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School District of Antigo loses 18 teachers to retirement, could face a similar problem next yearSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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ANTIGO - The School District of Antigo will see a lot of new faces this fall.

The district hired 26 new teachers this year.

They lost so many teachers last year because of retirements and teachers leaving for bigger districts.

The district can't always pay as much as larger ones, especially specialty teachers like special education or science.

"We've tended overall on average to be in the middle of the pack but at some levels we're falling behind," says Antigo School District Interim District Administrator Don Childs. "Particularly in areas of high need and specialty. You'll find there are districts that are willing to pay premiums for and that sometimes draws people as well away from another district."

This isn't a problem only faced by Antigo schools.

Some teachers are drawn away by being able to live in a bigger city.

"Typically you don't have all the necessary social infrastructure that you get in a larger community, in an urban area," says Childs. "For a lot of people that's the kind of environment they want."

Teachers going to larger school districts wasn't the only reason Antigo lost so many employees.

18 teachers retired last year alone, and they could be facing a similar problem at the end of this school year.

The district used to pay for up to 90 months of health insurance for teachers that retired, but that cost the district millions of dollars.

"[A] couple of years ago the board acted to end that practice because it was extraordinarily expensive and the state was requiring us to count that in our accounting as one of our best accounting practices. We couldn't just write it off as an annual payment anymore we had to take it on as an obligation," says Childs.

This is the last year teachers can take advantage of those retirement benefits.

"Others might not have always elected to do so this early. They want to take advantage of that benefit so we had 18 people," says Childs. "We'll probably have people again who will take advantage of it."

Story By: Kaitlyn Howe

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 LOCAL NEWS
Students help incoming freshmen feel comfortable about starting high schoolSubmitted: 08/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Starting high school can be scary for incoming freshmen. One Northwoods high school wanted to help freshman before they start school.

Rhinelander High School held their freshman orientation Thursday. New students got the chance to do team building, get their Chromebooks and tour the school.

Juniors and seniors were there to help the freshmen.

"I think it helps them feel a little bit more comfortable with the high school surroundings," says Junior Emily Ditzler. "You know, walking in on the first day of high school you're not sure where to go. But orientation helps them know exactly where their classes are 'cause they get their schedules right now, and they can become familiar with the teachers and with their homerooms."

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Headwaters Art League exhibit openSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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LAND O' LAKES - A local art league in Land O' Lakes will soon open their art exhibit to the public.

The Headwaters Art League will put on the exhibit at the Gateway Lodge on County Road B. A reception will be held from 4 to 6 pm on Friday. The group leaders want to use the event to promote communication between local artists.

"We hope to have a number of our artists participating in the show here," said Art League Founder Barbara Nehring. "Some to explain how they do their works and what inspires them."

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Tomahawk Public Library to close for a monthSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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TOMAHAWK - People living in the Tomahawk area will need to find another library for a while.

The Tomahawk Public Library will be closed for the month of September. No library materials will be due during the month of September.

The library will get a more than $80,000 facelift.

All carpeting will be replaced, and all walls will be repainted.

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Free school meals for all Lac du Flambeau Public School students this yearSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - All students at the Lac du Flambeau Public School will get breakfast and lunch for free this year. A federal program will reimburse the school for all free meals given to students.

The program is called the Community Eligibility Provision. It's part of the 2010 Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act. Schools can participate in the Community Eligibility Provision if they have a high poverty rate.

90% of Lac du Flambeau Public School students already got free meals last year. 23 students needed to pay a reduced price and 25 needed to pay full price.

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 REGIONAL NEWS
Wisconsin governor's race remains dead heatSubmitted: 08/28/2014

MADISON - The latest Marquette University Law School poll shows Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke remain in a dead heat.

The latest results released Wednesday show little movement in the race with 10 weeks until Election Day. Polls in May and July also showed the race to be essentially tied.

The latest poll shows Walker with 47.5 percent support among registered voters, compared with 44 percent for Burke. That is within the poll's 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

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Wisconsin mourning dove season to begin Sept. 1Submitted: 08/28/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials are reminding hunters that the state's new extended mourning dove season will begin next week.

Hunters will be allowed to kill the state's official peace symbol from Sept. 1 through Nov. 29. That's 20 days longer than previous seasons.

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Wisconsin faces $281 million budget shortfallSubmitted: 08/28/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin tax collections are more than $281 million short of estimates, a drop that could require the Legislature to take action to keep the budget in balance.

The state Department of Revenue on Thursday released the figures for the fiscal year that ended in June. Those figures show the state collected $281.2 million less than was anticipated by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.

That is nearly 2 percent less than anticipated.

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White House: Obama to be in Milwaukee on Labor DaySubmitted: 08/28/2014

- The White House says President Barack Obama will travel to Milwaukee on Monday to speak at a Labor Day event. It gave no specifics about the event.

A spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke said she will attend Laborfest on Monday. Burke won't take the stage with President Obama.

Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki says it is not appropriate for Burke to speak at the rally Obama is attending because it is an official White House event and not a campaign rally. Zepecki says Burke has invited Obama to return for a campaign event before the election and is optimistic that will happen.

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