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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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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 01/29/2015

- A Northwoods group that strives to help make students job-ready got special recognition from Governor Scott Walker on Wednesday. Find out which group and why.

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

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RHINELANDER - A Northwoods group that strives to help make students job-ready got special recognition from Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday.

Rhinelander-based Partners in Education, or PIE, was one of 17 individuals and groups honored with the 2014 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award.

The non-profit started in 2009.

It works with local businesses and community leaders to offer additional educational opportunities to School District of Rhinelander students.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Children and adults at Lac du Flambeau Public School worked hard to construct a traditional Ojibwe Winter Lodge.

People worked together for nine months to build it.

The entire lodge is made from natural materials. Both the gathering of materials and the construction of the lodge were done in a spiritual way: acknowledging and thanking the earth.

"Native people, we look at the trees, we look at the animals, we look at the fish. We revere those things as our relatives. A lot of non-native people look at those things as a resource," said Ojibwe Language and Culture Instructor Wayne Valliere.

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods supermarkets want to be prepared for the Superbowl this Sunday. Some local stores have ordered a lot more food for this week to make sure they don't run out of Superbowl staples.

The assistant store director of Trig's in Rhinelander has ordered extra shipments of soda, pizza, and snack food. The store wants to be prepared but it doesn't expect food to sell as quickly as it does during other times of the year.

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SUGAR CAMP - A recent grant might help students at Sugar Camp Elementary stay healthy this school year. The NFL and the National Dairy Council gave the school a $900 grant last week. The students get in shape by taking part in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

"Our kids are tracking physical fitness points and nutrition points every day on the Fuel Up to Play 60 website," said 4th Grade Teacher Robin LeMoine. "They are involved in the 100 Mile Club that we started here this fall, where we're walking one mile every day."

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MINOCQUA - People in Minocqua brought back a Northwoods tradition this year when they rebuilt the city's giant snowman.

For a few years, the giant snowman didn't get built, because of poor weather conditions.

"Who doesn't love to build a snowman?" asked Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Krystal Westfahl. "And to have the opportunity to build a 30-foot snowman brings out every kid in us."

Volunteers in Minocqua helped build the enormous snowman, named Snowmy Kromer, just outside of the Chamber of Commerce. He used to be built near the Island City Ice Cream store. But this year, they wanted to try a new spot.

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ST. GERMAIN - A wide open, snow- and ice-covered lake can mean a fun and fast time on a snowmobile.

You will get a chance to find out just how fast your snowmobile can go when the 13th Annual St. Germain Snowmobile Radar Run starts in St. Germain.

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