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Tuning into a different kind of retirementSubmitted: 08/02/2013
Story By Lex Gray

Tuning into a different kind of retirement
RHINELANDER - From the outside, Jeff Santy's house looks like a typical retiree's dream: a view of the lake, and peace and quiet.

But Santy's retirement dream is a little different.

"You don't have to be a rock star to feel like one," Santy says.

Santy helps people feel and act like rock stars. He started teaching music and bringing bands together after he retired from teaching English at Rhinelander High School in 2006.

"Sometimes the kids come to me and say, ‘Here's four or five of my friends, we want to be in a band, we've got a name for the band, we've got matching jackets,' and I'll say ‘What do you play?' and they'll say ‘Oh no, no, that's up to you.'"

It's not always kids living the rock star dream.

"I've had a gal who was retired just a few years ago from teaching, and she said I've always wanted to be a drummer," Santy says. "She was 57 years of age and when she started, she said ‘I should have started this 50 years ago.'"

Carly Reich started playing guitar and keyboard when she was 15 years old.

"My brother had put ads up all over town looking for band members and he got no responses," Reich says.

Two years ago, Reich and her brother found Santy's Tunesmith Academy. Santy helped them bring their band, Violet Skies, together.

"I tried taking private lessons, I tried teaching myself, and I tried playing as a group lesson," Reich says."I think the main thing for me was, there's an obligation to the other people in your band to keep getting better and to keep up with what you've learned. So that makes me a lot less likely to slack off."

Tunesmith Academy is fun for the bands and fun for Jeff, but how does it fit in with the quiet Lake George community?

"We got a phone call once when we were pumping the music, and I thought ‘Uh-oh, there's the sheriff's department calling me and saying you gotta shut this down,'" Santy says. "And yet it was someone across the lake calling with a request. They wanted to hear a certain song."

A certain song that brings you back to a time when anything was possible.

"I think kids dream of being sports stars or rock stars," he says. "I can't help them with the sports star end of it, but I can help them with the music end of it."

Violet Skies and other Tunesmith Academy bands will play this weekend at the Oneida County Fair.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/20/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to Wausau where a traveling wall honoring Vietnam veterans is being displayed.

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And we show you a camp in St. Germain where autistic children can step away and enjoy life with their families.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - Food pantries all over the country help to build hunger free communities.

One Northwoods food pantry is celebrating a huge milestone it reached earlier this month.

The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry has distributed more than five million pounds of food in its twelve years of operation.

That comes out to about five tons of food going out the doors each week. 

"Five million pounds of food is unreal. It's…the community has been wonderful. This community has always supported us, not only with money and with donations, but with volunteers," said Treasurer Ginger Chrobak.

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ARCADIA - Parts of Wisconsin remain underwater or in cleanup mode after flooding.

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SUGAR CAMP - Equipped with a box full of tools and their trusty canoe, Aubrey Nycz and Tom Boisvert hit the water ready to search Wednesday morning.

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The duo from the Oneida County Aquatic Invasive Species program hunted Paradise Lake northwest of Sugar Camp for items like Chinese mystery snails and Eurasian Watermilfoil, noting where they're located and how much of the species there is in the area.

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MERRILL - As soon as two days after police found 55-year-old Kevin Monroe dead in a Merrill home in January 2016, they started treating the death as a homicide.

But for the next year and a half, no one was charged in the case.

That changed on Friday, when the county prosecutor charged Monroe's 21-year-old son, Tyler, with his father's murder.

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RHINELANDER - You don't typically see blood, needles, and Band-Aids in a park.

But Pioneer Park in Rhinelander is one stop of many for the Community Blood Center's MASH Blood Drive.
And John Knudsen is one avid donor.

"[I donate] as often as possible," said Knudsen.

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THREE LAKES - You can easily find a lake in Wisconsin. There are 1,100 in Oneida County alone.

So it makes sense that one Northwoods museum would see the historical importance behind water. The Three Lakes Historical Museum has an exhibit up now that talks about how water has shaped Wisconsin from the ice age to today.

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