School District of Rhinelander looks for more substitutes after December pertussis outbreakSubmitted: 01/20/2017

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RHINELANDER - Dozens of Rhinelander students called in sick, forcing the district to shut down early last month. But
teachers weren't immune either. It got so bad that there weren't enough substitute teachers on hand to
fill in for the sick staff. The district is now recruiting more subs to be better prepared for another

Rhinelander schools went into the year with what they thought was a solid plan. But director
of instructions Terri Maney says nature had other plans. 

"The pertussis did not only affect students, it affected staff," says Maney. 

Students and teachers started getting sick in mid-December. Maney says they went into this school year with more substitute teachers than ever before. But they never planned for a pertussis outbreak. At one point, one in five students contracted the disease along with teachers calling in too. 

"We had pretty much depleted our sub pool," said Maney.

Rhinelander canceled three extra days of class before winter break. Since the outbreak, the district began recruiting more substitutes to avoid having to cancel school again. 

"When you have such a high need, they get used up pretty quickly," said Maney.

The district is now paying closer attention to students with symptoms of pertussis. There have been just
two confirmed cases since January 9.

"But because it is so easily communal we wanted to make sure we are protecting the students, staff, and community from further spreading the disease," explained Maney.

High school nurse Kerri Schmidt told us that it takes up to two weeks to fully confirm if a person with the

"Pertussis is a disease that begins with cold-like symptoms. So it can be very difficult to identify initially," Schmidt said. "Many people don't even realize they have pertussis."

The district now has 128 subs available, all of whom are shared with other districts. Maney says any bachelor's degree is required to substitute teach.

Story By: Erin Beu

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PARK FALLS - The Price County Sheriff's Office identified the victim of a one-car crash that happened Thursday morning.

Lee Harmon, 32, died after crashing along Highway D in Worcester around 9:30 a.m.

Harmon's car went off the road, rolled, and crashed into a tree. He died at the scene. The Sheriff's Office says Harmon was wearing a seat belt.

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MERRILL - President Donald Trump took the oath of office in Washington D.C. But a café in Merrill wanted to bring some of that memorable day here to the Northwoods.

The Checkered Churn is known for its creative sandwiches and menu items.The "Eat Brave" menu featured a few inauguration-inspired foods on Friday.

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On National Popcorn Day, Lambeau Field tweeted out that it made more than 16,000 pounds. of popcorn this season. 

But how does that compare to what a movie a theater makes in a year?

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RHINELANDER - Many students spend years after graduation paying off loan debt. It doesn't help that many students borrow more than they need to. 

The U.S. Department of Education tapped Rhinelander's own Nicolet College to participate in a nationwide experiment aimed at lowering student loan debt. 

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WAUSAU - The Wausau Police Department welcomed three new officers to the force Friday. 

City Hall was full of city workers, police officers, firefighters, friends and family for the swearing-in ceremony. The officers are all excited to start serving the community and, in some cases, fulfill a lifelong dream.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 01/20/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Mild temperatures are expected for this weekend's World Championships Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River. Tonight we talk to the derby president to see how the warmer weather effects the event.

We'll show you how the Tomahawk Public Works Department determines when it would be required for residents to keep their water running in cold weather.

And tonight on Friday Night Blitz we'll bring you scores from high school games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following games:

College Hockey:

UW-Eau Claire vs. UW-Stevens Point

Boys Basketball:

Lakeland vs. Rhinelander

Florence vs. Crandon

Mosinee vs. Tomahawk

Girls Basketball:

Lakeland vs. Rhinelander

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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