ARBOR VITAE - Tomorrow the North Central Chapter of the American Red Cross honors local heroes. Today we're spotlighting two Northwoods stand-outs making a difference through the Lakeland Pantry.
"We have anywhere from 5,000 to 65-hundred men, women and children that come in monthly," said Pam Winkelman, director of the Lakeland Pantry.
That's a lot more than when the pantry opened more than 30 years ago. Today, directors Pam and John coordinate nearly 300 volunteers to stock shelves and offer the community even more than a bag of food.
"They [the kids] actually look forward to coming here because they have stuffed animals and they have other things they can do,” said John Winkelman, “They have toys they have books for them and we have former grade school teachers and librarians that run or book area, we have some great clothing areas for all ages."
For the past 7 and half years the Winkelmans have run this pantry. In that time they've started 3 major fundraisers, and hosted health and eye care checks. It's not how they expected to spent their retirement, but they're glad to do it.
"I know personally it would mean a lot to John and I if we needed help that somebody would give their hand to us, and that's how we have felt from the very beginning," said Pam.
The Red Cross is honoring this pair for their hard work, but they give the credit to the volunteers and generosity of the community that help keep their doors open. Such a powerful thing can be accomplished with simple actions they say.
"It's difficult to help people that are maybe across the world, but you can certainly help somebody that's right down the road," says John.
Thursday evening the Red Cross will honor the Winkelmans and two other nominees for the 2013 Real Heroes Banquet.
Snow on an overhang causes damage to downtown building
RHINELANDER - Warm temperatures and lingering snow on roofs doesn't make for a good combination.
Around 3 p.m. Monday, the weight of the snow on the roof of the building next to the Elbo Room in Rhinelander caused major damage to the building.
The awning to the building fell down onto the Brown Street sidewalk.
Fire leaders say it's important to remember to how dangerous heavy snowfall left on roofs can be this time of year.
“Well with this heavy snowfall this winter there's a lot of snow load with warm weather today the snow melting it created a lot of weight and it can damage structures with all the weight from the snow,” says Josh Schmitz, Rhinelander Fire Deptartment Deputy Chief.
No one was injured in the collapse. The fire department is not sure when cleanup will begin.
------------------------ An earlier version of this story indicated that the facade of the Elbo Room awning had fallen. That was incorrect. It was the building next to the Elbo Room. That has been corrected in the story above.
TOMAHAWK - The Tomahawk School District will need to make big budget cuts in the next year. The district will need to cut more than $500,000. Rising transportation costs along with declining enrollments challenge many Northwoods School Districts.
“We have a lot of issues in Northern Wisconsin that many districts in the state of Wisconsin don't have,” says Cheryl Baker, Tomahawk School District Superintendent. “For instance in the Tomahawk School District there's about 425 and I'm rounding that off, square miles of terrain that has to be covered everyday two times a day to pick kids up, to bring them to school, and to take them home.”
“That cost is our cost,” says Baker.
The school district does not plan to cut any electives. Instead they are moving from an 8 to a 7 period day.
“We're moving from an 8 period day to a 7 period day purely for economic reasons,” says Baker. “In other words had we not gone to the 7 period day for next year we would have had to of cut entire classes, electives, and or start cutting down teachers full time positions.”
The school district will also need to cut its full time social worker.
MADISON - A bill that would allow Wisconsin schools to extend school days and shorten school years to save money is up for a vote in the Senate this week.
The bill would get rid of the requirement that schools teach for 180 days or lose state funding. Schools are still required to teach the same number of hours under the bill.
Another change under the law allows the state Department of Public Instruction to fund remedial courses and interim school sessions. The package is being viewed as a cost saving measure for districts that have seen state funding decrease in recent years.
Three Democrats joined the bill's Republican sponsors, and DPI and other education groups have voiced strong support for the proposal.
Rhinelander intersection could get a permanent stop sign
RHINELANDER - Drivers might need to get used to a stop sign at one intersection in Rhinelander.
The City Council held a public hearing to decide if the temporary stop sign on Davenport and Sutliff should stay.
The stop sign was put up at the three-way intersection during a construction project last summer.
"We put up a temporary stop sign because we had the closure on Kemp, and we sent all the traffic this way," says Rhinelander City Administrator Blaine Oborn. "Once we had the stop sign up, a lot of people in the community started voicing support for keeping it."
Members of the community voiced their support for or against the permanent stop sign at the public hearing.
"People who live on the west side over here go straight through, it slows them down a little bit by having to do a stop sign," says Oborn. "The people on Sutliff that have to make a left or right turn, they really favor the three-way stop sign here because it makes it a lot safer for them."
The permanent signs could be in place in the next couple of weeks if the council approves the move.
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