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NEWS STORIES

Merrill Charter Serves Students StatewideSubmitted: 04/03/2013
Story By Lex Gray

MERRILL - As odd as it may sound, hundreds of kids are enrolled in the Merill School District without actually living anywhere near Merrill.

That's the new reality of virtual school.

Bridges Virtual Academy opened this year.

Administrator John Hagemeister expected about 100 kids to enroll. Instead, he got 500 from all over the state.

That's because Hagemeister's idea is unique. Before Bridges, he homeschooled his own kids.

He wanted to combine the freedom of homeschooling with the resources of public school.

The Reimer family of Arbor Vitae made the switch to Bridges this year.

"We do our schooling at home, but we're not technically homeschooling anymore," says Kathy Reimer.

As a homeschooler, Reimer wasn't allowed to take part in public school classes.

But Bridges Virtual Academy gives her more options.

"We did art lessons at the Campanile Center, piano lessons, and dance lessons for the girls," she said. "We probably could've provided one lesson for them, but this allows us to give them opportunities to do things we wouldn't normally be able to do."


John Hagemeister started the academy with more opportunities in mind.

"These are taxpayers and if you homeschool, they don't get anything in return. Some people like it that way, because there's no entanglement, there's no extras," he said. "But if there's a way we can partner, why shouldn't we try? They're taxpayers, they're community members, they're looking for some kind of educational service through us, so let's try and do it."

Taxpayers - including the Reimers - bought a computer for each of her kids. They also share an iPad and have access to teachers.

There is a trade-off for that support. As a homeschooler, Reimer didn't have to evaluate her kids at all. Now, she has to administer school and state tests.

But that doesn't bother her.

"The testing only confirms what I already know," she said. "Because you're homeschooling, you know your kids' strengths and you know your kids' weaknesses."

But beyond the testing, Reimer still gets to do things her way. That's different from most virtual schools.

"A typical virtual school is like taking this and putting it online, the brick and mortar and putting it online, and that's not what they're looking for," Hagemeister said. "They're looking for something that's flexible, time wise, curriculum wise."

"That opens up our ability to do things for our kids, and give them opportunities that we couldn't give them," Reimer said. "So that is a really great thing."

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Area 4th of July Events Submitted: 07/01/2015

- 4th of July Celebrations (Listing alphabetically)

Antigo
-Parade on 10th Ave. at 7 p.m.
-Fireworks at Antigo High School at 9:20 p.m.

Boulder Junction
-Parade on Main Street at 12 p.m.
-Following parade Chicken BBQ, sponsored by the Boulder Junction Fire Department, until 6 p.m.
-Fireworks at Airport Landing Field at dusk

Crandon
-Parade through downtown Crandon at 12 p.m.
-Fireworks in downtown area at dusk

Eagle River
-Parade through downtown on Wall St. at 11 a.m.
-Fireworks near intersection of Hwy 45 and County G at dusk
-High Pines Campground open to public for viewing of fireworks

Manitowish Waters
-Festivities at Community Center on Hwy 51 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
-Parade through downtown area on Hwy W at 1 p.m.
-Fireworks over Rest Lake at dusk

Merrill
-Fireworks at the Marc at dusk

Minocqua
-Kiddie parade at 3:45 p.m. and main parade at 4 p.m. on Hwy 51 south through downtown
-Water ski show at 7 p.m. at the Aqua Bowl
-Fireworks from behind the blue water tower at dark

Phelps
-Parade through downtown at 3 p.m.
-Live music, games, activities, raffles and more in downtown area following parade
-Fireworks over North Twin Lake at dusk

Phillips
-Arts and crafts, food, music and more at Elk Lake from 9 a.m. 4 p.m.
-Parade on Lake Ave. at 2 p.m.
-Fireworks over Lake Duroy at dusk

Rhinelander
-Kiddie parade at 10 a.m. on Brown St. followed by main parade at 11 a.m. on Brown St.
-Hodag water ski show at Hodag Park at 7:30 p.m.
-Fireworks at Hodag Park at dusk

Three Lakes
-Parade on Superior St. through downtown at 9 a.m.
-Crafts, flea market, food, activities and more at Don Burnside Park after parade until 3 p.m.
-Fireworks at Don Burnside park at dusk

Tomahawk
-Lions Club chicken BBQ in downtown area beginning at 10:30 a.m.
-Parade on Wisconsin Ave through downtown area at 1 p.m.
-Fireworks at SARA Park at dusk

Wausau
-Activities and events at Marathon Park on July 1st July 5th
-Fireworks at Grandstand area, Marathon Park, at dusk on July 3rd and 4th

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