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Rescued Northwoods dog named King Barkus for Mardi GrasSubmitted: 02/25/2020
Maya Reese
Maya Reese
Reporter
mreese@wjfw.com

Rescued Northwoods dog named King Barkus for Mardi Gras
RHINELANDER - One former Northwoods resident made his way to New Orleans, in his customized crown and cape, to begin his royal duties in one of the city's famous Mardi Gras parades.

Cheryl Bloomenstiel's dog Eddy served as king of the 2020 Barkus parade in New Orleans.

"I have lived in the French Quarter where the parade takes place for 27 years, never thinking I'd have a dog that would be king of Barkus," said Bloomensteil. "We feel very special and honored."

All of the proceeds from the Barkus Parade go towards animal rescue organizations.

"So they can continue to do their good work. I wouldn't have been a part of this if it wouldn't have benefited rescues," said Bloomensteil. "It's very important to us that the proceeds benefited rescues."

Bloomensteil got Eddy from a local Northwoods animal rescue center three years ago.

"If I may speak for Eddy, I think that he would want to help other dogs or animals that are in the same situation he was just three years ago," said Bloomensteil.

Laura Stroud from the Catkins rescue center said they noticed Eddy had a few mental and physical challenges. They actively worked with him to make him the best version of himself before connecting him with Bloomensteil.

"We started to see him gain confidence and be a lot more comfortable and a lot happier," says Stroud. "This little guy went from a little country Northwoods chihuahua to all of a sudden he's traveling with Cheryl; he gets to go down to New Orleans."

Stroud said the goal of Catkins is to not only connect rescued animals with loving families, but to also make sure that both sides feel get the best they can out of the relationship.

"This little dog that used to be uncomfortable and confused, just looking like he owns the world and won the lottery," said Stroud. "Seeing how much joy he's also bringing to Cheryl and Dawn, just that bond…that's what its all about. That's what makes everything, even the hardest cases, that's what makes it worthwhile."


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NORTHWOODS -
Blood centers across the country saw thousands of cancelled blood drives and donations due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Community Blood Center of Wisconsin initially lost more than 700 units of blood the last two weeks but donations are now on the rise. 

"There's always going to be a need for blood whether we are in a pandemic or not," said Community Blood Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Todd Straus.

Blood donations immediately halted with the rise of Coronavirus cases. Turns out, donating is one of the best ways to help out.

"We were looking at a really big shortage. In response we had to put out a big plea to our donors in the community to try and get in blood donors and I am pleased to say the community response has been wonderful," Straus said.

The local Community Blood Center donation surge was so large the blood centers started scheduling blood donation appointments two weeks out so supply stays stable.

"People are good-hearted individuals, especially in our state. Everyone wants to help out. It's just usually we don't think about it at the time but once we put out the message everyone responded greatly," Straus said.

With the high number of donors during the COVID-19 Pandemic, safety standards rose too.

"We've spaced out our appointment slots, making sure we don't have groups of people at the front door," Straus said.

"Everyone is spaced out from a time standpoint and we've also spaced people out physically in our donor centers so we can make sure the six-feet rules are in place," Straus said.

What's also important right now is that donors who have scheduled an appointment, to keep it.

"We know the need is there but it's not just going to be there today. It's going to be there in two weeks as well," Straus said.

The CBC hopes people remember that need for blood is year-round and there is no alternative way of getting this life-saving treatment. 

"I think people are looking for something to do to help. It's really hard to figure out what you can do to help when you have to stay in your home and this is something we are allowed to do. We are an essential community resource that we need to have. Blood donors have to come out and donate blood, we have no substitute for blood donors," Straus said.

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WISCONSIN - Gov. Tony Evers issued his "Safer at Home" order on March 24, but according to a recent survey by Unacast.com, Wisconsinites received a mediocre grade when it comes to social distancing.

The interactive map breaks down the entire nation on a county-by-county basis and assigns a letter grade for how well people appear to be practicing social distancing. 

According to the data firm company, Wisconsin received the grade of "D" after studies show that residents of Wisconsin only cut down their travel by about 19%.

In a blog post by CEO and Co-founder Thomas Walle: "If we don't take these measures, tens of millions will be infected, many will die, along with anybody else that requires intensive care, because the healthcare system will have collapsed."

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus.

Johnson's office said that he was tested after showing mild symptoms.

Johnson is self-isolating at his London home, and he is still continuing to lead Great Britain's fight against coronavirus.

Earlier this week Britain's Prince Charles announced that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

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ONEIDA CO. - Friday, Gov. Tony Evers called on the State Legislature to send an absentee ballot to every Wisconsin voter ahead of the April 7 Presidential Primary. However, Republican state leaders say the plan is simply not feasible.

About 1,400 absentee ballots were requested in Oneida County during the 2016 presidential primary. This year, that number has jumped to 4,000, as more people are looking to avoid voting in person.

Next Thursday, April 2, is the last day to request an absentee ballot from your municipal clerk. Oneida County Clerk Tracy Hartman encourages people to request it earlier than that. Under current laws, the ballot must return to the polling location by election day, on April 7.

"If you wait till April 2nd to request it," said Oneida County Clerk Tracy Hartman. "And if something happens with the mail and its delayed a day, your ballot may not get there. So we're encouraging everybody to get their requests in as quick as possible."

You can request an absentee ballot by going to MyVote.wi.gov. For now, there will still be in-person voting, despite the Safer at Home order.


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RHINELANDER - Oneida County Health Department Director Linda Conlon confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Oneida County. The individual is in their 20s with a known history of travel. According to Conlon, the patient has been compliant with instructions from health officials and is currently in isolation. 

We will have more details as they are made available by the county.

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RHINELANDER - The owner of a Rhinelander t-shirt shop is reminding people to support local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

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THREE LAKES - While schools across the state are closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty and staff at the Three Lakes School District work hard to keep the student-body well-fed.

"We feed kids here," said Food Service Director Tina Halverson. "That's what I've done for 20 years. Now we're just doing it a little differently."

Staff deliver breakfasts and lunches to students around the district by bus.

"We have runners, we have packers, we have assemblers, we have extra helpers," said Halverson. "We have it down to a really good system right now."


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