Northwoods groups host Pride Month event in Arbor VitaeSubmitted: 06/11/2017
Story By Dakota Sherek

Northwoods groups host Pride Month event in Arbor Vitae
ARBOR VITAE - Every year, June serves as Pride Month. This year, a couple Northwoods groups joined together to start a new pride event.

"It's the Northwoods, we're not exactly known for rainbow flags everywhere," said Colleen Egan, a former Hodag Rainbow student president.

But on Saturday, Egan was pleasantly surprised.

"This is beyond my imagination," said Egan.

As a former member of the LGBT+ support group, "Rainbow Hodags", Egan had discussed hosting a Pride event before.

"When we first started talking about this we thought 'How many are going to be comfortable coming out to this,'" said Egan.

The Northwoods Progressives and Rainbow Hodags teamed up to put on the inaugural "Northwoods Pride Picnic." 

Dozens attended the event at the Arbor Vitae Fireman's Park, surpassing many people's expectations.

"I'm very surprised, I thought there was going to be like maybe 10 people here at most. This is very nice, I'm happy about this," said Rainbow Hodag member Charlie Phillips.

A Wisconsin state senator also made an appearance.

"It's a great day for a rainbow," said Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Ashland).

Bewley says she was glad to come.

"I am proud to stand here as a state senator and as a personal private citizen to let them know that what they believe matters to me," said Bewley.

Those in the LGBT community say they haven't always felt supported in the Northwoods.

"There's not very much of a queer community in the area because it's small town, kind of conservative," said Phillips.

But the turnout at the pride picnic is giving some hope that more acceptance is on the horizon.

"I think it's a really good thing happening, it's a sign of the times," said Rainbow Hodag member Don Schindhelm.

The turnout also served as a sign that more LGBT+ events may be held in the future.

"I'd love to see events like this held throughout the year too. To have spaces for queer people and LGBT+ people in the Northwoods and celebrating that," said Egan.

Egan hopes that events like this will show people what it's like to be in someone else's shoes.

"I just hope people come to sympathize and understand, and maybe eventually come out here and show support too," said Egan.

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


WASHINGTON - Spotify and the makers of Fortnite and Tinder are taking on Apple and Google as part of a newly formed coalition calling for "fair treatment" in the way the tech giants run their app stores.

+ Read More

Play Video

- Park Falls Police Department is investigating two incidents when a man approached middle school boys earlier this month. It's an incident that the City of Park Falls Chief Jerome Ernst says he has not experienced in the last 30 years.

"This type of report is very rare for us, but you see these types of things happen. You now all over the place, Park Falls is not exempt.," Ernst said.

Ernst says back on September 8th, a middle school cross country runner was approached by a man after his practice near Chequamegon High School in Park Falls. The man told the boy that he was from 'Up North', and was asking for help to find the hospital. The second incident occurred on September 16th, when a man matching a similar description was seen on Saunders Avenue in Park Falls near Hines Park. When he approached two boys who were also in Middle School.

"The person only stated 'Do you want to race', and the kid just kinda ignored him, because he is a stranger, and he wasn't comfortable about it," Ernst said. "The other child however, tells us that the person said, 'Do you want to race me to my house. If you win I'll give you some prize or treats', Something like that," Ernst said.
Then last Friday a man matching a similar description was also seen in Wausau. According to a Facebook post and video posted online, he was accused of watching a group of girls.
"The description of the individual, looks a little bit like the person in the video. Although it's hard to tell because the videos are a little bit shaded and dark. The vehicle is definitely not the same like it is in Park Falls," Ernst said.
However, Park Falls and Wausau Police Department are partnering up to see if the incidents may be connected.
Even if the cases are not connected, Ernst says it's a good reminder of stranger danger.
"If you are going out to play or do things or walk over to the park, stay in groups with your trusted friends or family. Talk to them about stranger danger. Not to immediately trust, a new person or strange person," Ernst said. 

+ Read More

MADISON - Wisconsin's daily count of COVID-19 cases hit its second-highest total to date on Thursday, while the seven-day average topped 1,900 for the first time.

+ Read More

MADISON - A federal judge said Wednesday that he won't rule before the election on a lawsuit that challenged a state law requiring college student IDs to have an expiration date in order for them to be used as a voter's ID.

+ Read More

MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday $8.3 million to support COVID-19 testing efforts at Wisconsin's private, nonprofit and tribal colleges and universities.

+ Read More

MADISON - The state is making more money available to help small businesses in Kenosha recover from damage during recent unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, officials announced Wednesday.

+ Read More

WASHINGTON - Many American workers applying for unemployment benefits after being thrown out of a job by the coronavirus face a new complication: States' efforts to prevent fraud have delayed or disrupted their payments.

+ Read More
+ More General News