Rhinelander District Library looking for surplus vehicle for outreach eventsSubmitted: 04/16/2013

Lane Kimble
Managing Editor/Anchor

RHINELANDER - You might think of the library as a stationary place. Usually you go to it.

But workers at the Rhinelander District Library often bring services out to people in the community. To keep doing so, they could use some help.

The children's librarian visits grade schools in the area almost weekly. And staff members bring books and stories to senior centers.

But right now most workers have to drive their own cars, sometimes as far away as Wausau.

That can add up, especially when the library is working on saving for a multi-million dollar renovation project.

Director Ed Hughes hopes to find someone willing to give them a mildly used vehicle.

"The most difficult part is loading and unloading books, so we want something that's ergonomic so people don't have to lift up high or bend down low," Hughes said. "Something at waist level where they can load in books, about 20 to 30 pound boxes."

Hughes has spoken to several dealerships, but hasn't had much luck yet. He'd like to find a vehicle within the next few weeks.

If you know someone who could help, you can call the library. Ed Hughes can be reached at 715-365-1070.

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PARK FALLS - Many people in the Northwoods go to church on Sunday mornings, and for some of them it may be begrudgingly.

But there are plenty of people, often elderly or sick, who want to go to church but have a hard time doing so.

Peace Lutheran Church in Park Falls wanted to change that. Since May, they've been undergoing some construction. On Sunday, the church had a dedication ceremony for a special new addition—an elevator.

Now people like 100-year-old Ruth Olson can worship with greater ease.

Before the elevator, Olson said she would get to church by literally pulling herself up the stairs using the railing.

Olson's story is like many. As the older population grows, church buildings don't evolve with them. The buildings are often old and sometimes lack accomodating features for the elderly or disabled, and takes money to update the buildings.

"We have churches where the people are getting older and it's very hard for people to get around," said Rev. Dwayne Lueck, the district president for the North Wisconsin District Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.

Some parishoners couldn't do what Ruth used to do, and so they would have to worship at a service held across the street in the day care center, instead of in the beautiful church.

"Now all the services can be over here," said Rev. Dale Heinlein, the pastor of Peace Lutheran.

The congregation at Peace Lutheran believed in an elevator, so they paid for it.

"We been talking and planning this for...a long time," said Dick Ross, president of the congregation. "Pretty hard for some of the people, and I think you saw them, pretty hard for some of the people to worship here, so it was time."

"You can see it in their eyes more than anything when they know they have access and when they come up here and just enter the building and no steps, it's a great thing," said Buzz Peters, a parishoner who helped design the new elevator and space.

"We can finally have access for everybody to get into the worship facility, free access, that's what this is all about," Heinlein said. 

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The bill sponsored by Sen. Duey Stroebel and Rep. Rob Brooks would transfer $47 million in federal funding from local projects to state projects and move $47 million in state dollars from state projects to local ones.

Stroebel says the swap would save money by removing local projects from burdensome federal regulations.

He has been a vocal advocate for doing away with prevailing wage statutes, which require minimum salaries for workers on government-funded construction projects.

Spokeswomen for GOP legislative leaders didn't respond to inquiries about the bill's chances.

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