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Northwoods school district hopes new law will help fill substitute teacher shortageSubmitted: 10/20/2017
RHINELANDER - Just a year ago, days looked a lot different for Rhinelander's Jane Dunbar. For 27 years up to her 2016 retirement, she built a career.

"I worked for the state health department," she said. "I worked in public health for communicable disease and immunization."

Now, Dunbar picks days she'd like to work as a substitute teacher at Pelican Elementary School.

"I've been doing kindergarten today, and I really like the kindergarten," she said on Wednesday. "They're really active."


The School District of Rhinelander wants more people like Dunbar. Dunbar has no degree in education or history working in schools. But she has an interest in giving back to kids.

"We've had some fabulous substitute teachers," said district Director of Instruction Teri Maney. "We call them guest teachers in Rhinelander."

But Maney wishes she and her principals didn't have to spend so much time figuring out how to cover classes with subs in short supply.

"Everybody steps up and helps out. The principal helps out. There's no one who doesn't step forward," she said. "We've had more of a need for longer-term subs. When we have a longer-term placement, that pulls out of our regular sub pool."

Maney says a statewide sub shortage has been years in the making. But it's a new state law which could help to relieve the problem.

"We see it as great news," Maney said of the law.

Substitute teachers used to need a bachelor's degree to be eligible. The degree could be in any field, not limited to only education.

Now, with a provision passed in the state budget, people with associate's degrees can teach after some district training.

"The degree is not really going to be the first and foremost thing that we're looking at walking into the classroom," Maney said. "It's, how do you interact with kids? How do kids interact with you? What can we do to support those relationships?"

Dunbar has a four-year degree, so she's already covered. But she may soon be joined by others like her with even more diverse levels of education.

"I wanted to do something meaningful for the community," Dunbar said. "Just give it a try."

If you're interested in becoming a substitute teacher, call Gen Luebke at the School District of Rhinelander. The phone number is 715-365-9700, extension 5734.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 LOCAL NEWS
What We're Working onSubmitted: 10/20/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll tell you how a new state law may help bring in more substitute teacher to the local schools to help out with the shortage.

We'll show you how the Antigo Police Department is rewarding kids who do good deeds.

And tonight on Friday Night Blitz the high school football playoffs begin today. We'll bring you scores from games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following games:


Medford vs. Antigo

Crivitz vs. Laona/Wabeno

Auburndale vs. Crandon


That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll bring you all this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - A man died after his ATV hit a bear in northwest of Tomahawk.

Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputies tell us it happened just after 7:30 p.m. Thursday night in the Town of Wilson.

A 51 year old man had been headed west on County Road CC, east of Poplar Drive.

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MADISON - The Natural Resources Board will consider creating dozens of miles of motor sport trails in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.

The board is scheduled to vote on an amendment to the forest's master plan on Wednesday.

The amendment calls for developing up to 36 miles of off-road motorcycle trails in the forest.

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MADISON - Workers at troubled youth prisons in northern Wisconsin tell a state senator that conditions are chaotic and they are "scared to death."

State Sen. Tom Tiffany released records Friday including emails and descriptions of telephone calls his office received from employees at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake juvenile prisons. They share a campus north of Wausau.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

MADISON - Several proposals targeting Alzheimer's Disease and dementia are being circulated in the Wisconsin Legislature, the latest attempt to improve care both for patients and family members.

The bills are the outgrowth of a task force created in 2015 to address Alzheimer's, which is the sixth leading cause of death in Wisconsin.

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MADISON - The Senate judiciary committee is set to vote on four bills that would impose tougher drunken driving penalties.

The Republican proposals would create a five-year minimum prison sentence for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and raise the minimum incarceration period for fifth and sixth offenses from six months to 18 months.

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MADISON - It would be a felony to have sex with an animal in Wisconsin under a bill circulating in the Legislature.

Under current law, having sex with an animal is a misdemeanor.

Republican state Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere, circulated a bill Thursday to increase the penalty. He referenced a case from the Town of Eaton involving a man who faces misdemeanor charges of animal abuse after an incident in February involving a horse.

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COLEMAN - Authorities have arrested a suspect in a threat that shut down a school in Coleman.

The 24-year-old Coleman man is accused of making a threat that prompted the evacuation of the school and the cancellation of classes Monday. The Marinette County Sheriff's Office didn't say what the threat was.

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