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Therapy animals and "creative movement" class emerge as local Parkinson's resourcesSubmitted: 05/14/2019
Stephen Goin
Stephen Goin
Reporter/Anchor
sgoin@wjfw.com

Therapy animals and
MINOCQUA - An incurable illness of the central nervous system, Parkinson's disease affects more than 20,000 people in Wisconsin.

Dr. Jeanne Pallagi, a neurologist at Ascension St. Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander, says living with the disease can be difficult.

"Parkinson's disease can have several different symptoms … rigidity, which is stiffness, or interrupted movement, tremor and balance concerns," said Pallagi.

At a Parkinson's support group meeting in Minocqua Tuesday, people learned how therapy animals can make living with those symptoms easier.

"That's an area where dogs can really be a supplement to help them with their disease," said animal trainer Carol Lofquist.

Lofquist is the owner of TLC dog training in Minocqua. She's trained therapy animals since 2007. She says they can do range of helpful tasks people with Parkinson's may need.

"They can help with balance if they fall. Anything that people drop they can pick up. They can alert them," explained Lofquist.

Lofquist says large, gentle dogs are the best pets for people struggling with the disease.

"That's what we're looking for, a calmer dog," added Lofquist.

While slowing down can make living with Parkinson's easier, Dr. Pallagi says staying active can actually be effective treatment.

"There have been studies that show regular exercise and especially rhythmical exercise can be beneficial to slow the course," said Pallagi.

Retired dance teacher, Melanie Panush Lindert, hopes to keep people with Parkinson's moving at an exercise class this summer. 

"What they need more than anything is to move," said Lindert.

Through a grant from the Wisconsin Parkinson's Association, Lindert will host an eight week dance course at the Minocqua Public Library. The one hours classes will start Monday June 3 at 10 a.m. and run through July 22. 
 
"We will be sitting, we will be standing. We will be moving for those that can move. Our main goal is to find joy in movement," explained Lindert.

Registration for Lindert's class is required by May 28. To register, call the Minocqua Public Library at (715) 356-4437.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/19/2019

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


We'll show you a new billboard in Merrill that the Holy Cross Sisters put up to call attention to the immigration humanitarian crisis. We'll also talk to the group about the project and the Vice Chairman of the Lincoln County Republican Party to get his reaction to the billboard.


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AUSTIN, TEXAS - Former NFL and Texas running back Cedric Benson, one of the most prolific rushers in NCAA and University of Texas history, has died in a motorcycle accident in Texas. He was 36.

Benson's attorney, Sam Bassett, says Austin law enforcement told him that Benson was killed in a motorcycle accident Saturday night.

One of the top high school recruits in the country out of Midland, Texas, Benson was a key player in the Longhorns' resurgence under former coach Mack Brown. Benson played at Texas from 2001-2004. He won the Doak Walker award given to the nation's top running back in 2004.

Benson was drafted No. 4 overall by the Chicago Bears in 2005. He also played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers.

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Caledonia police said in a statement on the city's Facebook page that the officer suffered a serious head wound and was taken to a hospital. His injuries were described as serious but "survivable."

The unidentified man shot by the officer died at the scene. No other information was immediately released.

Caledonia is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Milwaukee.


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MADISON - Two Native American tribes in Wisconsin are receiving federal grants for renewable energy projects that tribe members say will help reduce costs and lead to energy independence.

The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Odanah received a nearly $1 million grant, and the Forest County Potawatomi Community in Crandon got a grant for more than $1.5 million.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports the grants, announced last month, will be used to install solar panels at tribal buildings. The move is expected to save the tribes millions of dollars in energy spending over the next 25 years.

The Wisconsin tribes are among 12 nationwide that received a total of 14 grants from the federal Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs worth a total of $16 million.

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MADISON -  A man who spent 25 years in prison for a 1992 homicide wants the state of Wisconsin to pay him nearly $6 million in compensation.

The state Claims Board is set to consider Derrick Sanders' demand for $5.7 million Thursday.

Sanders and two other men were convicted of homicide charges in 1993 in the shooting death of Jason Bowie in Milwaukee. Sanders pleaded no-contest to being party to first-degree intentional homicide.

But he later argued he didn't intelligently enter the plea because he didn't understand the potential for punishment, and a Milwaukee County circuit judge last year agreed and tossed out the plea. Prosecutors dropped the charges after that.

Sanders is now 48. State law limits compensation for wrongful convictions to $25,000, but Sanders is arguing for more.


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"The wind and the rain just add confusion, but it makes it interesting," said competitor Andre Devilliers. 

The event attracts athletes from around the world. 

Devilliers was born in South-Africa, where he got into the sport at age 9.

"The fun thing about this sport [is] anybody can do it," said Devilliers.

12-year-old Sophie Miljevich started barefooting only a month ago. 

"I just wanted to learn how to barefoot and now here I am," said Miljevich.

Miljevich, a Rhinelander native, beat a two-time women's national champion to take the title.

"If someone wants to try it, do it. You're never going to regret it," said Miljevich.

Over 140 skiers came out to participate.

Among them was 10-time national champion Peter Fleck, who's still going strong at age 55.

"It's a lot of fun to go up against some of the younger guys and give them a hard time," said Fleck.


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