TOMAHAWK - A shrinking school district means shrinking taxes for Tomahawk. Last night the district approved a budget that will decrease the tax levy by more than seven percent.
Superintendent Dr. Roger Rindo says they've never been able to lower the levy in the five years he's been there. A combination of things contributed to this year's lower budget.
"We're a declining enrollment district, so we have fewer students which requires fewer teachers. We've been able to reduce budgets through attrition with some retirements and that's been very helpful. Otherwise all the low hanging fruit from a budget reduction standpoint is gone so we had to take a closer look at all of our programs and see what we can do to operate more efficiently with the dollars we have," says Dr. Rindo.
The nearly $1 million they've saved this year means each household in Tomahawk will save nearly $60 per $100,000 of income.
Dr. Rindo does say there are some things they'd like to spend money on in the future.
"We've been able to do what we can with technology in our classrooms. We certainly would like to accelerate that at a quicker pace, and we see budget as a significant roadblock. I don't think it's undoable by any stretch. I think we'll continue to look at that," says Dr. Rindo.
Next year the district hopes to start a new pilot program for the high school. It will include the possibility for work-based learning, job shadowing and evening classes.
HAZELHURST - Tourists make a big economic impact in the Northwood, but they don't stay forever. Monday, locals thanked them for coming to the Northwoods this summer.
People stood outside of Whitman's Bar and Grill just off of Highway 51 in Hazelhurst to wave goodbye. The bar has been doing this for 44 years.
One of the owners says this isn't just a party for the tourists, but for locals as well.
"It's also a goodbye summer party for a lot of the locals. Most of the people that come, I know," said Whitman's Bar and Grill co-owner, Mary Whitman. "They may be tourists that come up for a week or weekends, but it's a party. We give away free street corn, free sloppy joes and it's just a thank you.
RHINELANDER - More than 50,000 people in Wisconsin apply for unemployment benefits every week.
Now, the state Department of Workforce Development wants to know how it can improve the unemployment insurance system.
"Our Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council really likes to get out there and hear firsthand from those who deal with that system directly. We're looking for their suggestions and their ideas on what we might do to make the system even better," said Dave Anderson, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the state Department of Workforce Development.
RHINELANDER - It can be difficult to get around the Northwoods, especially in the snow. For people with physical disabilities, it can seem almost impossible. A new piece of technology changed Bob Simon's life. Now he's hoping to help others with physical disabilities enjoy the outdoors.
"I used to love to hunt and fish," he said.
But when Simon, who is from Rhinelander, lost his legs during a work accident in 2008, he didn't know if he'd be able to enjoy the outdoors again.
Two photographic exhibits to open next week at ArtStart
RHINELANDER - The artists paired together in ArtStart's next exhibition couldn't have much different backgrounds.
Next Friday, the Rhinelander gallery will open with two very diverse displays.
"We have two photographic exhibitions opening. One is a solo artist, so the whole gallery will be their work, and the other is an artist who worked with teens as a kind of therapy program, photography and art as therapy," said ArtStart Development Director Melinda Childs.
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