THREE LAKES - You could soon get to your favorite websites faster in parts of Central and Northern Wisconsin.
The state will use $4.2 million from the federal government to boost broadband at libraries in Wisconsin.
That includes the Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes. Demmer Memorial Library Director Janet Dixon says the upgrade will make their internet three times faster for the same price they pay now.
"Our patrons are doing a lot of research on our computers now and sometimes they're awfully slow and we would really like to have that consistent speed for them," Dixon said.
More than 350 libraries across Wisconsin will get the internet speed boost.
Dixon says the fiber broadband will get their connection from 3mbps to 10mbps. She believes the upgrade will help rural areas avoid falling behind in technology and opportunity.
"I think the speed is important for them (patrons)," Dixon said. "So we want to be able to provide that even though we're up here in the Northwoods, we want to have good internet service."
Workers will start laying the broadband fiber lines in April. That means libraries could get the broadband boost by November. State Superintendent Tony Evers is excited for the project.
“More than 60 percent of our public libraries report inadequate Internet connection speeds to serve library patrons,” Evers said in a press release. “Many of our libraries are the only public Internet access in their small, rural communities. Our libraries provide online education resources for students of all ages including BadgerLink services for job seekers and information on government services so this upgrade of Internet connectivity will be a welcome improvement across the state.”
Planning for the project started in 2013 and is a part of improving the state's BadgerNet broadband connection.
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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