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NEWS STORIES

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


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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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/03/2015

- A measure passed by the state's budget committee Thursday night would limit what information lawmakers would have to disclose under open records rules. State lawmakers will essentially get to keep secret records for things like research, discussions and amendments to legislative proposals. We'll look at the issue tonight on Newswatch 12.

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

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A proposal passed by a Capitol committee on Thursday night could help SafeRide Home.

It would add a $50 surcharge to some OWI offenses. That money would go back into SafeRide Home programs.

The proposal is part of the state budget, which has yet to become law.

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MADISON - After a five-week delay, the Legislature's budget-writing committee has given final approval to a new two-year spending plan.

The Joint Finance Committee early Friday voted 12-4 with all Republicans in support and all Democrats against the $70 billion budget.

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LA CROSSE - A Wisconsin man is being detained in a mental health facility after authorities say he told a security guard he planned to kill President Barack Obama.

A warrant was issued Thursday for 55-year-old Brian Dutcher of Tomah, the same day Obama was in La Crosse touting a proposal to make more workers eligible for overtime pay.

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MERRILL - A woman in the Merrill area could face charges for allegedly shooting her boyfriend in the leg.

Lincoln County Deputies got a call about 1:20 this morning about a domestic disturbance in the town of Merrill.

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MADISON - Republicans on the state's budget committee approved a number of measures in the final stages of the budget process Thursday, including removing the Milwaukee Bucks Arena and prevailing wage proposals, while passing sections impacting taxes and borrowing for transportation.

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RHINELANDER - People can see something odd while traveling through a certain intersection in Rhinelander. A Wisconsin Public Service truck is holding up a power pole at the intersection of Phillips and Thayer Street. A few days ago, a driver hit the power pole, but the collision wasn't hard enough to actually knock the pole down.

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