District Officials React to Passed School Referendum
Story By Ryan Abney
NORTHWOODS - Yesterday, the Northwoods said "yes" to three school referendums. We talked to district leaders to see how they'll use the money going forward.
Referenda for Rhinelander, Three Lakes and Northland Pines passed last night. The vote secures millions of dollars for the districts.The Northland Pines School District asked for $2.7 million per year through 2016.
District Administrator Mike Richie is glad to see ballot numbers so one-sided.
"All nine townships in the city of Eagle River--they all voted in support of both questions. That's the first time in our school history where we had support from our entire district."
Rhinelander Superintendent Roger Erdahl has seen the district struggle financially for the past decade. He's thankful for his supporters--but knows even people who disagree will make the district better.
"Our critics are an important voice. We want them to be a part of our conversation, to be at the table as we design a school district that everyone can support."
Three Lakes also passed their school referendum. They will receive $2.34 million per year through 2018.
RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Musical Festival kicks off on Thursday.
But there are already plenty of people camping out for the big event in the Northwoods.
Those campers benefit businesses in the Northwoods both new and old.
Johnny Nickolaou, who opened his liquor store in Sugar Camp around Thanksgiving, understands the importance of tourism.
"Huge, you know you depend on locals year round and they are great, but if it weren't for them I could never afford to be open," said Nickalaou. "But it's really nice getting this push to hopefully get us through the winter months."
Nickolaou set up a deal in preparation of Hodag Country Festival. He discounted around 10 large orders.
"15 case orders, most of them which is quite a bit I thought," said Nickalaou.
EAGLE RIVER - If you want a new summer activity, look no further than Eagle River. A new art studio offers many different classes to kids and adults.
"We've been here for a month, but the organization has been together for about three years," said Summer Program Director Erica Bush. "We're very excited to be in our own building finally."
Classes can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. People can sign up for classes ahead of time or just walk into the center. Program directors think it's important for kids to get involved in art early on.
"It's the creativity that the kids learn about," said Bush. "Creativity can go into all different aspects—math, science—it's everywhere. So enforcing art when they're really young will really lead to a more intelligent future for these kids."
The center offers anything from painting to pottery to cooking. Kids shared why they love to take art classes. "You could just grab a piece of paper or something and then you can just doodle on it," said 4th grader Nicholas Fluegel.
"It's really calming, and there's no bad way to do art," said 6th grader Grace Florence.
LINCOLN COUNTY - A Tomahawk homeowner was able to scare off burglars back in March, even after being hit in the face with the hatchet. Now, a Merrill man will need to find 25 dollars in cash to get out of jail.
28-year-old Chad Staehle was charged with four felonies for breaking into a home in Tomahawk. Police believe he and three other men broke into the home with a hatchet and crowbar.
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