MERRILL - Songs often come to Debbie Merkel while at home in Merrill.
But those tunes are now going national.
We caught up with a Northwoods recording artist getting her biggest break yet in music.
"I write about what's going on in my own life and what others can relate to," she says.
Now, people across the world will be able to relate to the Merrill Christian artist.
"I'll get inspired by something a friend says or something that I see, something that happened to me," she says.
Debbie's been singing since she was eight years old.
But she just broke through and signed with the record label Musik and Film.
She's been on the radio in 25 states since September, with the song "On Heaven's Wings."
Debbie is no stranger to the national stage.
"I've been to showcases in Nashville, I've been to Chicago, I've been to Minnesota, Michigan. Wherever anybody wants me - have microphone, will travel," she laughs.
Her goal for the listener is simple.
"It makes them feel joyous inside, it makes them feel inspired, it makes them feel happy, and I like to hear that feedback back, because that's what motivates me and that's what is my intention," she says.
Debbie's official signing release party comes up next Saturday, February 16 in Merrill.
The event will be at the First Street Coffee Station at 6pm.
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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