RHINELANDER - Emergency situations in Boston and West, Texas make it clear, we need to be prepared for whatever might come in the Northwoods too.
The Oneida County Board thinks the best way to do that is to combine the existing Emergency Management Department with the Sheriff's Office. This move should save thousands of dollars, and shouldn't cost the county any measure of safety.
"As far as the response to emergencies and stuff like that it actually gives us more resources to coordinate our response," said Ken Kortenof, Emergency Management director for Oneida County.
The Emergency management department is in charge of coordinating the response to weather disasters, flooding, and other hazardous or large-scale emergencies.
The Oneida County Board approved a merger earlier this week. It will eliminate a few positions and create a few new ones, so overall staffing will stay the same.
They'll start that reorganization next week, and they hope to finish sometime in July.
Technology committee wants to improve Northwoods broadband connectivity
ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County board wants to attract more people to the area. That's why the Oneida County Technology committee is trying to improve Internet connectivity.
The committee is trying to get funding from federal and state sources. As of now the board has put aside $24,000 for broadband development. But they hope to get more.
“We recognize that Oneida County had deficiencies in speed and connectivity and number of people who were able to access broadband in the speeds and capacities that were necessary to do their work,” says Bob Martini, County Board Supervisor. “So we put together a technology a committee that would investigate ways that we could improve this service in Oneida County.”
The committee hopes to fix spots that don't get good broadband service in Oneida County. They think improving the internet could help the Northwoods economy.
“The idea is to give the citizens of Oneida County access, but also to make us the best rural county in Wisconsin in terms of broadband access so that we can attract retirees, businesses, and improve the people's lives that are already living here,” says Bob Martini, County Board Supervisor.
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
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."
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