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Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Secretary Reggie Bicha stopped in Superior on Monday to kick off a three-day listening tour of Douglas, Ashland, Bayfield and Sawyer counties. He spoke at the Douglas County Courthouse about the importance of teaming up to protect children and families throughout the state. Bicha and Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, then followed up with a roundtable discussion on domestic violence in northern Wisconsin - the unique challenges faced and local programs aimed at helping victims. "We mostly want to spend time listening," Bicha said.
Jacob Roeber wants to leave his audiences mystified. "Eyes on the table, jaws on the floor, hands in the air, 'How did he do that?'" the Superior magician said. Last week, he kept Enbridge employees chuckling and gasping with a series of tricks wrapped in light-hearted banter. At one point, he "fumbled" with a trick.
The Humane Society of Douglas County was teeming with cats Wednesday - big cats, small cats, fluffy cats and talkative cats; kittens leaping playfully, adult cats relaxed in boneless sleep, a calico peeking out from under a rug, a plaintive "meow" and a dozen eager paws reaching out. Shelter Manager Danni Lane calls this "cat row." "They all do their line up, 'Pick me, pick me,'" she said. Despite a reduced price for all cats - $35 each instead of the usual $70 fee - the number of felines at the shelter continues to grow.
Master gardeners are digging in to lead local sustainability efforts. They have their green thumbs planted in projects throughout Superior - some for food, some for beauty. Everywhere volunteers gather to grow, members of the Lake Superior Master Gardeners Association can be found. "They are awesome, involved," said Susan Anderson, executive director for Superior Public Museums.
Teachers, parents and community members spent two months accumulating 8,000 books. It took three days to distribute them. Tuesday, seventh grade students at Superior Middle School browsed through tables piled with the donated books. Some asked for war tales, others for Newbery Medal winners. All of them left with three books apiece, fodder for summer reading. "It's an effort to increase summer literacy and provide books for kids," said SMS Principal Rick Flaherty. Andrea Tuura, the school's literacy coach, headed the project. She sent out a call for books in the school newsletter.
School's out for summer. For some families, that means making grocery dollars stretch farther to cover breakfast and lunch for their children. Help can be found through free youth meals and community-based food-buying clubs. Two local branches of non-profit food-buying networks offer a lot of food for a minimal price. Both the SHARE program and Angel Food Ministries provide a "hand up" to clients with savings of up to 50 percent on food purchased. "I think it's really reasonable," said Melissa Vagle of Superior, who has utilized the SHARE program for more than two years.
Nestled in Superior's East End is a treasure trove of history. The Old Firehouse & Police Museum at 402 23rd Ave. E. offers a little something for everyone. And, for this year only, admission is free. Match your height against Superior's tallest police officer. See turn of the century fire fighting rigs and look through a hall of heroes. Walk into a jail cell, scan rows of police department badges and view a slice of fire hall life. Then, if you'd like, do it again.
Judy Hack is more than a teacher with a head for figures and a keen sense of humor. The Superior woman is a lifelong learner. Since she began kindergarten at Cooper Elementary School in 1955, Hack has been a perennial student. "Never stop taking classes," she said.
Michael Berg is going for gold next week. The athlete will compete in the 400 meter walk during the Special Olympic Summer Games in Stevens Point.
Students at Cooper Elementary School welcomed the newest additions Thursday with cheers and the words "Plant a tree!" The three flowering fruit trees - two apple and one cherry - waved in response. They are part of the school's Learning Garden project, which broke ground last month. The area boasts 10 raised gardens, some already sprouting kale and leeks, as well as a "talking tube," pathways and picnic tables. "The Learning Garden has set the stage for this planting," said Mary Morgan, city forester.