prevalent.
There is no real way to prevent Blastomycosis.
"Me and my husband, we're still almost in disbelief as to what happened. We keep looking around for her," says Lipori.
Cheryl now worries about her 5-month old German Shepherd, Walter.
She got Walter to keep Lehlo company.
Now she's worried Walter could get Blastomycosis.
"Be very aware of your dog. Only you know your dog's symptoms, pretty much better than anybody, you know. And don't just take one vet's word, you know, look around, ask call, really look at these symptoms," Lipori says.
A warning to other pet owners so they won't have to live through the same nightmare.
It is also important to note that humans can become infected with Blastomycosis.
The largest outbreak of the infection was in Marathon County in 2010.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
Future Wisconsin Project wants to bring more workers, manufacturers to Wisconsin
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
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