RHINELANDER - Every Monday in February Newswatch 12 is taking a deeper look at hunger in the Northwoods.
Last week we brought you the story of a volunteer who's dedicated more than a decade to feeding the hungry- This week, we're looking at where all the food comes from.
450 families rely on the Rhinelander food pantry every month. Each of them leaves with about 60 pounds of food. That wouldn't happen without the thousands of pounds they get through Feeding America.
"185,000 pounds, from the Feeding America program at Walmart," said Jane Motowski, the Food Manager at the Rhinelander Food Pantry, "That's a lot of food... So we've been able to give more!"
The Rhinelander food pantry is lucky. They can offer a lot of something many food pantries can't offer at all, fresh produce.
"Of all the pantries we probably have the most," said Motowski, "But we may also be the only one that's doing the Feeding America pick-up."
Feeding America provides dry and shelf-stable foods to hundreds of pantries across this state. Those are quality calories, but fresh produce is another story. Just about the only way to get that, is to pick it up yourself.
Thanks to a special agreement with Walmart through Feeding America, and a team of volunteers, the Rhinelander food pantry gets just about everything that Walmart would have thrown away.
"We are so close to the Super Walmart that we can pick it up by pick-up truck and get it here…They don't want it on the shelf, but it's still edible and it's usable and they give it to us so we try to move it as fast as we can," said Motowski.
With low-cost food purchased through Feeding America, and her own shopping with the community's donations, Motowski is able to keep their basement, two freezers and a walk-in cooler mostly stocked.
They also get some help from local stores. Golden Harvest donates their unsold baked goods, and the Friendship House Family restaurant gives soup by the bucket.
"We never know what we're going to get," says Motowski with a smile, "It's kind of like Christmas every day!"
Entirely through the generosity of others, families in need in Oneida county keep food on their shelves. That's something Motowski doesn't take for granted.
"Without volunteers we would not be here... I have to say, volunteering is probably one of the most rewarding jobs you could do, makes you feel good, and makes the people feel good."
In Oneida county, it helps them stay full too.
If you're ever holding an event, and have left-over supplies or food, the Rhinelander Food Pantry would greatfully take that, and any help too.
Another source of fresh produce for the Rhinelander Food Pantry is the Community Garden. The master gardeners are always looking for help to keep the garden growing. Contact the Rhinelander Food Pantry at 715-369-7237 to help out.
MINOCQUA - Every two years, high school athletes in Wisconsin get the signature of a physician, saying they're healthy to play sports. That signature comes after a physical exam.
Chiropractors can't give that sign-off, but they soon might be allowed to do so. The state Assembly passed a bill which would give chiropractors that privilege.
"The pre-participation exam is certainly extremely important. It is the best way to catch underlying illness and risk factors before athletes participate in sports," said Marshfield Clinic Regional Medical Director Dr. William Melms, who works out of Minocqua.
HAZELHURST - A week and a half ago, the Marathon County Dive Team pulled the body of 41-year-old Dominic Flaminio from the Wisconsin River. He drowned while trying to save his girlfriend's eight-year-old son, who was struggling in the current.
When Greg Bohn saw the story at his home in Hazelhurst, he felt like his heart was ripped out.
"This was so preventable," he remembers thinking.
It also motivated him to keep working on a water safety goal he's been chasing for years.
FOREST COUNTY - Bringing your pet along to watch fireworks might seem like a fun way to spend the Fourth of July, but you could be doing more harm than good.
July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for most animal shelters.
That's because fearful pets try to escape the bangs and flashes from fireworks and end up lost.
Forest County Humane Society president Jay Schaefer says don't let yourself add to your pet's stress.
Play it down, and make the fireworks a good thing with positive talk and treats.
"They're reading cues from us constantly. So be careful of your body language and the cues you're giving them. If you act like fireworks are a big scary thing they're gonna be like, 'oh my god fireworks are scary,'" says Schaefer.
Exercise can be another way to calm your pet before the big light show.
Burning off the energy earlier in the day may help your pet go to sleep early.
"Take them for a jog on the Fourth of July. I know it's hectic, but do something so they're not all amped up at night when the fireworks go off," says Schaefer.
Like many humans, pets like the smell of lavender.
You can try diffusing the scent around the house to put your pet at ease.
Make sure you have a well-fitting collar and identification tag on your pet.
If flashes are too bright, you might want to close the curtains.
CHETEK, WI - A preliminary report from federal aviation investigators says witnesses described hearing an engine backfire before a small plane crashed in Wisconsin last month, killing the teenage pilot and seriously injuring a passenger.
The Leader-Telegram reports that the National Transportation Safety Board interviewed several witnesses who were fishing in a pond near the Red Cedar River at the time of crash on May 24.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS - More than three months passed since family and friends have seen a Plover woman.
Krista Sypher, 44, has been missing since March 13.
Since then Plover police have been investigating.
Wednesday that investigation led them to a landfill in Wisconsin Rapids
Plover Police Chief Dan Ault said they've been searching the Cranberry Creek Landfill since Monday. He wouldn't say what they have or have not found. He also couldn't say how or why the investigation led them to this landfill.
Chief Ault said it's possible they might be back to continue the search on Thursday.
EAGLE RIVER - When your entire theater production fits in the back of your SUV, you need to know how to do -- and be -- just about everything.
"You kind of have to be the jack of all trades," actor Chris Cummings said.
Cummings is a stagehand, a set designer, and this summer a bug. He and fellow actor Jennifer Schreiner travel the Midwest out of their Chicago-area homes for the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company, which is based in Portland, Oregon.
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