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Will It Pass? Rhinelander Referendum DecisionSubmitted: 02/06/2013
Story By Lex Gray & Kira Lynne


RHINELANDER - No one wants to pay higher taxes.

But Rhinelander, Northland Pines, and Three Lakes school districts are asking you for more money.

So we asked them what's at stake.

Tonight, Newswatch 12's Lex Gray and Kira Lynne take a look at the School District of Rhinelander.

"When I look back to moving to this area, one of the reasons was [my husband] was very confident in the school system," says Lori Haug.

Lori and her husband Tony Haug moved to Rhinelander from Eau Claire 14 years ago.

"At the time when we moved here, I felt it was a very good school district, a good place to raise kids," Tony says.

That's proven to be true for their three children.

"I think our decision to move here was a great one," Lori says. "The depth of the curriculum is something that my girls are really enjoying. We have both of them in Advanced Placement classes. They'll be more than prepared to go to university if they choose."

But the Haugs also have a son in seventh grade.

By the time he gets to high school, AP courses, foreign languages, and other electives could be gone.

"The thought of losing that is scary to us," Lori says.

Scary, but a definite possibility.

The School District of Rhinelander is asking taxpayers for another $4 million per year through 2016.

That means each year, you'd pay $105 more than you do now per $100,000 in property value.

The odds are stacked against the district.

It's gone to referendum 24 times since 1996. Fifteen of the 24 have failed.

Lori hopes this time is different.

"It's time to bury all the distrust before and move forward for the sake of the community."

The effects of a failed referendum go beyond classroom doors.

"The students lose, future students lose, the town loses," Tony says. "When your school system is going negative, people will relocate, businesses will not come here, current businesses will question being here, and growth will go slow."

Growth is important to Tony. He's the president of ABX, a Rhinelander manufacturing company.

"Having a strong school system is important for all businesses that are currently here and all future businesses," he said.

But if this referendum fails, Rhinelander won't have a strong school system.

The board started cutting back in 2002. They've laid off teachers, trimmed down activities and sports, closed a building, and cut back on busing.

This time, the district cuts would go even deeper.

Charter schools and some sports and activities would go.

But most disturbing for the Haugs - elective classes would also go.

"My oldest daughter now is looking into colleges" Tony says. "So when you talk about the electives and courses being cut that would prevent her from getting into one of the universities of Wisconsin, that's a huge concern."

It's a concern big enough to talk about moving.

"If our kids don't have the ability to get into universities, going to Rhinelander High School, I think you have to reevaluate where you're living," Tony says.

"I think we would have to consider it," Lori says. "Would we want to? Absolutely not."

But the Haugs hope it won't come to that.

"I believe most people understand that we have to maintain the school districts and the levels," Tony says. "I believe that it will be passed and it needs to be passed and it's the right thing to do. We want to fight for our town and the school district."

"We're at the cusp of something very important here," Lori says. "I think for the sake of our community and our future, it's very important to support it and move forward in a really positive matter."

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 02/20/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to Park Falls where a Catholic School will close in spite of efforts by the parish to raise money to keep it open.

In spite of the warmer weather, there are still many people and shacks out on the ice. But how safe is it on the ice right now? We talk to a DNR warden to find out.

And we'll tell you about a new app from a Minocqua grocery store that allows you to choose your items and have them delivered to your home.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MINOCQUA - You can keep your pajamas on and stay barefoot to shop at one grocery store in the Northwoods.

The "Rosie" app on smartphones and online is changing how you shop.

You can order any food item at Save More Marketplace in Minocqua with a couple taps on your screen.

"I print the list you guys have chosen for the items you want," said in-store shopping expert Steph Coy.

She will load up the cart, checkout, then bag your items for delivery to your house or pick-up in store.

Save More Marketplace started using the shopping option in October.

"It's a convenience for customers who don't have the time. It is a convenience for customers who can't leave their home," said Save More Marketplace president Jim Gauden.

It costs a little extra; up to $5 if food is delivered to you.

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Fire engulfs Eagle River homeSubmitted: 02/20/2017

EAGLE RIVER - Firefighters arrived to a home filled with flames earlier on Monday in Eagle River. It took three different fire departments to put out the fire.

It happened at a house on Highway 17 north of the Highway 45 junction. The emergency call came in just before 11 Monday morning. The Eagle River Fire Department was first on the scene.

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NORTHWOODS - Many people used the warm weekend weather to enjoy some outdoor activities. The loggers from Enterprise Forest Products spent all weekend outside as well. But they were working to bring wood out of the forest before the ground thaws. 

The soft ground is not good for loggers. Once the ground thaws, trucks and machinery will no longer be supported. They have to go out before the ground thaws to avoid damaging the land.

"We don't want to make a mess, we don't want to harm the land and so when that ground is soft, our machines rut the land. We can't do that," said owner of Enterprise Forest Products Dennis Schoeneck. 

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ONEIDA COUNTY - This weekend many of us may have seen images of a pickup truck falling through the ice on Lake Michigan. Some trucks even fell through the ice in Wausau.

So, how safe is the ice in the Northwoods?

DNR Conservation Warden Supervisor Dave Walz says this time of year the ice can melt fast, so anglers should be aware of it. He says it also depends on the lake.

"We've seen anywhere some still on the Rainbow Flowage 24 inches of ice out there this last weekend," Walz says. "A few other lakes we've seen it as thin as six inches of ice."

Walz said no one fell through the ice this weekend in the Northwoods.

No matter the temperature, even if it's below zero, it's never a guarantee that ice is safe.

"Just remember, it's never 100 percent safe out there," Walz said. "It's always at your own risk."
Walz said you should always fish with a partner for safety.

The last day ice shanties can be on lakes is March 19.

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CRANDON - Pet lovers may be pampering their pets a little extra Monday in honor of National Love Your Pet Day. Squeaky toys, dog treats, cat nip, and even doggie desserts are just a few ways people give their pets a little extra love on Love Your Pet Day.
But there are plenty of shelter dogs that could use a little extra care all the time. If you can't adopt Forest county humane Society president Jay Schaefer wants you to come play with the dogs and cats at the shelter. "It's a way for people to get over their pet fix, or if their renting an apartment, or their in a point in their life where they can't have pets right now," said Jay.
Jay invites anyone with a passion for animals to come out to walk, cuddle, feed and play with the dogs or cats in the shelter. "If they can't go out for a walk…they just want somebody to spend five minutes with them….and then you're like the Fairy godmother in a Disney movie," said Jay.Pet lovers may be pampering their pets a little extra Monday in honor of National Love Your Pet Day. Squeaky toys, dog treats, cat nip, and even doggie desserts are just a few ways people give their pets a little extra love on Love Your Pet Day.

But there are plenty of shelter dogs that could use a little extra care all the time. If you can't adopt Forest county humane Society president Jay Schaefer wants you to come play with the dogs and cats at the shelter. "It's a way for people to get over their pet fix, or if their renting an apartment, or their in a point in their life where they can't have pets right now," said Jay.

Jay invites anyone with a passion for animals to come out to walk, cuddle, feed and play with the dogs or cats in the shelter. "If they can't go out for a walk…they just want somebody to spend five minutes with them….and then you're like the Fairy godmother in a Disney movie," said Jay.

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HAYWARD - Warm weather is forcing organizers to change the route of Saturday's American Birkebeiner ski race in northwestern Wisconsin.

As a result, the race will not finish in downtown Hayward this year.

The Birkie race course normally crosses Lake Hayward to get to downtown Hayward. But the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation said Monday the lake is no longer an option.

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