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.
STOUGHTON - Police in Stoughton are investigating a threatening letter that was sent to a black teenager, with a photo that depicted him as the victim of a lynching.
The letter had a Madison postmark but no return address. The family told the newspaper it contained a photo showing two men hanging from a tree, with a mob watching. A picture of the 18-year-old was superimposed onto one of the men.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
MADISON - A federal appeals court has upheld Republican Gov. Scott Walker's public union restrictions.
The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and equal protection.
U.S. District Judge William Conley found the restrictions constitutional in September. A three-judge appeals panel affirmed Conley's ruling Friday, saying the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the state to maintain policies that allow certain associations to thrive.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen calls the ruling ``a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.''
An attorney for the unions tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needs to talk to his clients before deciding whether to appeal.
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