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Northwoods districts seek referendum approval as statewide 'yes' votes continue to climbSubmitted: 03/22/2017

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WABENO - In school classrooms in Wabeno and in the community, the upcoming April 4 referendum is on the mind.

"There is an energy. There is an excitement," said Caroline Lampereur of the Wabeno Home and School Association, which supports the referendum.

Wabeno will ask taxpayers for $1.6 million for each of the next five years to keep its school operating as is.

"We want to maintain all of our operational programs and opportunities that we have for our students, as well as our extracurricular activities," said Wabeno Superintendent Jennifer Vogler.


Wabeno says it can only do that through extra money generated by referendum, due to the falling aid it gets from the state.

"We're not able to get the same amount of funding from the state because of our high property values," Vogler said.

Schools across the Northwoods have been asking their communities for extra money to do the same thing. They're not looking to add or cut programs, to just stay above water.

"The focus is to maintain what we have, and not cut any programming that we currently have," said Tomahawk Superintendent Terry Reynolds

Tomahawk schools will also go to a referendum in April, asking for $3 million in each of the next four years.

Supporters of those referendums have reason to be confident. In the last few decades, school referendums in Wisconsin have passed at a higher and higher rate. Since 2012, local voters have said yes to 70 percent of referendum questions. For comparison, in the decade between 1996 and 2006, only 48 percent of referendums were approved.

"I think that is telling us that the state of Wisconsin is very proud of their proud history of excellence, that we provide for the education of our students," Vogler said of the reason for statewide support.

Many in Wabeno hope its referendum finds success. If it does, the school will continue to provide the same level of service for its students and community.

"I believe in our students. I believe in our faculty. I believe in our leadership," Lampereur said.

If the referendum fails, things may change drastically for Wabeno. It's possible Wabeno would have to dissolve as a district.

"The worst possible thing that could happen is our great community and our school district will lose their individual identity," Vogler said.

Wabeno is also asking voters for money to build a Fab Lab in a separate referendum question. That one-time cost would be $300,000.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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 LOCAL NEWS

SCHOFIELD - Shootings Wednesday afternoon at sites in Schofield, Rothschild, and Weston left people in the area stunned.  The news later Wednesday night deepened that feeling.  Four people are dead, including one police officer.

The series of shootings led from a bank, to a law firm, to a standoff at an apartment complex.

"Please keep them in your prayers and be with our officers," Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks said during a Wednesday night press conference.

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LAND O' LAKES - Picasso, Van Gough, and even Andy Warhol all had to start somewhere.

This month Land O' Lakes Arts displays local students' artwork in a gallery in honor of Youth Art Month. The gallery holds 112 different art pieces from students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade.

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods students competed in a financial version of March Madness.

Three high schools came together to compete In the Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl today at Nicolet College.

This was the fifth annual Rhinelander Northwoods Regional Tournament.

The goal of the competition was to increase financial literacy around the state.

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ROTHSCHILD -
UPDATE: Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks confirmed one of his officers died and three other people were killed after a shooting with a suspect near Wausau on Wednesday.

Police wouldn't share any of the victims' names or ages, but said the suspect is in custody and no one else is in danger.

The state Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation has been called in to assist local police.  Officers did not take any questions at a brief news conference Wednesday night.  A DCI spokesman said there would be another media briefing either Thursday morning or afternoon.





At least two people were hurt in what police think was a domestic situation in the Wausau area Wednesday afternoon.  That includes a police officer, but Wausau police haven't said yet which department that officer is from or who they are.

The Rothschild Police Department said in a press release that officers were called to the Marathon Savings Bank on E. Grand Avenue around 12:30 p.m.

Officers responding to the scene found two people who had apparently been shot.  The suspect left the scene before police got there.  That led to three total scenes, including a response to what appeared to be a standoff at an apartment complex on Aspen Street and Ross Avenue in Weston.

"This is a complex, ongoing investigation involving three crime scenes and multiple victims of shootings at those locations," Wausau Police Captain Todd Baeten said during an afternoon press conference.

Several police departments from Marathon County responded to the scene.  The Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation has been called in for assistance.

This story will be updated.



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 REGIONAL NEWS

LONDON - The White House says President Donald Trump has been briefed on a gun-and-knife incident at Britain's Parliament in London.

Trump himself said during a brief appearance Wednesday before reporters at the White House that he was just getting the news. He called it "big news."

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MADISON - If you ever wondered if a gallon of gas really is a full gallon of gas, the state of Wisconsin has a handful of job openings that might interest you.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's Weights and Measures division hopes to hire three petroleum systems specialists to fill current vacancies.

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MADISON - Former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold launched a new nonprofit political advocacy group Wednesday focused on voters' rights, campaign finance reform, protecting the independence of the U.S. Supreme Court and abolishing the Electoral College.

Feingold told The Associated Press that the goal of his group, called LegitAction, is to connect local activists with the larger movement and not be distracted by more trivial, daily controversies surrounding President Donald Trump.

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DETROIT - A woman has been convicted of kidnapping a Detroit-area college student in 2000 after years of living under a different name in Wisconsin.

Kim Johns was found guilty Wednesday of kidnapping and other crimes in Detroit federal court. She was captured a year ago living under an alias in Marathon County, Wisconsin

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