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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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 IN OTHER NEWS

GREEN BAY - Lambeau field should be safe from being renamed to make money.

The president of the Green Bay Packers doesn't want to sell the naming rights to Lambeau Field.

Mark Murphy says it doesn't make sense to put a corporate tag on the name of the historic stadium.

Murphy talked to shareholders at the franchise's annual meeting on Tuesday at Lambeau.

Stadium naming rights have become a way for professional sports teams to make a lot of money.

The Packers are not hurting for cash.

They made $375-million in revenue in 2015.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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SUPERIOR - Investigators think they know why two skydiving planes crashed mid-air near Superior two years ago.

They blame a lack of guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration and improper training.

The crash happened in November 2013.

All nine skydivers on the two planes and one pilot jumped to safety.

The other pilot landed the damaged plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the FAA doesn't have many rules on how pilots should fly formation flights with skydivers.

Because of that, the owner of the skydiving company did not give its pilots training.

Footage from helmet cameras shows one plane coming down on the back of another, damaging the lead plane's right wing.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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OCONTO - A tree from northeast Wisconsin will take center stage at the White House for the 2016 holiday season.

Whispering Pines Tree Farm in Oconto says it has won the National Christmas Tree Association's competition.

That means a tree from Whispering Pines will be on display in the Blue Room of the White House next year.

White House staff members get final say on which tree is selected.

The National Christmas Tree Association has presented the official White House Christmas tree since 1966.


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RC group to keep track openSubmitted: 07/29/2015

CRANDON -

Team No Limit Racing will run a new track behind the former RC Havok building in Crandon. RC Havok was an RC car rental store and track that provided kids and families affordable racing. No Limit Racing wants to make sure kids can continue to race without breaking the bank.

"The biggest goal of this track is to give kids that don't have anything something to do," explained Track Manager Steve Sadnick, Jr. "Something they can play on, and something to keep them out of trouble. "I wish I had something like this when I was a kid."


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MERRILL - Many children don't interact with police officers, but officers want children to have a positive experience around law enforcement.

That's why the Merrill Police Department do activities like archery with local kids.

Merrill Police officers taught children how to shoot a bow and arrow at Badges and Bulls Eyes on Tuesday.

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WABENO - Wabeno wants to draw more and more people to its small community by making improvements such as building new trails and hosting new cultural events.

This weekend, the town will host the first ever Wabeno Art and Music Fest. People in Wabeno say they have a unique passion for the arts.

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man could face a criminal charge after he smashed into a parked car this morning.

The 22-year-old was driving down Evergreen Court in Rhinelander around 9 a.m.


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