WAUSAU - Some kids made sparks fly at Northcentral Technical College Saturday.
75 Kids participated in the Get S.M.A.R.T program.
It gave them hands on experience in welding, machine tool, graphics, electronics and other trades.
"We got students that are late elementary and they're just getting exposed for the first time. And then we've got those seventh and eighth graders that have really been able to apply what they've learned in some of their tech ed courses at school," said Dan Nowak, the Dean of K-12 Programs at NTC.
Teachers and Northcentral Tech students showed kids how to operate the machines.
It was the first time many of students got to learn about these trades.
"A lot of these schools, they don't have this type of equipment where they get to experience. And when they come out to the tech that gives them a feel of "wow, this is cool, this is something that I might want to do. You know, I never got that experience until I was later in high school," said Alison Williams, a welding student.
Kids got to weld their initials, smiley faces and they even made grasshoppers to take home.
"We just took a piece of circular metal and then we used the welder and made two dots, some weird nose and then a line for the mouth," said Asa Rich, a Get S.M.A.R.T. participant.
This was the fifth year the school held the Get S.M.A.R.T program.
But this year, kids had more options to choose from.
"We introduced graphics this year. And we're also introducing health components as well," said Nowak.
An opportunity for kids to get a jump start on their careers.
MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.
Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.
Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.
"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."
On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.
Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.
The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.
"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."
Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer.
NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.
They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.
But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.
And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.
That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.
It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.
"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate.
Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday.
You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.
All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.
That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.
"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."
If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.
MINOCQUA - Lakeland and Antigo generally square off as rivals in Great Northern Conference competition. But on Friday, nearly a week removed from the prom shootings in Antigo, Lakeland wanted to show that it was on Antigo's side.
"It's hard to react to something like this, because you want to be concerned, and you want to help, but it's hard to know how to help," said Maggie Laurence, a Lakeland sophomore and Student Council member.
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