ARBOR VITAE - Tomorrow the North Central Chapter of the American Red Cross honors local heroes. Today we're spotlighting two Northwoods stand-outs making a difference through the Lakeland Pantry.
"We have anywhere from 5,000 to 65-hundred men, women and children that come in monthly," said Pam Winkelman, director of the Lakeland Pantry.
That's a lot more than when the pantry opened more than 30 years ago. Today, directors Pam and John coordinate nearly 300 volunteers to stock shelves and offer the community even more than a bag of food.
"They [the kids] actually look forward to coming here because they have stuffed animals and they have other things they can do," said John Winkelman, "They have toys they have books for them and we have former grade school teachers and librarians that run or book area, we have some great clothing areas for all ages."
For the past 7 and half years the Winkelmans have run this pantry. In that time they've started 3 major fundraisers, and hosted health and eye care checks. It's not how they expected to spent their retirement, but they're glad to do it.
"I know personally it would mean a lot to John and I if we needed help that somebody would give their hand to us, and that's how we have felt from the very beginning," said Pam.
The Red Cross is honoring this pair for their hard work, but they give the credit to the volunteers and generosity of the community that help keep their doors open. Such a powerful thing can be accomplished with simple actions they say.
"It's difficult to help people that are maybe across the world, but you can certainly help somebody that's right down the road," says John.
Thursday evening the Red Cross will honor the Winkelmans and two other nominees for the 2013 Real Heroes Banquet.
RHINELANDER - Building a robot may seem like a pretty lofty summer camp goal, but teens in the Northwoods love the technological challenge.
It's all part of a summer camp that's heavy on science and social interaction.
13-year-old Sean Timm says the eight day robotics camp at Nicolet College mixed the best of both worlds.
"I like technology a lot more than I do outside stuff," Timm said. "It's kind of nice to have technology like drones to bring me outside. It's really fun."
Camp Instructor, Mike Wojtusik has many years of experience as a technology education teacher and robotics advisor. He wants kids to see the importance in learning these skills.
"The kids are getting experience from a mechanical engineering side, electrical engineering side, design, prototyping," said Wojtusik. "We try and cover as much as we can about the whole entire system."
Learning about robotics isn't the only thing these students do. Some of them are also exercising skills they'll need in the future.
"I think it's a great experience for them to understand what really goes on in the real world as far as a career," Wojtusik said.
Certain careers that often require teamwork.
"Challenging part is working with a team because you don't always agree on the same thing," said 12-year-old Louis Malais. "When you build a robot you do the most teamwork than I think in any other job."
As their final project, students design and build their own version of a remote control robot.
They are required to work in teams to sketch a vision, make prototypes and design a working model with aluminum.
"It's not just you know operating a piece of machinery, it's learning how that machinery is put together," Wojtusik said.
Students are piecing together machines and building future careers at the same time.
"If I were to get an opportunity to do something like this in the future, I would definitely take it," Timm said.
Throughout the course of the camp, students were exposed to prototyping, brainstorming, modeling, safety and sketching.
The last day of the robotics camp is scheduled to be Thursday, July 28.
WISCONSIN - Mud, debris, and damaged property still cover parts of Northern Iron County after a storm ripped through there more than two weeks ago.
The lack of money to repair certain areas is largely keeping the rebuilding process from getting started.
That's why the Federal Emergency Management Agency came to Iron County Tuesday.
It surveyed the damage because of its severity and the extreme costs to fix.
"Really if it's beyond the scope of local jurisdiction, and even the states that respond," said FEMA External Affairs Officer Troy Christensen.
Wisconsin Emergency Management currently believes the damage caused by the mid-July storm is around $38 million across 10 counties and Bad River Reservation. Around $15 million of that happened in Iron County.
FEMA relies on local government like the ones in Iron County to help it assess damage.
"They have sights selected so they will be showing us a lot of these sights." Said Christensen.
Those sights included multiple towns, Saxon Harbor, and crumbled highways.
This week Iron County gave its damage estimates to FEMA.
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