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Pair an ideas man with a problem solver. Add in technology that keeps people linked with the push of a button and a growing web of volunteers. Stir in some enthusiasm and a "can do" attitude. Then watch the momentum build. "Lots of good things are happening in Wascott," said Sheryl Beglinger, many of them prompted by the new Neighbors Helping Neighbors network. Since its inception in August, the group has winterized approximately 250 houses in the Gordon/Minong/Wascott area, hosted a Christmas day dinner and began developing a Neighborhood Watch Program.
David Fechtelkotter has dreams of becoming a paleontologist. But the Northwestern Middle School eighth grader could add meteorologist and geologist to his list of possible careers. He won the top slot in the school's National Geographic Bee on Friday by knowing the name of the region of reduced precipitation that occurs on the downwind side of a mountain range - rain shadow. "Mr. Ketola taught us that," he said after being declared the winner. After being in the bee for three straight years, David finally clinched the No. 1 position.
A small office space at Superior High School has transformed into a dress shop. Dozens of dresses hang about the room, a tapestry of colors, styles and fabrics. But there are no price tags, no cashiers, just the promise of a special evening. "Every girl dreams of going to a dance and looking spectacular," said Cindy Johnson, whose daughter, Paige, is a senior at SHS. Generous dress donations from Johnson and her employer, maurices Inc., have given wings to those dreams.
The search for a new Douglas County Court Commissioner began this week. According to both Douglas County judges and County Administrator Steve Koszarek, Court Commissioner Paul Baxter will not be returning to the bench. "Paul's not going to be back," said Judge George Glonek. Baxter, 52, has held the position of court commissioner for seven years. He was appointed to the position in 2002 after then-Court Commissioner Glonek was appointed judge following the death of Judge Joseph McDonald. The position is a year-to-year appointment with each term ending on Jan.
A new vibe is sweeping over the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus. It started with the new Health and Wellness Center, which opened in 2003, and jumped forward with the remodeling of the Jim Dan Hill Library. Now, energy is ramping up with the new Yellowjacket Union, which replaces Rothwell Student Center. "It is a gorgeous new building," said Tonya Roth, director of admissions for UWS. "We can't wait to get over there and show it to new students." The Yellowjacket Union is ready to welcome students back for spring semester, which begins Jan. 18.
Central Assembly of God is ringing in the New Year with a marathon Bible-reading session. In three days, members will read the entire Bible aloud from the pulpit into a live microphone. "It's an incredible thing to think you can read through the whole Bible in 72 hours," said Rhonda Horyza, church secretary. The "Take Up the Sword" event is more of a relay than a marathon. Reading is nonstop, 24 hours a day. Members, one at a time, read in one-hour shifts. Some couples split the time equally, sharing passages.
Everyone has a viewpoint on Wisconsin Point. Some call it a treasure, "the most beautiful landscape in Superior," an asset. Others refer to it as the Wild West, "filthy and strewn with trash," pathetic. When a group from the Leadership Superior/Douglas County program decided to tackle the issues on Wisconsin Point this fall; they started by getting the public involved. A poll was offered online through the Superior Telegram and Duluth News Tribune Web sites.
State cuts to tobacco cessation funding have impacted youth as well. In the Maple School District, a project that has been warning students of the dangers of smoking for more than a dozen years faces extinction. Carinda Larson can still remember when high school DECA - an association of marketing students - gave her sixth-grade class a presentation on smoking. "One of the girls was a basketball player," she said. "I looked up to her." This year, 17-year-old Larson was the presenter.
The New Year is days away. When the clock strikes midnight, resolutions will be made. If yours is to quit smoking in 2010, be warned. State budget cuts have depleted the resources available to kick the habit. June Farkas, a college health nurse at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College-Superior, fights smoking in Douglas County with mints, information and a positive attitude. Students approach her weekly looking for help to quit. "I just want them to be well and I want to help them," Farkas said.
Joey cocked his head, big ears alert, waiting for a treat and a pat from Rhonda Richey last week. The canine's brother, Turner, ambled through the snowy parking lot wearing warm black booties striped with blue purchased by Marni Lind. Shamu, a black and white kitten, purred as it snuggled in the arms of Dr. Bob McClellan. These three animals had a rough start in life. Neglected, abandoned, injured, they could very well have become statistics.