TOMAHAWK - Tim Iding went to the Philippines expecting to spend time with his fiance Loneta's family, and do some diving. Instead he found tragedy.
Iding, who prefers to go by Shortcut, hadn't been to the Philippines since his final days during the Vietnam War. He was a diver for a salvaging boat during the war.
He decided to visit his fiance's family in the Philippines when Typhoon Yolanda hit.
"You hear tornadoes where people say it sounds like a train," Shortcut said. "It didn't sound like that, but the wind you could hear."
They had a 72-hour warning before the typhoon hit. They stayed in a sturdy, cement room during the storm. Shortcut said the back of the building took the brunt of the storm. Winds reached nearly 230 miles per hour
"Everything was getting kinda blown from the mountains over the top of me and towards the ocean," Shortcut said.
Shortcut and his fiance Loneta, who goes by Loni, made it through the storm untouched. They found out a few days later that her entire family made it too.
But people around them weren't so lucky.
"These people the next morning, still everybody is in shock," Shortcut said. "You've got families sitting around, with their house gone."
According to the government, the death toll has passed 5,200 people. Filipinos look to their government and aid organizations for help. They're getting food and water in the hardest hit cities like Tacloban. But Shortcut worries about remote areas, like where his fiance's family lives.
"But to try to get these people relief efforts, to these small villages and up into the mountain," Shortcut said. "I don't know how something like that is going to get done."
He used all of his vacation and diving money to buy people food and supplies. But then he had to come home.
"I had to come back," Shortcut said. "If I'd of had more money I would of stayed there and I wouldn't be back here right now."
Even through all of the turmoil from the typhoon, Shortcut says the scariest part of the adventure was the ferry he had to take to get to his plane. He couldn't go to the Tacloban Airport because it had been hit hard by a storm surge.
So he had to take a ferry on a 12-hour ride to Cebu City to get a flight home. He says the ferry had at least 500 people on board, and was overloaded. Based on experience at sea during Vietnam, Shortcut believes the boat would have capsized in rougher seas.
“This is really happening and if there would have been a swell out at sea that night that thing would have went down, guaranteed,” Shortcut said.
But he made it back to Tomahawk. His fiance is staying with her family until they get back up on their feet. They'll get married sometime when she gets back.
After all of this he knows they can weather any storm.
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.
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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