MADISON - Gogebic Taconite took another step towards mining in Northern Wisconsin. The company submitted a new application for exploratory drilling in the Penokee range.
In 2011 the DNR gave Gogebic Taconite permission to explore the region and test-drill in several sites, but the company withdrew their plans.
Now the DNR is required by law to approve or reject Gogebic's new request within 10 days. The request for exploratory drilling they submitted Wednesday is NOT to mine the area, but to check the ground for certain minerals.
Ann Coakley, the director of the DNRs Waste & Materials Management program explains: "We look at what kind of minerals will be in the water, sediments in the water and make sure that it's clean enough after running through their waste water system that it can actually be put back into the environment.”
Before Gogebic Taconite can submit an application to MINE the area, they have to show how they can do it without negatively affecting the environment.
In the exploration they would pull 2-inch cores out of the ground in 13 sites. Some of those test cores come from 300 to 1,000 feet underground. They're looking to see what kind of minerals they'd have to clean up from the "waste rock" they pull out in search of the iron-rich ore.
"It's really up to the applicant to show us that they can have a mine and manage it in a way such that they won't have these negative impacts on the environment," says Coakley.
Coakley says it is possible to manage a mine effectively and safely, but each mining site is different, so each needs to be reviewed carefully.
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."
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.
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