Aspirus MedEvac relocates to Woodruff
Aspirus MedEvac critical care transport is moving the home location of its helicopter service from Wausau to Woodruff in April. The Bell 407 helicopter will reside in the hangar at Howard Young Medical Center. Relocating to Woodruff will provide a 20-30 minute advantage when responding to transport needs in the northern portion of Aspirus’ service area.
“Around 90 percent of air transport patient volumes come from north of Aspirus Wausau Hospital,” said Jason Keffeler, Aspirus MedEvac system director. “This move will allow us to reduce transport time from locations in Wisconsin’s Northwoods and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”
The MedEvac helicopter can pick up patients from regional hospitals or directly from the scene of an emergency. MedEvac air is staffed with a pilot, a flight nurse, and a flight paramedic and can transport one patient. The helicopter service is also supported by nine ground base locations throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
New AmeriCorps program seeks members
Marshfield Clinic Health System is accepting applications from people interested in serving in Community Corps, a new AmeriCorps program launched in January. Community Corps will place 80 full-time members across Wisconsin to support clinics, hospitals, coalitions, youth-serving organizations, public health and other nonprofits and government agencies to address local health priorities.
Work that Community Corps members could do includes work on nutrition, mental health, substance misuse, chronic disease prevention, healthy growth and development, academics, tobacco and physical fitness.
“Service in AmeriCorps is an opportunity for individuals to serve their community and also provides valuable work related experience, builds skills and prepares individuals for future employment,” said Brian Blahnik, manager of the new program. “We also see many nontraditional members who want to give back, share their skills and talents and be a part of a national service movement.”
Members would serve September 2021 through August 2022. For more information and to apply, visit communityhealth.marshfieldclinic.org/en/americorps.
YMCA, food pantry partner for child hunger relief
The YMCA of the Northwoods is using a $15,000 grant from its national organization to expand hunger relief and food accessibility initiatives through a partnership with the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry (RAFP). When presented with the opportunity to apply for the grant, Y CEO Ryan Zietlow said he reached out to the food pantry.
“The great work they have done year over year is well know and when it comes to food access and hunger relief, no better call to make than to them,” Zietlow said. “We wanted to make sure that we could create a collaborative initiative that would use this grant money to launch a long-term sustainable impact for our friends and neighbors.”
Through its early learning, virtual learning, after school and summer camp programs, Zietlow said the Y annually provides nearly 100,000 servings of fruits and vegetables to youth. This new partnership with the RAFP, however, will be about “taking the good work that is happening in our community and allowing us to serve more, especially our kids,” he said.
The specific details of what will be rolled out are yet to be decided; Zietlow said there are many possibilities being discussed.
Rhinelander chamber unveils plans for Hodag Heritage Days
The Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce (RACC) is designating a week in May to celebrate the city’s Hodag heritage. Hodag Heritage days will take place May 17-21 and will feature art contests, scavenger hunts, Hodag decoration contests, Hodag heritage videos and city-wide Hodag foods and beverages. The event will end with a “parked parade” and a Hodag Day designation ceremony Friday, May 21.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past year it’s that this town is resilient, and we support each other,” said chamber event and program coordinator Rachel Boehlen. “There’s no town quite like ours and we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to celebrate our heritage. This is just the beginning.”
The chamber is partnering with the Pioneer Park Historical Complex and the Hodag Store and welcomes additional sponsors. More information will be released April 22, including a list of events and how to participate
Strengthening Families for Caregivers program
UW-Extension Lincoln County is offering a free program that will offer tips, strategies and tools to build positive relationships with children who have experienced trauma and for anyone who provides support to children. The Strengthening Families for Caregivers is an eight-week program which uses scenarios to guide discussion, provides tangible tools to use and provides opportunities to build skills in effort to learn how trauma affects children and how caregivers can use this knowledge to make sense of children’s feelings, attitudes and behavior. Each session builds upon the previous one, so it is important to attend all programs if possible.
The program will be offered free virtually via Zoom Wednesdays, 9-11 a.m., May 5-June 30. To register, go to bit.ly/SRSReg. For more information, call the Lincoln county UW-Extension office, 715-539-1072.
Utilities to resume disconnects for nonpayment
The state moratorium on utility disconnections will end April 15. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) ordered the moratorium preventing utilities from disconnecting service for nonpayment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The PSC cited the decrease in weekly average cases of COVID-19 for the lifting of the moratorium. To avoid disconnection, customers who are behind in paying their bills are encouraged to make payment arrangements with their utility providers. To apply for Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) go to energybenefit.wi.gov or call 800-506-5596. In addition to WHEAP funding, several other utility bill assistance programs are expected to become available in the near future as part of federal stimulus funding.
Utilities are required to offer a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) to residential customers who cannot pay an outstanding bill in full. If customers cannot reach a payment agreement with their utility, they may contact the PSC by calling 1-800-225-7729, or by filling out a complaint form at psc.wi.gov.
Telethon raises thousands for OC Fair
The Oneida County Fair held its first annual fundraising telethon March 13, broadcast live and live streamed from downtown Rhinelander. The fair raised $6,020 during the 12-hour event. An array of talent performed during the 12-hour event including Scott Kirby, Michael Saint, Stephanie Roou, Ruby Plamann, Tuck Pence, Santy and Son, Will Young and Peter Kotarba. Kerry Bloedorn provided Oneida County history segments and WJFW’s Devin Biggs brought educational pieces.
Fair coordinator Thomas Barnett noted one of the breakout stars of the show was 14-year-old Felicity Rae. “Her rendition of the song, ‘Hallelujah’ brought tears to the eyes of some of the people present,” he said.
Barnett thanked business owners and community members who stopped by, called or donated online to help support the fair. Anyone wishing to contribute to the fair may do so through its secure PayPal account, paypal.me/ocfairwi.
Catena Three Lakes program set
The first Catena Three Lakes event of the 2021 spring series will be held April 7 at the Three Lakes Center for the Arts. “Catena” refers to a connected series. The spring program series will Feature the Forward Three Lakes team, a project of the Three Lakes Community Foundation. At the April 7 events, members of Forward Three Lakes will talk about a shared vision of the town, how the organization came into existence and where it currently stands. The first presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.; there will be limited seating in the theater with virtual attendance encouraged. Pre-registration is required for in-person attendance. Zoom participants can find connection information on the Demmer Library and the Three Lakes Center for the Arts websites and Facebook pages. The series will continue April 28, May 5 and May 26.
Artist to sell pieces, donate to ArtStart
An artist exhibiting one of her collections at the ArtStart galleries in Rhinelander is helping the organization raise money. Mel Kolstad is donating 50% of the sale of each piece in her collection, entitled, “The Post Office: A Love Letter.”
“The impetus for my donation is a mixture of a couple of things.” Mel explained. “Firstly, ArtStart has been very good to me for the last four years, having me as an instructor at School of the Arts and just their all-around support. And secondly, this pandemic has hit non-profits so hard. ArtStart is important to me and this is a small way I can make a difference.”
The exhibit can be viewed in person by calling 715-362-4328 to make an appointment. Virtual tours are available by visiting artstartrhinelander.org.