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NEWS STORIES

Rural Schools Task Force holds first public hearingSubmitted: 10/23/2013
Story By Lex Gray

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RHINELANDER - Rural schools face different challenges than schools in suburbs and cities. State legislators say they want to understand what those challenges are, and how they might help.

Local state representative Rob Swearingen chairs the Rural Schools Task Force. Eleven other representatives make up the task force.

Their goal is to create legislation that will help rural schools. Today, the task force listened to superintendents from four local districts.

Their overwhelming message: the school funding formula needs to change. Most Northwoods districts get less state aid because they have high property values.

"It doesn't take into account the ability of our taxpayers to help with the funding of schools," said Kelli Jacobi, superintendent of the School District of Rhinelander. "As our state aid goes down, our taxpayers are expected to pay more, and our taxpayers can't afford to do that."

Swearingen says he hopes house speaker Robin Vos will listen to that. But the funding formula wasn't the purpose of the task force, and it won't be the focus.

"The focus of this group is to make sure the school districts are using the money they have more effectively, so that's part of the discussion. Clearly, the state doesn't have money to just throw at the districts," Swearingen said. "But if we can transfer some of this into categorical aid, something that specifically relates to these rural school problems, maybe we can address some of those financial issues."

Categorical aid could apply to costs like transportation. Three of the four superintendents who spoke today said that would be a big help.

Their districts are geographically large, so they spend huge amounts of money getting kids to and from school. Northland Pines spends $1.3 million every year. Rhinelander spends $1.5 million.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Wisconsin Rapids man gets life in 2008 homicideSubmitted: 10/30/2014

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - A 55-year-old Wisconsin Rapids man has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury convicted him of killing his daughter's ex-boyfriend.

Jurors deliberated for less than two hours Thursday before finding Joseph Reinwand guilty of first-degree intentional homicide.

Wood County Judge Greg Potter sentenced Reinwand to life in prison with no eligibility for extended supervision.

Reinwand was charged in the 2008 shooting death of 35-year-old Dale Meister.

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Community rallies to help one of its ownSubmitted: 10/30/2014

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CRANDON - Kim Teschner looks like a healthy 28-year-old, but the mother of two from Crandon had the scare of her life this past July.

"It slowly started from my face and then just travelled down the whole right side of my body," Teschner explained.

Teschner became numb. She couldn't walk by the time she got to the emergency room.

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Defense rests in Wisconsin Rapids homicide trialSubmitted: 10/30/2014

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - The attorneys for a 55-year-old Wisconsin Rapids man accused of killing his daughter's ex-boyfriend have rested their case after two days of witness testimony.

Joseph Reinwand is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the 2008 shooting death of 35-year-old Dale Meister. Reinwand decided not the take the stand Wednesday in his own defense.

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Northwoods Highway Departments prep for first snowfall Submitted: 10/30/2014

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Northern Wisconsin likely faces the first significant snowfall of the year Thursday night. That means highway departments are prepping for the start of snow-removal season.

Last year's winter was tough on Wisconsin highway departments. Vilas County is making sure they're ready to go this year.

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DNR reminds hunters to check boundaries Submitted: 10/30/2014

WISCONSIN - Wisconsin wildlife leaders want to remind deer hunters to learn the boundaries of new management units by reviewing county lines.

The DNR reduced the number of traditional management units this year from 134 to 72 units based on county boundaries in an effort to simplify the hunt.

The agency says hunters need to have a good idea where county lines are so they know where units begin and end.

The new units don't follow roads or rivers like they did in the past.

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Clothing drive organizers need helpSubmitted: 10/30/2014

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ANTIGO - A clothing drive will help hundreds of families in Langlade County stay warm this winter. Salvation Army and AmeriGas will run the Keeping Our Community Warm clothing drive. The program clothed 350 people last year, but organizers say they'll need more clothes this year.

"We're always open for someone to volunteer their time," said AmeriGas Customer Service Rep. Julie Brandt. "Especially to go to the donation boxes and bring the coats to AmeriGas."

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Substitute teachers will get paid more.Submitted: 10/30/2014

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RHINELANDER - Substitute teachers working for the Rhinelander School District will get paid more.

The district superintendent thinks the pay increase will make it easier for them to find substitutes. The district has had a difficult time finding subs since they started paying substitute teachers less than other districts.

Last year, they changed long term sub pay from 190 dollars to 135 dollars per day.

Some local subs started working for other districts.

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