MINOCQUA - How far do the effects of a bad economy go? All the way to the classroom, says one Northwoods superintendent.
Lakeland Union High School will get 169 new students this fall.
About half of those students tested behind in math, and at least 26 are also at least one grade level behind in reading.
Superintendent Todd Kleinhans says those numbers are consistent with last year.
He doesn't point to one single reason for the low scores, but says the economy hasn't helped.
"We are seeing more and more students coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds," Kleinhans said. "One out of every two students entering Lakeland Union next year are living at or below the poverty line. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that good things don't always happen from an educational standpoint with those families and with kids who are living in poverty."
Lakeland is unique because its feeder schools are their own separate districts.
That's made it tougher to evaluate students.
But Kleinhans says the districts are doing a better job of working together.
"We recognize our shortcomings and we understand that because of the unique situation presented by five districts, that we are forced to collaborate more than ever before," he said. "So I think people can rest comfortably and sleep well at night knowing that we're making good progress."
This fall, students who are behind will double up on basic math and reading courses.
RHINELANDER - Cracked concrete, twisted rebar, and overgrown trees and bushes don't paint the most ideal picture for a park. But a Rhinelander alderman sees the perfect chance for a peaceful place to enjoy nature.
Alderman Alex Young hopes to turn an old snow dumping dock site into a "pocket park." The site sits where Norway Street runs into the Wisconsin River behind Ripco Credit Union and the DNR Service Center building.
TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk High School sporting events got an attendance boost this winter. At the same time, local charities benefited from the community's generosity.
The school's Varsity Club sponsored six nights of special events, one for each winter sport. The Varsity Club gave out T-shirts printed with team rosters. Meanwhile, fans brought donations for local charities.
"Each kid would walk in and they'd put on their T-shirt," said Varsity Club member Jackie Elliott. "When we got our student section going, they were all together, and you just had this block of white. It was awesome."
WAUSAU - A contractor fell from a ladder and died at the construction site of the new Hilton Garden Inn in Wausau last week. Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.
Marathon County Sheriff's Captain Dale Wisnewski said Shane J. Cash, 45, of Wisconsin Rapids was drilling holes in the ceiling on Thursday when he fell from his ladder and died on scene.
RHINELANDER - People lived through detours, dust, and demolition throughout most of 2016 in downtown Rhinelander. Residents won't see that kind of work in 2017, but the city is planning more closures and road work to finish up the Streetscape Project.
Crews will start with the Davenport Street Bridge shutting down for a month in starting April 17. Public Works Director Tim Kingman says some sections of concrete, sidewalk, and asphalt pavement shifted, settled and cracked over the winter.
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