STEVENS POINT - A Rhinelander high school graduate credits a conversation with ultimately convincing him to help veterans when they come home from the service.
David Chrisinger was up late one night in 2010 when he decided to reconnect with Brett Foley, who had come home from Afghanistan. Foley opened up about his struggles. That conversation led Chrisinger to start a website and organize fundraisers designed to help veterans. He also began writing a blog called Stronger at the Broken Places.
"[The blog's title] comes from a Hemingway quote: 'The world breaks everyone, and some are stronger at the broken places,' so that was the whole focus of the class," Chrisinger said.
That class is called Back from the Front. Chrisinger is in his second year of teaching veterans at UW- Stevens Point. He helps them transition from the military to society and into college life.
"The important thing is validating those experiences and listening and giving them an outlet to vent if they need to, to build relationships, to create friendships," he said.
Tyler Pozolinski and Chase Vuchetic are two students who have grown during their time in the class. When Pozolinski came to school at UWSP after his time in the service, he wouldn't tell people that he was a 23-year-old freshman. Now he's proud to say he's a veteran.
"I have no problem telling people, 'This is who I am; this is what I've done," said Pozolinski.
Vuchetic was hesitant to open up to other veterans on campus. Now, thanks to Back from the Front, that isn't the case anymore.
"You kind of start talking," Vuchetic said. "'Hey, you want to go have a beer after class?' 'Yeah, sure,'—and then, before you know it, you've got a really good group of guys and we hang out all the time now."
Pozolinski and Vuchetic will be published in Chrisinger's new book, titled See Me for Who I Am. The book collects 20 essays written by soldiers. The essays detail their experiences both on and off the battlefield. Pozolinki tells the readers about the lessons he learned from a recurring nightmare.
"After a while the dream started to go away, and I started to figure out what the dream meant was that nobody could help me fight my battles or beat my demons but myself," he said.
Vuchetic's essay is about how his parents and high school coaches prepared him for the Marines.
"[I] remember going to Marine Corps boot camp being like 'That was a breeze compared to football practice," he said
The book will be out in February. You can read more about the book and preorder a copy by visiting the links below.
WAUSAU - Every year, firefighters around the country ask their communities to fill up boots with money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Wausau Fire Department kicked off its "Fill the Boot" campaign Tuesday morning.
The fire department will be at local events throughout the summer to collect donations.
The fundraiser helps with research and treatment for neuromuscular diseases for kids and adults.
"It's kind of a rewarding part of the job. Most of what we do is off camera, you don't really get to see all aspects of the fire department. It is a great chance for us to get out there and see all the programs we are involved in to help,"says firefighter Matt Tormohlen.
CHETEK, WI - A preliminary report from federal aviation investigators says witnesses described hearing an engine backfire before a small plane crashed in Wisconsin last month, killing the teenage pilot and seriously injuring a passenger.
The Leader-Telegram reports that the National Transportation Safety Board interviewed several witnesses who were fishing in a pond near the Red Cedar River at the time of crash on May 24.
FOREST COUNTY - Bringing your pet along to watch fireworks might seem like a fun way to spend the Fourth of July, but you could be doing more harm than good.
July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for most animal shelters.
That's because fearful pets try to escape the bangs and flashes from fireworks and end up lost.
Forest County Humane Society president Jay Schaefer says don't let yourself add to your pet's stress.
Play it down, and make the fireworks a good thing with positive talk and treats.
"They're reading cues from us constantly. So be careful of your body language and the cues you're giving them. If you act like fireworks are a big scary thing they're gonna be like, 'oh my god fireworks are scary,'" says Schaefer.
Exercise can be another way to calm your pet before the big light show.
Burning off the energy earlier in the day may help your pet go to sleep early.
"Take them for a jog on the Fourth of July. I know it's hectic, but do something so they're not all amped up at night when the fireworks go off," says Schaefer.
Like many humans, pets like the smell of lavender.
You can try diffusing the scent around the house to put your pet at ease.
Make sure you have a well-fitting collar and identification tag on your pet.
If flashes are too bright, you might want to close the curtains.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS - More than three months passed since family and friends have seen a Plover woman.
Krista Sypher, 44, has been missing since March 13.
Since then Plover police have been investigating.
Wednesday that investigation led them to a landfill in Wisconsin Rapids
Plover Police Chief Dan Ault said they've been searching the Cranberry Creek Landfill since Monday. He wouldn't say what they have or have not found. He also couldn't say how or why the investigation led them to this landfill.
Chief Ault said it's possible they might be back to continue the search on Thursday.
HAZELHURST - A week and a half ago, the Marathon County Dive Team pulled the body of 41-year-old Dominic Flaminio from the Wisconsin River. He drowned while trying to save his girlfriend's eight-year-old son, who was struggling in the current.
When Greg Bohn saw the story at his home in Hazelhurst, he felt like his heart was ripped out.
"This was so preventable," he remembers thinking.
It also motivated him to keep working on a water safety goal he's been chasing for years.
THREE LAKES - Managing weeds can be a challenge for many cranberry growers across the state.
James Lake Farms in Three Lakes has been certified organic since 2007.
As organic growers, they are not allowed to use synthetic materials or herbicides to control their weeds.
This spring, they purchased weed eating geese from a nursery to help get rid of the weeds.
"We came across an article from 1954 in a trade magazine that showed that one of our marshes had used weeder geese back then in order to reduce the weed pressure, and we thought, well, this might be a novel approach," said owner John Stauner.
EAGLE RIVER - When your entire theater production fits in the back of your SUV, you need to know how to do -- and be -- just about everything.
"You kind of have to be the jack of all trades," actor Chris Cummings said.
Cummings is a stagehand, a set designer, and this summer a bug. He and fellow actor Jennifer Schreiner travel the Midwest out of their Chicago-area homes for the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company, which is based in Portland, Oregon.
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