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Proposed bill may put seat belts on school busesSubmitted: 09/19/2013
Proposed bill may put seat belts on school buses
Story By Ryan Michaels

RHINELANDER - We make sure our kids wear seat belts in the car. So why don't they wear them on the school bus?

Democratic State Senator Tim Cullen, Janesville, wants to change that.

His bill would put three point seat belts on all new school buses. According to Wisconsin Radio Network, Senator Cullen(D) said, "I am amazed that we let those kids roll down the road at 55 miles an hour with no seat belt."

Rhinelander School District Superintendent Kelli Jacobi thinks school bus safety is a priority.

But she says in certain situations, seat belts make the bus less safe. "I'm not opposed to them. I see some very positive things, but what about those scary accidents, the roll overs, the fires. There's no way you could get kids off a bus quickly enough if you have to remove seat belts."

Jacobi says there are other safety measures already in place for some types of accidents. Buses are now installing high seat backs. Those help minimize injuries in front and back collisions.

If the bill passes, many school districts would have to pay for the seat belts. In the Rhinelander School District, Bowen's Bus Service provides the student transportation and did not offer an opinion on the seat belt bill.

But Jacobi says the bus service would have to pay for the seat belts. Which in turn would likely lead to higher service charges, and therefore more tax payer money in the end.

School districts would be able to apply for grants to help with about fifty percent of the cost of the school bus seat belts. But that still averages out to roughly four thousand dollars per bus.

She says there are about ten student deaths from school bus accidents every year. Most injuries involving school buses happen as students are loading and unloading the bus.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - Local organizations got the chance to give back to their communities at Saturday's Fall Fest.

 This year it also gave a mother and daughter the chance to get even closer than they were before. 

During Fall Fest on Saturday Nicole Fondie felt a little déjà vu watching her daughter. 

"It's neat to repeat it and see her grow with it," said Nicole. 

As a child Nicole was involved with the girl scouts, but this is her first year as a troop leader to her daughter Zoey's Girl Scouts troop.

"It gives them an opportunity to give back to other people and give back to their communities," said Nicole.
This year the scouts volunteered at Fall Fest. 

"Very proud of her, seeing everything she does, and the way she likes to interact with people," said Nicole. 

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Missing 84-year-old man foundSubmitted: 10/21/2017

EAGLE RIVER - A woman reported her 84-year-old husband who suffers from dementia missing, at around 5 a.m. Saturday morning, in Eagle River.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office searched the home and buildings on the property when they arrived on scene.

At around 9 a.m. a member of the Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue and his K-9 found the man near his home.

He was not injured.

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MINOCQUA - "I've always had a passion for the outdoors," said Predmore.

It's no surprise he's finishing up his third wildlife internship while putting his years in school to good use.

"Wanted to take my biology degree and not work in a lab."

Predmore spends his work days at the wildlife center rehabbing hurt animals and educating the public about wildlife.

"I've enjoyed every bit of it," said Predmore.

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RHINELANDER - Wild Instincts celebrated the release of BBC's "Supercharged Otters," which filmed at Wild Instincts in Rhinelander.

Saturday's viewing at Rouman Cinema in Rhinelander had a complementary showing of the episode.

The episode features otters that spent seven months with Rehabilitation Director Mark Naniot and his team.

The episode gives people a look into the life of an otter.

"Like everything else it's the web of life. Everything's all interconnected and even if it's just the pure enjoyment of watching an otter swim or catch a fish and seeing how playful they are sliding down a mudslide or sliding through the snow that alone is immeasurable really," said Naniot.

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ANTIGO - You'll always find 11-year-old Mara Antone wearing her helmet while she's on a bike. Last week, after leaving the Antigo Boys and Girls Club, she had an unexpected encounter. 

"I was riding home and I saw a cop car go and I waved," said Mara. 

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RHINELANDER - Just a year ago, days looked a lot different for Rhinelander's Jane Dunbar. For 27 years up to her 2016 retirement, she built a career.

"I worked for the state health department," she said. "I worked in public health for communicable disease and immunization."

Now, Dunbar picks days she'd like to work as a substitute teacher at Pelican Elementary School.

"I've been doing kindergarten today, and I really like the kindergarten," she said on Wednesday. "They're really active."

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MINOCQUA - Pretty soon little ghosts, goblins and ghouls will hit the streets expecting tricks or treats.

However, some families may take their kids to church or club festivities as a safer way to celebrate.

Some of those places could actually attract convicted nonviolent sex offenders.

"[Kids] can't defend themselves at that age," said Minocqua vacationer and grandmother Donna Davies.

Davies thinks Halloween is a time to keep an extra eye out for sex offenders.

"With sex offenders you need to be super cautious," said Davies.

In Minocqua, there are no laws keeping nonviolent sex offenders from attending youth groups, children's activities and even boy scouts meetings.

"The public thinks sex offenders are a threat to public safety," said Minocqua Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim.

He says sex offenders are always around, but trick or treating can get dangerous.

"They're there and we don't always know they are there," said Hartzheim.

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