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NEWS STORIES

Taxpayer Opposition to ReferendumSubmitted: 02/15/2013
Story By Lex Gray

RHINELANDER - Last week, we spent three days telling you why the Northland Pines, Three Lakes, and Rhinelander school districts are asking for more money.

The explanation is complicated, but it boils down to this: schools don't get as much aid from the state anymore, so they need to cut programs and ask for money locally.

We also told you that especially in Rhinelander, programs will be cut if the referendum fails.

But the downside if it passes? Your taxes will go up.

Today, we spoke with a taxpayer who says he supports education, but not that equation.

Michael Kuczek has paid taxes to the School District of Rhinelander since 1996.

He voted for the first referendum when he moved here, but then his property taxes rose dramatically.

"Quite frankly, I never thought I would be a person who voted against a school referendum, it almost makes me feel like a tea party crazy," he said. "I'm all for a good education but I was taxed out of one house. That's not any fun."

Kuczek thinks his property taxes will go up about $250 per year if the referendum passes.

That wouldn't make or break his budget at this point, but he says the district needs to be more responsible with their budget.

"I certainly am not looking to gut the schools. I just don't want to have to pay more taxes. I don't want the school board to spend money that they don't need to," Kuczek said. "We still want good schools, it's foolish to think we can get by with poor schools. The country lives and dies on the strength of the middle class. One of the great strengths is education. Without education, I don't think we'd have a middle class, quite frankly. It's a question of balancing the needs for education of the middle class and the ability of the middle class to pay for it."

The Rhinelander referendum election is Tuesday, February 19.

The school district posted pages of financial and referendum information on their website.

You can find the link below.

Related Weblinks:
Rhinelander Referendum Information

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Police prepare for 4th of JulySubmitted: 07/03/2015

MINOCQUA - You can find tourists all over the Northwoods already for the holiday weekend.

That means area police departments are busy making sure everyone stays safe.

The Minocqua Police Department has all of their officers working extended hours on July 4th, but the police chief says they worry more about safety than law enforcement.

"[The] 4th of July is more family-oriented," says Minocqua Chief of Police Dave Jaeger. "You have a lot of families down there with their children, so we're down there to make sure that it's a safe environment."

Places like Minocqua will be packed with people this weekend, so police just want to make sure holiday events go on safely.

"We mainly focus on, during the parade, we do the re-route, and we have officers on the parade route in case there's any type of issues or accidents that may occur, that we have to respond to," says Jaeger.

The Minocqua Police Department also works with the chamber of commerce and public works to make sure everything goes smoothly.

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RHINELANDER - A plea deal may be close for one of the suspects in an Oneida County murder.

33 year old Latoya Wolf faces a charge of being a party to a murder in Rhinelander. The murder happened in 2003.

The Tomahawk woman is the niece of Kenneth Wells, the man who was killed. Police found Wells dead in the Wisconsin River in 2003.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - A cracked lime kiln has caused a fire that damaged the Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids.

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NORTHWOODS - As people start getting ready for the 4th of July, many will camp here in the Northwoods.

The DNR expects almost 3,000 people to camp in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest this weekend.

The DNR thinks this will be their best 4th of July yet, with almost all of the campgrounds full.
People say there's nothing better than camping in the Northwoods.

"We like to come up to the Northwoods because it's beautiful and the water's crystal clear," said Prairie Farm resident Peter Fetting. "The other campers are always really friendly, and I've been coming up here for 30 years. This is my 30th year coming up here to camp."

People already got a head start heading out to beaches and on the water Friday. Campers say more people should come enjoy the woods this summer.

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NORTHWOODS - Many people travel to the Northwoods for the fourth of July. 

That means there can be a lot of extra traffic.

Wisconsin State Patrol makes sure it's ready for the holiday.

It has more people staffed on busy holiday weekends.

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MADISON - Wisconsin could force drunk drivers to pay in more money to support SafeRide Home programs in the state.

Earlier this week, we told you the state was planning to kick in less money to support county SafeRide Home programs. The program offers free taxi rides home from bars.

A proposal passed by a Capitol committee on Thursday night could help SafeRide Home.

It would add a $50 surcharge to some OWI offenses. That money would go back into SafeRide Home programs.

The proposal is part of the state budget, which has yet to become law.

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MADISON/TOMAHAWK - It may come as a surprise, but fishermen, hunters, or hikers can't legally cross most railroad tracks in Wisconsin.

That's even if the rail line splits their own property. Walking across tracks is only allowed on the thousands of crossings specifically approved by the state.

Some legislative Republicans think that doesn't make sense. They added a proposal to the state budget on Thursday to allow people to cross tracks on foot. Making a crossing would no longer be considered trespassing, and railroad companies would have no power to prevent it.

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