Rhinelander couple opens their home to foster childrenSubmitted: 12/13/2017
Phylicia Ashley
Phylicia Ashley

Rhinelander couple opens their home to foster children
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home.
The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round.
Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too.
"There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani.
Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife.
"There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick. 

The boy didn't end up needing a foster home, but the couple registered with Oneida County to help others that do. Two years later they keep their name on the list to give other kids the same opportunity.
"They came into our lives obviously with a lot of trepidation, angst, uncertainty," said Rick.

The Zoerb's have taken in four girls for temporary stays since they started fostering two years ago. They've given a home for as few as 11 days and as long as four and half months.
"They had two parents to love them and guided them rather than just toss them out there," said Dani.
However, not every kid is so lucky, social services reports there are only eight licensed foster homes in Oneida County. Three are full and can't take any more kids and two only take in younger children, 23 kids stayed in foster homes this year.

The Zoerb's wanted their foster kids to experience a complete family even if it's not forever.
"Give them a difference sense of reality or what normal can be," said Danielle and Rick.
The Zoerb's still plan to keep doing their part.

Whether kids stay for 11 days or four months the Zoerb's hope each child remembers a piece of their past and the lifelong lessons from their temporary home.
"I always say I'm like the person on their shoulders saying make a good decision," said Danielle.
The Oneida County Social Services Department says their biggest struggle is placing siblings and teenagers. The limited amount of foster homes, also means some kids get placed outside of the county.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

FOREST COUNTY - A DNR technician went to check on timber sales in Forest County on Thursday. In between checks he found what he thought was an abandoned car in the woods. It turned out to be a woman stuck in the snow for a few days.

Jason Headson and his partner Sam were out checking on timber when they saw a parked vehicle.

"We noticed some movement in the car," said Headson.

They approached the small, grey sedan, which had its hood up. Then they discovered an elderly woman in the car.

+ Read More
Time for ice shacks to moveSubmitted: 03/16/2018

NORTHWOODS - Melting ice means moving time for fishermen.

You have until Sunday to get ice shanties off the lakes.

This applies to all lakes north of Highway 64.

DNR Conservation Warden Chris Bartelt says if you refuse to move your shanty you could face more than a $250 ticket.

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - A Three lakes Special Education Director started a program with a dream and $500. She hoped a coffee shop would teach students social and life skills but what came out of it went far beyond her expectations.
"My philosophy is dream to inspire," said Three Lakes Special Education Director Deb Straus.
Twenty- three years ago Straus dreamed of creating life experiences for her students.
"Everyone has something to offer to this world that we live in," said Straus.

With a $500 grant Straus made her dream come true with an in-school Coffee House.
"This is like my safe place," said Three Lakes sophomore Christinia Kubiak.
The baristas and bakers are pretty recognizable to Three Lakes teachers and students.
"It's been fun getting things set up in the morning," said Three Lakes sophomore Rain Maves.
Some of the students have worked at the weekly Coffee House before class for years.

+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - Since the start of the school year, the Tomahawk School District called the police department 55 times. Police say the majority of those calls are related to disorderly conduct or students skipping school. But Chief Al Elvins thinks there's an easy fix that could also better protect the school. 
"This could easily have three officers up here, I mean, as big as it is," said Elvins, while driving past the school Friday. 

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Ashley Sampson and Dan Dadabo opened a business that's new to Central Wisconsin.

"You get a lot of people waving at you and taking a look at it because they've never seen anything like it before," said Dadabo. 

"I've always seen it in other big cities like Minneapolis and Madison but always wanted to try it and it's a lot of fun," said Wausau Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Cheryl Anderson. 

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - We communicate everyday through cell phones, texting, and social media.

But a group of students in Eagle River goes old-school with their devices.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Billboards popped up in several places around Wisconsin this week calling Rebecca Dallet "Double-Talk Dallet."

The Republican Party of Wisconsin, which paid for the ads, points to the Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate accepting money for her campaign from attorneys who have cases she presides over.

Dallet told Newswatch 12 during a Friday morning stop in Rhinelander that her opponent, Michael Screnock, took hundreds of thousands of dollars from special interest groups.

The current Milwaukee County circuit judge thinks the state supreme court needs to be fair and independent.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here