WAUSAU - Marathon County will stop funding stray cat care at the non-profit Humane Society of Marathon County.
Humane Society Board President Linda Berna-Karger says payments from the county over the past few years weren't large enough to cover costs.
"We could no longer provide the service that we were for the number of animals we were taking in with the compensation that was coming from the county," Berna-Karger said.
So the humane society asked the county to pay a bit more. On Tuesday the county board unanimously voted no. State law requires the county to cover costs for stray dogs, but not cats.
The county will now pay to only quarantine cats that bite people. Berna-Karger says the obligation will shift to towns and municipalities.
“That will be up to each individual municipality to decide what they’re going to do there,” Berna-Karger said.
Under the new contract, the county will offer some money to towns and municipalities to help pay for stray cat service over the next two years. The county will cut all assistance by 2016. That contract begins Jan. 1, 2014.
Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple says the move puts a burden on towns.
“It’s kind of a balancing act problem and it’s not a problem in the country, but it’s certainly a problem in the metro area," Tipple said. "We’re going to have to come up with some funding to bridge that gap.”
Berna-Karger says cats will still be allowed at the society. They won't deal with stray cats found by people or police unless an agreement is met with municipalities.
"We will continue to accept cats from people that own a cat and find out that they can no longer keep that animal," Berna-Karger said.
The Humane Society of Marathon County is currently taking care of 166 cats.
Newswatch 12 reached out to Marathon County Board Chairman Gary Wyman for comment. He did not respond to a voice mail for a request to comment.
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
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.
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