BOULDER JUNCTION - With the holidays long gone, the ice and snow melt around the corner... what's a girl to do during that in-between period in the Northwoods? Some ladies in Boulder Junction know just how to beat those winter blahs.
The Boulder Junction Book Club has been at it for eleven years.
"Once we start talking we can't stop," says Missy Drake, a Boulder Junction Library Volunteer.
The club gathers every January to select ten books for the year. Then once a month they come to the Boulder Junction Library to talk about the book for that month.
"It started originally meeting here. We all really like that because it doesn't put the onus of preparation on anyone," says Drake.
And it helps keep them on topic without the distractions of food and drink many other book clubs have.
Co-founder Missy Drake says input from other people on the topics they read about can be enlightening.
"It draws out so many different ideas not only just from the book but everyone comes to the story with a different background. You learn so much about the people that you're talking to," says Drake.
This group likes a challenge-- you'll find no "Chick Lit" here.
"We don't do those. We do tackle some really good literature, I think," says Drake.
Members say it's the perfect way to spend your time when things might be a little slow at the beginning of the year. "We're all very active. But there are many days, up here especially, that are indoor days and great reading days," says Drake.
Most importantly you don't have to be a woman, and you don't have to be able to make every meeting if you're a seasonal resident. Meetings usually have anywhere from eight to 16 people.
"Everyone's invited. Everyone is very welcome. We are just an open group and always welcome more people," says Drake.
Tibetan Monks create a sand mandala at Northcentral Technical College
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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