From “Growling online scam: Catfishing” — It’s been a hot topic since the Manti Te’o story broke. It’s caused some to re-examine their behavior on the web and reaffirmed what others already thought about the online world.

But the question remains how could a very popular public figure like Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o fall victim to a growing online scam known as catfishing?

The term catfish was made popular by a recent documentary and television show on MTV by the same name.

According to Steve Noll, a Marketing Instructor and social media expert with Madison College, catfishing occurs when someone creates a fake account or profile online with the intent of starting a romantic relationship.

It’s not really illegal and you can argue if it’s moral.

Noll says, ” It’s one of those Grey areas. The interesting thing about the rise of social media and the changes and all that is the technology has changed faster than the laws. ”

For the scammer Noll says the relationship may help fill a void in their life. But for the victim the online romance can be very real and in some cases even more intense than a more traditional relationship.

To avoid being catfished Noll says a little paranoia can go a long way.

” A little paranoia can save you a lot of heartache and money loss later down the line.”


From “Career and Technical Education a viable pathway to college and career readiness” — MADISON— February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Technical College System (WTCS) are encouraging students, schools, parents and educators to discover the great CTE programs available in our state.

“One of the surest pathways to growing a more prosperous middle class in Wisconsin is through career and technical education, or CTE,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “To be pro-business, you have to be pro-education, and that is why I’m working with business and education leaders across the state to reinvigorate CTE programs. It is also why I’ve requested support for new investments in STEM, CTE, and industry certifications in my budget request.”

“As our economic transformation continues, existing careers are changing and new opportunities are being created,” said Morna Foy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “CTE Month is a great time for parents and students to explore the many education and career opportunities that are open to them.”

The DPI and WTCS are using February to observe and emphasize the value of CTE to Wisconsin’s economy. The DPI supports increased opportunities for career and technical education in high school. CTE programs can help students follow a viable route to a rewarding career. Many CTE programs provide multiple pathways for students to become college and career ready while still in high school, and Wisconsin’s technical colleges can play an important role in expanding CTE opportunities for students.

“Last year during CTE Month, I visited robust CTE programs in the Sun Prairie, Superior, Milwaukee, Beloit and Hartford Union school districts,” added Evers. “I look forward to touring many more this year. Thanks to programs like these, students participating in Wisconsin’s CTE programs graduate at a rate of more than 95 percent. That is good for students and for Wisconsin.”

More than 90,000 Wisconsin high school students are taking career and technical education courses in fields like agriculture, business, family and consumer science, health occupations, marketing, technology and engineering. Schools form partnerships with local businesses to provide opportunities for students to explore various career options, while developing academic and career plans students are given direction to post-secondary options.


From MSTC students honored with statewide scholarships” — The Wisconsin Employment and Training Association offers two statewide scholarships and both have been awarded to Mid-State Technical College students.

Kristine Ahles and Matt Nievinski, both of Wisconsin Rapids, have each received a scholarship in the amount of $750.  Ahles is pursuing Business Management and Administrative Professional associate degrees.  Nievinski is seeking an associate degree in Information Technology-Network Specialist.

The scholarship application considers economic need, personal characteristics, school and community involvement, personal expression of training and career goals, academic achievement, Wisconsin residency, and two letters of recommendation.  MSTC Financial Aid Supervisor and WETA member Mary Jo Green recommended both students for WETA scholarships.

“I am confident these two individuals will continue to achieve in the classroom and community,” said Green in a press release.  “They are a reflection of the quality of students we have here at MSTC.”

Ahles originally enrolled at MSTC through the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Workers Program and enjoys MSTC’s personable hometown friendly atmosphere.

“I look forward to coming to school and learning,” she said in a press release.

Nievinski chose MSTC because he had seen firsthand how much faculty and staff care about their students and foster student success.

“I like the fact that at MSTC you are not treated like a number,” Nievinski said in a press release.  “Faculty and staff are friendly and want to help you succeed when you put forth the effort.”

WETA established scholarships like the Harmon Memorial Scholarship and the Brasch Memorial Scholarship to help students achieve their educational and career goals.

Dennis Harmon was a dedicated professional who spent most of his work life serving the needs of the poor and unemployed through the development, operation and management of education, employment, and training programs in Wisconsin.

John Brasch was one of the founders of WETA and remained an active member until his death.  In his role as a technical college counselor, Brasch was deeply committed to working with disadvantaged students.

From “2013 Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show to feature special attractions” — An enhanced Outdoor Living Area with a Mediterranean theme, the Schlossmann’s Dodge City Chrysler Jeep Vehicle Display, and an Interior Design Contest between local colleges are some of the attractions at the 51st annual Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Thurs., Feb. 7, through Sun., Feb. 10.

The Show’s Outdoor Living Area will feature a Mediterranean theme, with landscaping, hardscaping, and water features. The following Milwaukee/NARI members are participating in the Outdoor Living Area construction:

• Aquatica, a division of Dean Pipito Waterfeatures, LLC: Creating an elegant and enjoyable water feature that can stand alone in any landscape, the Mediterranean themed feature will bring movement and sound, along with the vision of falling water over classical urns and statuary.

• Nite Time Decor by Bold Illuminations: Outdoor LED lighting to enhance the overall display space.

• Breezy Hill Nursery, Inc.: Whether it’s the presence of a quaint trickle of water, the naturally warm colors of the paved sitting area, the rustic appeal of the overhead pergola, or the idea of a relaxed game of Bocce Ball, this display contains all the elements of a desired Mediterranean getaway.

• Exteriors Unlimited Landscape Contractors, Inc.: The space will feature a natural stone fire pit, honed limestone grilling station with integrated bar seating, and a rustic cedar pergola. The distinct areas will be tied together with the use of Brussels tumbled pavers that resemble the classic time-worn, hand-hewn cobblestones from the streets of early American settlements. The same look is carried upward into the seat walls and pillars. Using a wooden pergola that extends the landscape vertically and is silhouetted by an overhead canopy of trees creates feelings of intimacy, warmth, and protection.

• Ground Affects Landscaping, Inc.: Welcomed by a bubbling urn, Show attendees will enter the outdoor room through the main entrance under a cedar Arbor with cast stone columns. The paver patio displays two styles of brick that coincide to create a beautiful and functional space. The space includes shade trees and plantings, a Holly bush, Hyacinths in full bloom, along with daffodils and tulips. Landscape lighting and a natural stone raised fire element complete the living space.

• Innovative Exteriors Landscape: The space will use a combination stone products with Fond du Lac flagstone steppers and a man-made aspect with walkway pavers and flooring in the fireplace area. The walkways will be covered with a pergola that uses both natural wood and wrought iron to create views to the center area’s focal point. A sitting area along the walkway will feature flagstone steppers surrounded by tall evergreens and perennials.

Attendees will have an opportunity to serve as judges of an Interior Design Contest sponsored by Nehmey Construction, which will pit students from Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, and Waukesha County Technical College each designing and creating a 12′ x 12′ garage with a “man-cave” theme. The participating schools will each receive $1,000 for the school’s interior design program.

Providing attendees with a central location to learn about the various components of the country’s largest home improvement council, the Milwaukee/NARI Information Center will have members from different areas of the association, including Membership, Education/Certification, and the Milwaukee/NARI Foundation, the association’s charitable arm. At least one of the association’s Certified Professionals will be in the Information Center at all times to answer consumer inquiries relating to home improvement and remodeling.

The Grand Appliance and TV Coffee and Media Lounge will provide an area for Show attendees to relax as they walk the aisles, as well as enjoy a complimentary cup of Alterra Coffee on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., and on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Ultimate Confections will be at the Show during its entire run selling an assortment fine chocolates and other treats in time for Valentine’s Day.

The latest 2013 cars and trucks will be shown inside the expo center in the Schlossmann’s Dodge City Chrysler Jeep Vehicle Display, including the all new Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Durango, and a Chrysler 200.

On Feb. 8, the first 200 attendees will receive a Valentine carnation courtesy of Locker’s Floral.

The Kids Creative Zone sponsored by Advantage Carpentry and Remodeling, will be open Feb. 9 and Feb 10, featuring arts, crafts, face painting by Milwaukee Face Painter (1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 9 and 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Feb. 10), interactive activities, and an opportunity to take a photo with Gerry the Carpenter Ant, Milwaukee/NARI’s mascot, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day.

During the Show, educational demonstrations and seminars by home improvement experts and media celebrities will be held, including presentations on the Renewal by Andersen Seminar Stage by Bonnie Schneider, CNN/HLN Meteorologist and DIY Network weather expert, presented by Allrite Home & Remodeling, discussing “Extreme Weather,” Melinda Myers, The Plant Doctor, Gus Gnorski, Lis Friemoth, “The Garden Hoe”, and Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, presented by J&B Construction, Inc. The Mukwonago Remodeling Cooking Demonstration Stage will feature area chefs and national cooking celebrities, including Mad Dog & Merrill, the Grilling Buddies, and Patricia Katopes, Food Network “Cupcake Wars” Winner. In addition, the Show will also feature live music featuring Scott E. Berendt and the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra, sponsored by Dimension Design, Build, Remodel, Inc.

Hours Thurs., Feb. 7, Fri., Feb. 8, and Sat., Feb. 9, are 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun., Feb. 10. Admission is $5 in advance, $8 at the door. Tickets for seniors 60 and older are $5.00, with a special price of $4.00 at the door on Thurs., Feb. 7, for Senior Day sponsored by Callen Construction, Inc. Children 12 and younger and all military personnel with a military ID card will be admitted free.


From “Commentary: Reinvigorating career and technical  education” — By Tony Evers, Wisconsin Supt. of Public Instruction — In Wisconsin and across the nation, employers are warning of impending shortages of workers in several specialized careers. Public education can help fix this problem as we reinvigorate the state’s high school Career and Technical Education programs.

While a bachelor’s degree is an important path to lifetime success and family-supporting careers, it is not the only route. Students and parents need information about diploma and apprenticeship programs, technical college degrees and industry certifications that require less than a four-year degree but also lead to a good life and a successful, rewarding career. Information and outreach are important parts of reinvigorating CTE. In October, about 20 manufacturing facilities across the state opened their doors to provide a new perspective on a variety of technical careers. Courtesy of a job-training grant, Western Technical College in

La Crosse supported a video series, “Max & Ben’s Manufacturing Adventures,” to help middle school students explore technical careers. Sustaining and expanding these types of efforts will require collaboration among all CTE partners.

When we reinvigorate CTE, we’re not just training students for high-demand jobs. The 16 career clusters, which are broad occupational groupings, provide high school students with rigorous academic preparation and skills for success in college, career and civic life. CTE gives students hands-on experience, developing the “soft skills” like punctuality, teamwork and problem-solving that employers say they want and are needed throughout life.

Because CTE programs must be at the forefront of innovation and industry standards, they can be expensive and have been hard hit by education funding cuts. Our most recent staffing survey showed a 6 percent cut to career and technical education positions in one year’s time. CTE needs a financial investment, which I’ve requested in my 2013-15 education budget. But, CTE also requires renewed partnerships with our state’s technical colleges, businesses and industries. The programs I visited for last year’s CTE Month observance overwhelmingly had strong connections with the local technical college and nearby employers. I expect to see similar partnerships Guest Editorials for Career and Technical Education Month when I tour programs in western Wisconsin, the Fox River Valley and southeastern Wisconsin during February’s CTE Month observance this year.

Career and technical education aligns talent development, job opportunities and workforce needs, supporting economic growth throughout the state. During February’s Career and Technical Education Month observance, and throughout the coming year, let’s work to reinvigorate CTE.

From “EMS project receives $20,000 grant” — SHAWANO COUNTY – A nearly $20,000 grant is aimed at improving the health of older patients in rural communities.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Shawano Ambulance Service were awarded the funds to train emergency responders.

The goal of the project is to help aging adults understand their key risk factors and make sure they are receiving the proper care.

The hope is that the model developed in Shawano County can be used in other locations throughout the state.

The funding for the project comes from the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

From “Displaced workers launch new health care careers” — Cristin Johnson was laid off from her job at a call center, but today she sees great possibilities for her future.

Johnson, of Eau Claire, is about to enroll in the medical office receptionist program at Chippewa Valley Technical College as a way to transition to the medical assistant program next fall. She’s excited about the prospect of landing a job in the medical field.

Johnson is one of dozens of displaced workers in CVTC’s 11-county district to be introduced to new health care careers through the Health care Academy, part of the Bridges2Healthcare program that prepares displaced workers for specific jobs in the field. A group of 14 participants in the Health care Academy graduated from the program Jan. 11, with more sessions coming up.

“We took tours (of health care businesses) and the workers were so excited to be there for people. That’s why I want to get into health care, to be there for people,” Johnson said.

The people-centered nature of the health care field is one of the things participants learn about in the Health care Academy, the introductory part of the Bridges2Healthcare program.

Bridges2Healthcare is the result of a federal grant made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the so-called stimulus bill of 2010. The bill made money available for retraining displaced workers for the jobs available in their areas. CVTC was one of a group of eight technical and community colleges in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa to receive a grant to transition workers to jobs in health care, according to CVTC Career Pathways Coordinator Brenda Scheurer.

“A lot of people were losing their jobs in manufacturing at the time,” said Scheurer. “We found a lot of the skills they had could be applicable to the health care industry.”

In Bridges2Healthcare, educational institutions partner with local agencies that work with displaced workers. In the Chippewa Valley, that agency is Workforce Resource Inc.

“We were contacted by CVTC to put on the Health care Academy and to recruit people for the Bridges2Healthcare program,” said Sue Lane of Workforce Resource.

Workforce Resource screens prospects for their interest and aptitude for health care careers. Those selected enter the Health care Academy, a two-week session in which they explore the different aspects and opportunities available in the field.

“We go over medical terminology, regulations, safety, communication and time management,” Lane said. “They also become First Aid certified and do a lot of tours of local health care facilities.”

Through the process, the participants find areas of health care that interest them and are then channeled into further training programs, like Bridges2Healthcare’s Medical Office Receptionist or Geriatric Nursing Assistant, taught by CVTC instructors. Some enter regular CVTC programs like Nursing or Dental Hygienist.

“I really like how the staff at CVTC take time to give extra help if we need it. They will help make sure you are ready,” Johnson said.

Terri Rayner of Eau Claire was also laid off from a call center. Looking into a health care career seemed natural to her.

“I did CNA (certified nursing assistant) work before and when I got displaced, I wanted to see what the other options were,” she said. The Health care Academy led to interest in work as a resident assistant or a pharmacy assistant technician.

Rayner was fortunate enough to have a recent job offer. Now she’s considering obtaining health care career training while working so she’s in a position to advance her career in the future.

“It’s been a great experience for anyone wanting to pursue their education,” said Tonya Greger of Chippewa Falls. “In the Health care Academy, we heard all of the different aspects of the nursing and the medical fields. I’d like to further my career by going into nursing.”

More Health care Academy sessions are set up for later this month and into February in Eau Claire, River Falls and Chippewa Falls.

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