WAUSAU - When you hear about a serious crime in Marathon County, chances are, it's linked to drug use.
Community leaders feel crime rates will go down if drug abuse goes down.
That’s why law enforcement and other groups launched the "Pushback Against Drug Abuse" campaign.
Today marked phase two of that campaign focusing on community involvement.
“We are not a population that ignores our problems. We take on the fights that matter, and this fight is worth taking on,” said Wausau City Council Chairperson Lisa Rasmussen.
For Rasmussen, the fight against drug abuse is on.
“To create the energy the community needs to be a little bit angry about you know, all of these things that it sees and the activity in the neighborhoods,” said Rasmussen.
Marathon County’s “Pushback Against Drug Abuse” campaign now wants community involvement.
“It impacts our quality of life, it impacts the environment in our community and in our schools and it’s important enough to us to take back the community and communicate the message out there that this community won’t stand for it no more,” said Rasmussen.
Sue Nowak is a local drug prevention specialist.
She believes drug abuse leads to larger problems.
Nowak knows the problem won’t get smaller until the fight against it gets bigger.
“There are so many different aspects to addiction and what’s going on in the community. So I think a team effort is the best way to approach it,” said Nowak.
Part of that team is the Wausau Police Department.
They want community members to keep their eyes out for anything suspicious.
“So what do you do when you see this type of drug activity? We always ask you to call law enforcement so that we can go and investigate what is going on,” said Captain Ben Bliven.
Bottom line, communication is key in the fight against drug abuse.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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