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NEWS STORIES

One Thumb Up, Two Thumbs Down to Northwoods School ReferendaSubmitted: 04/03/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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NORTHWOODS - Two school districts in the Northwoods may be facing tough times after failed spending referendum votes Tuesday.

But one district is feeling good about its financial prospects.

Close votes left school administrators in the three districts nervous until final results were tallied late Tuesday night.

The School District of Phillips wanted $650,000 each year for the next five years.

Voters rejected the referendum by just seven votes.

A few absentee ballots are still out in Phillips.

The tally will probably go to a recount.

"No matter what happens with a recount, if that happens, we do know that we have a split community on the issue. I think that's something we need to respect," says Phillips Superintendent Wally Leipart.

If that result stands, Phillips will need to cut an extra half-million dollars from their school budget.

Voters in the Wabeno area also refused to pay more on their property taxes.

They rejected their referendum by 34 votes.

"I was a little bit surprised. I had anticipated that it was going to be a very close vote, but I was hopeful that it would have gone in the right direction. I wasn't shocked, but I was surprised," says Wabeno Area Superintendent Dr. Kim Odekirk.

Wabeno will go to referendum again next year.

If that fails, the district will likely close.

One school district in the Northwoods got good funding news.

Voters in Elcho approved an extra $400,000 a year for four years.

"Our goal was to get the information out to the voters on what the district needs were. Ultimately, we trust in their judgement," says Bill Fisher, Elcho's Superintendent.

The money will allow Elcho to continue its academic and community programs at their current level.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Wisconsin faces $2.2 billion budget shortfall Submitted: 11/21/2014

MADISON - Governor Scott Walker's administration says Wisconsin faces a $2.2 billion budget shortfall by mid-2017, a problem that will have to be tackled by the Republican-controlled Legislature next year as Walker is building his resume for a potential presidential run.

The estimate released Thursday by the state Department of Administration is required under the law. It takes into account spending requests made by state agencies for the next two years.

The figures will be further refined by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.

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Downtown Rhinelander debuts Holiday Open House SaturdaySubmitted: 11/21/2014

RHINELANDER - The opening of the gun deer season often leaves wives and girlfriends at home on their own.

Downtown Rhinelander hopes it can attract many of those women, and maybe even some men, to get started on holiday shopping.

The first-ever Holiday Open House on Saturday will feature sales, special events, and demonstrations at several businesses.

Its timing falls perfectly with the hunting season.

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Wisconsin Chippewa band joins effort to return reservation land to tribal ownershipSubmitted: 11/21/2014

ODANAH - An American Indian band in northern Wisconsin will join an effort to get land on reservations returned to tribal ownership.

The U.S. Interior Department says the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe will join the program.

It's among 21 Indian communities in 12 states that will become part of the land buyback program by 2017.

That brings the number of locations in the program to 42.

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Update: Paper mill death caused by blunt force trauma to headSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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MOSINEE - A 55-year-old man died from blunt force to the head at a Mosinee Paper mill on Monday, according to a statement released Thursday from the Mosinee Police Department.

An autopsy shows that severe trauma to his head and chest injuries contributed to Matthew C. Ament's death.

He was installing insulation on the outside of the Expera Specialty Solutions paper mill on Monday.

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Kenosha man charged in 11-month-old daughter's killingSubmitted: 11/20/2014

KENOSHA - A 34-year-old Kenosha man is charged with killing his 11-month-old daughter.

Russell Rose Jr. was charged Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide, aggravated battery, strangulation, arson and recklessly endangering safety. He is being held on $1 million bond.

Police say Rose was arrested Tuesday. Officers found the girl when they responded to a call in which a woman was screaming that someone had killed her baby. Police say the girl was severely bruised and her face was disfigured.

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Drew's Piggly Wiggly welcoming new ownersSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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MERRILL - The Drew family will pass its Piggly Wiggly grocery store on to a new family soon.

Brothers Steve and Phil Drew own Drew's Piggly Wiggly in Merrill.

Their family has had a grocery store in Merrill since 1944.

They've owned the Piggly Wiggly for 25 years.

For the Drews, it's always been about family.

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Eagle River sees 91% milfoil reduction in chain; planners credit local commission & volunteersSubmitted: 11/20/2014

EAGLE RIVER - You can call the Eagle River Chain's invasive species project a success so far. Eurasian water milfoil has been reduced by 91.3 percent since 2007, but work isn't done.

Eddie Heath, aquatic ecologist for Onterra LLC has been working on the project. Onterra is the firm that does the planning for the Unified Lower Eagle River Chain of Lakes Commission. He say the success is above and beyond what they've seen on other lakes across the state, and it has served as a model for other systems.

"By which we learn from some mistakes, we build upon some successes, and we move forward in an adaptive management strategy," Heath said.

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