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Bill wants school districts to pick start dateSubmitted: 09/13/2013
Story By Adam Fox

Bill wants school districts to pick start date
RHINELANDER - September means the start of school for kids in the Northwoods.

State law requires schools to start after Labor Day. But some state legislators think school districts should pick the start day.

Crandon Elementary Principal Jamee Belland believes it would give her district more flexibility.

"I think in this area we would maybe move the start day up a little bit," Belland said.


The law, along with snow days, usually pushes the school year well into June. An earlier start would fix that. Belland thinks it would also help students prepare for state required tests.

"The PALS test already starts on Monday," Belland said. "First grade has to give that test and then within another week kindergarten and the other grades fall in line, so it's early to be testing to where maybe a few more weeks would give us ample time."

But tourist based businesses worry they would lose teenage workers during the busiest part of the season. Republican State Rep. Rob Swearingen also owns a dinner club outside of Rhinelander. He thinks a change would hurt businesses.

"We really only have that eight weeks to make hay," Swearingen said. "So when you take that second or third week potentially out of our workforce it really is a struggle."

Republican Sen. Jim Ott introduced the bill. He believes it won't hurt tourism because elected school boards would make the changes.

"Changing the law would not require that schools to start before September 1st," Ott said. "It would just simply give the local school board the right to start whenever they wanted to."

But many business would rather have their workers in late August than early June. Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lara Reed fears tourists might not be around if a cold spring stretches into summer.

"Weather and never knowing, that thought kind of makes you a little nervous to think about shifting it that direction," Reed said.

The bill sits in the Wisconsin State Assembly Tourism Committee. Many businesses hope it goes no further than that.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/23/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on what appears to have been a suicide of a Lac du Flambeau woman whose body was found in a Crandon home following a report of a gunshot early Wednesday morning and leaving three people in jail.

At the close of the high school sports season, Lakeland Union High School had the most successful season of all the schools in the Northwoods. We'll review their season and talk with the Athletics Director and two student athletes about the school's success.

And in spite of all the recent rain, a Tomahawk area family is very excited about today's opening of their strawberry farm. We talk to them about the first day and about how the recent rain may affect the berry growth.

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 - All the spring rain this year makes it difficult for people to keep up with their lawns. It is especially hard on those who make their living off lawn care. 
 
Steinmetz Landscape Design has been in business for 35 years. Owner and founder Alan Steinmetz says the amount of rain this season isn't something he's ever seen. 

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TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk Berry Farm opened its gates Friday for the first time this summer.

The morning was what Tom Behling calls the perfect strawberry picking weather.

Behling has owned the Tomahawk Berry Farm for more than 30 years.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker is hitting the road to promote cheese.

Walker announced Friday that economic development officials, members of his cabinet, lawmakers and University of Wisconsin officials will be spreading out across the state to celebrate growing cheese companies.

Walker is kicking off "Wisconsin Cheese Day" on Monday with a stop at Klondike Cheese in Monroe.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Prosecutors think an Oneida County Sheriff's deputy used her job to steal cash, but she could get those charges dropped if she completes a diversion agreement with the court.

Sarah Gardner, 41, also known as Sarah Welcenbach, faces two felony misconduct charges in Oneida County.

According to the criminal complaint, prosecutors believe she paid herself about $1200 from a cash box her office used for drug investigations.

The diversion agreement says Gardner must pay the money back to the Sheriff's Office and complete a six-week accounting course at Nicolet College.

If she does those things, the state can ask to dismiss the case.

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MADISON - A federal judge says Wisconsin's use of solitary confinement in its juvenile prisons poses "acute, immediate and enduring" harm to young inmates and is ordering that it be dramatically scaled back.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Friday also ordered that shackling juvenile inmates and the use of pepper spray be used much more sparingly than now.

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RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.

There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.

"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.

All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.

"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."

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