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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

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has appointed attorney Dan Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Walker's spokesman Tom Everson told The Associated Press on Friday that the governor had decided to name Kelly to the seven-member court.

Kelly will replace retiring Justice David Prosser. His appointment won't change the court's 5-2 conservative majority, however.

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MADISON - State attorneys have asked a federal judge to stay a ruling allowing people to vote without photo identification pending an appeal.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee issued a preliminary injunction this week allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explain why they couldn't get the identification.

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MADISON - Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson sees Donald Trump as the big winner at the recently completed Republican National Convention, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is the biggest loser.

Thompson spoke to The Associated Press on Friday after attending his 11th national convention. He's been to every one since 1976.

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LANGLADE COUNTY - A dead crow found in Langlade County last week tested positive for West Nile virus. It's the first crow to test positive in Langlade County since surveillance started for the virus on May 1.

The Langlade County Health Department wants people to be more careful when trying to prevent mosquito bites. The virus is spread to humans through infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes get the virus from infected birds.

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RHINELANDER - We finally did it, we hit 90 degrees Thursday, July 21st, for the first time in almost three years.

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RHINELANDER - Emergency first responders save lives and build trust in the community.

And now the Rhinelander Police Department has a new member to do that.

They swore in the new officer Friday morning.

Mark Raddatz and his family gathered at the Rhinelander City Hall for the ceremony.

Raddatz is excited to be in Rhinelander and to make a positive impact in the community.

"I think it's very important for people to know what we do and how involved we are with the community and how much good we do. A lot of times people don't see us doing all the behind the scenes things and good acts," said Raddatz.

Raddatz is the 17th member on the police force, making the department full again. That addition will help with involvement around town as well.

"We have the ability to do extra programming out in the community. Our officers have more time to spend building more positive relationships within the community, instead of just reacting to calls," said Police Chief Michael Steffes.

Raddatz has worked in other departments across Wisconsin and he's looking forward to being in Rhinelander.

His daughter, Abby, is happy to be a Hodag.

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How camps are handling the heatSubmitted: 07/22/2016

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RHINELADER - During the summer months, camps look forward to welcoming campers and counselors.

They certainly don't look forward to those hot and humid days that make it hard to enjoy being outdoors.
 
This week, Rhinelander's Camp Birchrock has focused on keeping their campers cool all day long.

"We've been getting in the water, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Doing a lot of fun things to keep us cool," said 11-year-old Genevion Boid.

This is his first year as a camper at Birchrock.

Camp Director Johanna Sommers says the heat hasn't stopped them from doing any activities, but they do remain mindful of the sun.

"We make sure that they're drinking water all day," Sommers said. "Water bottles are a must and sunscreen, especially. We put it on every hour at least."

Luckily at the camp there's a lot of shade created by trees, giving the campers and counselors some relief from all of that heat. In a lot of areas around the camp, they also have water fountains.

In addition to keeping the campers hydrated, counselors also make sure to limit time in the sun.

"We do a little bit less of hiking and sports field activities, because the sports field is kind of open to the sun," Sommers said. "We try not to do too much out there just so they don't get overheated and over exhausted."

12-year-old Eleanor Domnick says she doesn't mind the heat. It gives her a chance to enjoy the outdoors.

"It's really fun to go swimming and just go in the play field and hang out with your friends," Domnick said.

The campers at Camp Birchrock are sure enjoying staying cool, while also having some fun.

The camp offers overnight sessions and regular day camp programs every summer.

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