MINOCQUA - Lakeland Union High School offers amenities many larger districts don't have. The school's hard work and investment in their students is paying off in better graduation rates and grades, but one sore spot on their report card is truancy.
Last school year, one in three students was truant habitually. That number is unacceptable to Lakeland Principal Jim Bouché
"This is like a job. Being in high school, being in school is a person's job. And it prepares them for their later life, moving into the true real world situations… And when it comes to being on time, it's very important. Tardy or 'unexcused' is not something that's acceptable in the workforce," says Bouché.
Despite truancy Lakeland Union improved its failure rate- that's the number of classes failed- by 20 percent last semester.
The district has invested heavily in technology, and the goal of giving Lakeland students a competitive education compared to big cities.
One new concept, called "study labs" for different subjects, makes it impossible for kids to slip through the cracks.
"We don't call them 'study halls'," says Bouché, "We're working with our students with teachers in all of these labs. They're not hall monitors, or study hall monitors. They're being worked with, one-on-one in many cases, with teachers that are assigned to those different areas... Failure is not an option."
In the last 4 years Lakeland dropped their failure rate from 7.3% to 2.5% and improved their graduation rate from 83% to 95%.
Principal Bouche says their new plan for truancy involves working with the courts, parents and elementary schools to reestablish how important it is to show up for school.
RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Musical Festival kicks off on Thursday.
But there are already plenty of people camping out for the big event in the Northwoods.
Those campers benefit businesses in the Northwoods both new and old.
Johnny Nickolaou, who opened his liquor store in Sugar Camp around Thanksgiving, understands the importance of tourism.
"Huge, you know you depend on locals year round and they are great, but if it weren't for them I could never afford to be open," said Nickalaou. "But it's really nice getting this push to hopefully get us through the winter months."
Nickolaou set up a deal in preparation of Hodag Country Festival. He discounted around 10 large orders.
"15 case orders, most of them which is quite a bit I thought," said Nickalaou.
EAGLE RIVER - If you want a new summer activity, look no further than Eagle River. A new art studio offers many different classes to kids and adults.
"We've been here for a month, but the organization has been together for about three years," said Summer Program Director Erica Bush. "We're very excited to be in our own building finally."
Classes can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. People can sign up for classes ahead of time or just walk into the center. Program directors think it's important for kids to get involved in art early on.
"It's the creativity that the kids learn about," said Bush. "Creativity can go into all different aspects—math, science—it's everywhere. So enforcing art when they're really young will really lead to a more intelligent future for these kids."
The center offers anything from painting to pottery to cooking. Kids shared why they love to take art classes. "You could just grab a piece of paper or something and then you can just doodle on it," said 4th grader Nicholas Fluegel.
"It's really calming, and there's no bad way to do art," said 6th grader Grace Florence.
LINCOLN COUNTY - A Tomahawk homeowner was able to scare off burglars back in March, even after being hit in the face with the hatchet. Now, a Merrill man will need to find 25 dollars in cash to get out of jail.
28-year-old Chad Staehle was charged with four felonies for breaking into a home in Tomahawk. Police believe he and three other men broke into the home with a hatchet and crowbar.
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