ST. GERMAIN - Shanna Stein took a bit of a gamble Wednesday afternoon. The co-owner of The Green Rich Tea store brewed traditional Japanese green tea for grade school students, a flavor that can provide an odd experience for young taste buds.
"I don't have kids myself, so I was kind of like, 'I don't know how they're going to respond to me,'" Stein said.
But Stein's gamble seemed to pay off. Her 30-minute traditional tea ceremony helped Northland Pines Montessori students get a firsthand—or first-taste—experience of Asian culture.
"If they're not exposed to it, they don't want to try it, and I think it's important that they try," Stein said.
Teachers invited Stein and her assistant to visit the school, which opened in September, in St. Germain. The tea helped round out the students monthly study of different continents.
"[At this school, students are] kind of expected to try new things," said teacher Karla Lorgus. "You never know if you like something unless you try it."
Lorgus has spent more than 30 years teaching at Montessori schools in northern Wisconsin. The classrooms mix students by age (Pines' classes teach students from kindergarten through third grade) and offer non-traditional educational opportunities.
"It gives them a little introduction to their whole world," Lorgus said. "Not just here in the Northwoods, but what is it like outside of the Northwoods?"
Lorgus admits Montessori schools aren't the perfect fit for all families. But she believes experiences like Wednesday's can make a difference down the road.
"Just to even pique the children's interest at this age, you never know where they'll go then in the future," she said.
Stein hopes those futures include a risk or two taken and plenty of lessons learned.
"With everything that's going on in the world, I think we really need to make sure that [children] understand that the world's a lot smaller than what it seems," Stein said.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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