EAGLE RIVER - Firefighters know the importance of getting to know children.
It makes children more comfortable with them in an emergency.
But instead of showing kids their oxygen tanks and masks, firefighters bonded with local kids over milk jugs.
"This is one of our favorite days of the year in kindergarten. The kids just have an absolute blast. We all do. Teachers do, too," said Kindergarten teacher Sarah Simac.
Everyone knows about the Eagle River Ice Castle.
And all Northland Pines Elementary kindergarteners know about the milk jug castle.
"Ice castles are really cool," said kindergartener Tommy Burr.
"We're here working with the kindergarten class building the ice castle out of milk jugs to kind of replicate what we did downtown with the actual ice," said Eagle River firefighter Michael Anderson.
This was the 4th year the Eagle River Area Fire Department and kindergarteners built a milk jug castle.
It took more than 200 gallon-size jugs to build it.
"We have families donate [the milk jugs]. Firefighters bring them in. Kids bring them in. The whole school chips in," explained Simac.
"It's a lot warmer working in here with the kids. It's a lot more fun to get the kids involved," added Anderson.
The firefighters also showed students how they build the real ice castle in downtown Eagle River.
They also helped the children make ice castle art.
"It's important for us to get into the school and work with the kids to build that familiarity in case they ever do have a fire in their house. Then they're more comfortable working with us and helping them to get them out of their residence," said Anderson.
Kindergartener Tommy Burr said building the castle with firefighters was even more special.
"Because they're firemen and they help us," explained Burr.
After a couple hours, the kids were able to step back and look at their creation.
It looked very similar to the real ice castle.
The experience inspired some of the children.
"I want to be a firefighter when I grow up," said kindergartener Maddy Gosden.
"I decided this year I wanted to be a fireman when I grow up. It's really cool," said Burr.
WOODRUFF - Shoveling snow can hurt your back. But some may not know that staring at all that snow can hurt your eyes.
The term albedo tells us the amount of light that's either absorbed into the ground or reflected back up. On days like Friday, the snow pack will really make it look brighter out and boost the albedo amount. That's hard on the eyes.
Dr. Kirby Redman is an Optometrist in Woodruff. He says there are simple ways to protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays.
RHINELANDER - A former contracted janitor accused of sexually assaulting a Rhinelander student appears headed for a trial.
Stavros Iliopoulos appeared in Oneida County Court on Friday afternoon. Attorneys told Judge Michael Bloom they had not reached a plea deal. Bloom decided to schedule one final pre-trial conference for late August before a two-day jury trial was set for Sept. 4 and 5.
In late November, police said Iliopoulos, 65, took a girl into a dark closet and hugged, kissed, and touched her inappropriately at Northwoods Community Elementary School, a public charter school in Harshaw.
Iliopoulos worked for a contracted company, Victory Janitorial, at the time.
All sorts of animals are affected by icy conditions. Some Northern Wisconsin owls dive INTO the snow to hunt small rodents. But recent freezing rain has formed an ice crust that owls can't break through. That means owls are beginning to starve.
Amanda Schirmer has been working at the Northwoods Wilderness Center for the past four years. She says that owls may hang around birdfeeders to prey on smaller birds. They may also be seen near roads.
THREE LAKES - Plenty of Three Lakes High School students didn't know what they want to do for a career as of Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, many still weren't sure, but dozens got an inside look at possible careers.
The school held its annual Career Day on Friday morning. About 25 presenters included police, an FBI agent, college teachers, and graphic designers.
The school first held Career Day in 2009. Organizers hope students realize they have plenty of opportunities close to home.
SEYMOUR, IND. - A chain-reaction crash in southern Indiana killed a Minocqua couple on Wednesday morning.
Glenn Cardelli and his wife, Kathryn, both 57 years old, were traveling in south an RV near Seymour, Ind., on Interstate 65. The RV was behind a semi and an SUV, both of which slowed due to highway maintenance.
Another semi failed to slow down behind the stalled traffic and crashed into the Cardellis' RV. The crash killed the couple and John Mumma, 67, an Illinois man driving the SUV.
The vehicles caught fire. Interstate 65 was closed for about eleven hours for cleanup and crash investigation.
LINCOLN CO. - The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office is calling a death east of Merrill on Thursday a homicide.
In a press release on Friday morning, the sheriff's office said a 77-year-old woman was found shot and killed around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. In the same home, a 78-year-old man was found critically injured from a gunshot wound.
It happened at a home on Range Line Road in the Town of Pine River.
The sheriff's office said it believes the shooting is isolated and the public is not in danger.
The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Lab worked to process the scene.
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