KESHENA - Most things on the Menominee Indian Reservation seem to have a waiting list.
The tribal daycare center?
"We could help more parents if we had the staffing ability," says Department of Early Childhood Services Director Penny Escalante. "Right now, we don't have that staffing ability, so we have 90 people on the waiting list."
The tribal clinic?
Too much waiting, not enough care.
"It would sure be nice to have more resources to work with," says Jerry Waukau, the Tribal Health Administrator.
"We just are one of the poorest of the poor," Laurie Boivin puts it bluntly.
She's the Menominee Tribal Chairwoman.
"We are the oldest indigenous tribe to what is now the state of Wisconsin," Boivin says proudly.
The tribe has been in what's now Wisconsin for around 12,000 years.
But the Menominee have struggled since Congress took action to "terminate", or end the special relationship with, the tribe in 1954.
They got federal recognition back 19 years later, but it has never been the same.
"We have people that we turn away every day that we simply don't have enough money to service," Boivin regrets.
Menominee County has the highest poverty in the state, the worst health, and nearly the worst unemployment.
The tribe's reservation makes up the entire county.
If the tribe simply had a way to make more money, members say, it could alleviate those problems and give members a more stable life.
"We need help. This type of money coming in will help in those ways and a myriad of other ways," says Gary Besaw.
Besaw's talking about the huge amount of revenue the tribe could get from a proposed off-reservation casino in Kenosha.
"With Kenosha, we see this as a godsend as far as employment, jobs, and the boost to the economy," says Besaw, the Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority Chairman.
The decision of whether that casino will be allowed rests with one person - the Governor.
Governor Walker asked for, and got, an extension until February 19, 2015, to make that decision.
The Forest County Potawatomi strongly oppose the plan.
As part of their opposition, they fear it could hurt the success of their Milwaukee hotel and casino.
But the Menominee feel their concerns are just as pressing.
"We have 145-family waiting list, which doesn't move a whole lot," says Shane Dixon Sr., the Tribal Housing Acting Director.
That waiting list theme is true for housing, too.
"People need immediate housing, and we just don't have it. (We're forced to tell them), we're sorry, we can't help you at this minute," Dixon says.
More money could also help the Menominee improve their worst-in-the-state health ranking.
"We can't give you all of the stuff you want," Waukau says of the care his clinic can give. "We'll give you life-threatening stuff, we'll give you maybe some testing, but it's not everything."
The majority of money for tribal programs now comes from the tribe's small-to-medium-size casino on their reservation in Keshena.
"We don't generate enough income, because we're a rural casino, to meet the tribal needs," says Jim Reiter, the General Manager of the Menominee Casino Resort.
The Menominee are in a tough spot.
It's a tough spot leaders at places like the daycare center, tribal housing, and the clinic think Kenosha casino money could help solve.
"Yes, at the end of the day, it comes down to funding," Boivin says.
"We need the casino," Besaw adds.
"Our people are hurting here," Waukau says. "I think our job as leaders is to take away the hurt."
The Menominee people hope the Governor will side with them.
GREEN BAY - Prosecutors have charged a 26-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her mother and injuring a third person in the Green Bay area.
Jacob Cayer of Ashwaubenon was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. WLUK-TV reports Cayer also is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, burglary and bail jumping.
EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines fishing team is about as basic as it gets.
Just two kids, bait, and their gear.
"I didn't expect to go anywhere," said Northland Pines Junior Mike John.
But in their first year the team is headed to nationals after getting second BASS Wisconsin High School Fishing Tournament. It was the first tournament they've competed in together.
Mike John is going to be a junior. Harmon Marien became a freshman right before the state tournament started.
"Wednesday previous I was in 8th grade and then that Saturday and Sunday we took second in the high school tournament," Northland Pines Freshman Marien said. "That was pretty cool, good way to start high school."
WAUSAU - Police in Wausau expect to forward forgery charges to the Marathon County District Attorney against four people after finding counterfeit money in the area.
Patrick J. Eppolite, Jr., 22; Michael A. Beck, 27; Jeremy J. Hess, 36; and Amanda M. Bender, 32, are currently in jail on probation holds, but investigators believe they're connected to some counterfeit 20 dollar bills in the area, according to the Wausau Police Department.
RHINELANDER - This week, a seven-year-old put his life in danger to save his baby sister and little brother from a house fire near downtown Rhinelander.
On Friday, the Rhinelander Fire Department honored that little boy for his bravery.
Rhinelander firefighters now call Adam Granger, 7, a hero.
"He tells me over and over how he wasn't scared and just wanted to save his sister's life and didn't want her to die," said Jenny Schroeder, Adam's mother.
Adam saved his six-month old sister and four-year-old brother from a house fire in downtown Rhinelander.
"His actions, his quick thinking, saved two lives that day," said Rhinelander Fire Assistant Chief Tom Waydick.
Investigators still don't know the exact cause of the fire, but they say it started in the kitchen. Adam's father, Adam Granger, Sr., went outside for a couple minutes to start a campfire, and the next thing
he knew his house was up in flames.
"And the kids were in and out of the house helping him," Waydick said.
When he saw the smoke, Adam's father and his brother ran inside to get the three kids upstairs��"not realizing they had already gotten out. To do that, Adam had to run past the fire to get to the bedroom where his baby sister was. Then he went back towards the flames and led his younger brother down the back steps to safety.
"[I'm] Very proud and honored to have him as my son," Schroeder said.
Schroeder doesn't want to think of how it could have turned out.
"We've talked about how the other outcome could have been worse," Schroeder said.
MERCER - You don't expect to see crowds in secluded parts of Iron County, but loons tend to be a big draw.
"There's a lot of people who have had interest in loon research," said DNR wildlife biologist John Olson.
"Monitor change overtime in the wildlife population here in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Are loons increasing or staying stable or decreasing the numbers of breeding pair?" said retired wildlife biologist, Bruce Bacon.
The community has shown interest in the animal and with the research collected, the volunteers can maintain a steady population of loons in the water.
"Over the years, there have been a number of people who have done real exciting loon work up here," said Olson.
Over the last few surveys, the DNR have decided to expand its research to all wildlife in water and on land, not just the loons.
"The survey has developed into being more all-inclusive of any wildlife we see out here. Especially breeding birds," said Olson.
Some animals seen on Friday include a deer and her fawn, ducks, geese, eagles, ospreys, and of course multiple loons.
The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is a total of 14,000 acres. Individual volunteers maintain the area year round. If they notice a home or shelter destroyed, they will help start a new one for the animals.
"It's rewarding to see a place like the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin and this monitoring gives us a sense of how to monitor and protect it," said Bacon.
Overall, the goal for the group is to collect data on the animals and maintain that number to keep the Northwoods booming with wildlife.
The power of volunteerism was in full effect on Friday. Six boats covered all 14,000 acres of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.
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