WABENO - In February, taxpayers voted to give three local school districts enough money to keep their programs going.
Next week, for the first time ever, Wabeno will ask their taxpayers to do the same.
The district has asked for more money for building referendums.
But up until this point, they've been able to maintain their programs by making $1 million dollars in cuts over the past 10 years.
Now, superindent Kim Odekirk says any further cuts will jeopardize the quality of education Wabeno can offer.
Mary Propson teaches her first grade class wearing a microphone. That's because she has seven special education students in her class of 17. One is hearing impaired.
Wabeno is asking taxpayers for $3.85 million dollars over the next three years. If the district doesn't get it, chances are even more students will be packed into Propson's class.
"I would lose personal contact with every student. Even 17 is a large amount of students to work with every student sufficiently," Propson said. " If it goes up more, students that are quiet and not as demanding are going to get less of my attention, and they deserve my attention like all of the other students."
You probably remember class sizes much larger than 17 kids. But Odekirk says education has changed.
"The amount of mandates and the kinds of things that we need to accomplish with kids in the classroom now are very different from what they were 25 or even 30 years ago," she said. "In order to meet the needs of all our learners, we cannot have those large class sizes."
"Education is getting harder and harder, there are more demands to meet," Propson said. "If you look back as an older adult, you'd say "I can't believe they're learning that in first grade now." We are learning a lot of things as the students grow at younger ages, and the demands of the world are greater."
Without that $3.85 million, the district faces more than just bigger class sizes. The board would look at cutting electives like music, art, and tech ed. But why should taxpayers have to pay for those extras?
"The extras are their basic education. Life isn't just reading a book," Propson said. "Sports are important, students learn life skills in sports, how to get along, how to work as a team, what to do if you lose. Because those are all learning experiences."
Odekirk says if this referendum fails, the district will hold an election again next year. If it fails again, the district would likely be shut down by the state within a year, and students would go to surrounding districts.
RHINELANDER - Do you find yourself looking for new places to eat out? Well, Tula's Cafe recently added a brand new location in the Northwoods. We found out what makes them unique, in our latest helping of 'Morning Meals with Marisa.'
Tula's recently reopened in Rhinelander. This is their second location and the manager told us so far, so good.
Tula's manager Lana Knack explains, "They said it's great to have a new restaurant choice to go to up in the Northwoods. Tula's is very successful in Minocqua, so we model everything that they do and it's worked very well."
They have an extensive menu with items like pigs in a blanket, cinnamon rolls and much more.
"We've got a lot of really unique breakfast items. Especially featuring the Trigs Smokehouse. Our kielbasa omelettes have gone very well. We also have a wonderful eggs benedict," adds Knack.
And of course you're going to need something to wash it all down.
Knack says, "We have liquor service to enjoy a cocktail with any of your meals starting as early as 6 a.m. for those people that are shift workers."
The decor fits right in to the Northwoods and makes for a cozy dining experience.
"It's so unique with so many booths that people come in and sit for quite a while. So it's very comfortable for them," explains Knack.
Tula's grand opening runs through Labor Day and they'll have five dollar deals all throughout. If you want to check out Tula's, they open at 6 a.m., seven days a week.
Wisconsin water supplies deal with two contaminants during 2013
WISCONSIN - Wisconsin keeps high standards for clean drinking water. On a yearly basis, they do a good job at meeting that standard, but during 2013, more water supplies were found with one of two contaminants.
One contaminant, nitrate was found in more than double the amount of water supplies during the year compared to 2012. The 56 public water supplies found with high nitrate levels is a small number out of the thousands of water supplies in the state, but it can still be a big problem.
RHINELANDER - The highway department may need to relocate.
Kwik Trip has made a formal offer to purchase the current highway department for a new highway Kwik Trip location.
If the purchase is approved, the highway department will move facilities. The details of the proposal have yet to be released. But, the county board has discussed the proposal in numerous closed sessions.
TOMAHAWK - Treehaven in Tomahawk kicked off its first ever School Garden Symposium Tuesday.
Educators from schools all around the state were invited to attend. It's an opportunity for them to come and learn how to incorporate healthier habits into their schools.
"Some of them are new to gardening completely," said Jasmyn Schmidt, a presenter at the symposium. "So they're learning how to start a garden, what you have to do for a garden, and what supplies are needed to start a garden. Some of them are a year or two into their gardens and are looking to learn maintenance or funding strategies to keep those gardens going."
FOREST COUNTY - Forest and timber leaders in Northern Wisconsin hosted Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) in Forest County Tuesday. The group of timber experts was touring areas of the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest (CNNF).
Both of Wisconsin's senators toured forests and forest industries in the north over the last two days.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) toured wood products businesses in Laona on Monday.
Foresters and timber experts were urging, to both senators, for more harvesting in the more than one million acres of national forest that covers Northern Wisconsin. The harvest this decade has been far below what it was in the 90s.
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