RHINELANDER - Superintendents at rural schools face challenges like growing poverty, declining enrollment, and high transportation costs.
The State Assembly formed the Rural Schools Task Force to find ways to help.
12 members of the State Assembly make up the task force.
They've traveled to schools around the state for the last six months.
They made two stops in the Northwoods.
The task force turned to superintendents, business leaders, and other community members to learn more about the challenges the schools and communities face.
The state did increase funding for schools in their most recent budget.
But some rural school superintendents said the $150 per student budget increase this year wasn't enough.
They want the state's funding formula to change.
"Initially when we brought the task force together, the task force was charged to find solutions that didn't necessarily - weren't fiscal. And so what we found is these school districts are doing the best they can with the money they have. And unfortunately, a lot of these solutions will be fiscal. And so that could potentially be pointing to the next budget cycle," said Republican Rep. Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander, the Rural Schools Task Force Chair.
He says high transportation costs, poor broadband service, declining enrollment and lower teacher retention rates will most likely be addressed in the recommendations.
"The report is going to be generated hopefully here in the next week or so by legislative council. And then the task force will get a chance to look at the report and give our final recommendations to Speaker Vos."
The report is expected to come out at the end of this month or the beginning of April.
RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
RHINELANDER - This holiday season, you might want to tell your child to hug family members at holiday gatherings.
The Girls Scouts of the USA hopes you won't. The organization is saying daughters don't owe anyone physical affection, and that the expectation of hugs and kisses could have bad aftereffects later in life.
"I think for some people, it is a new concept," said Melissa K., the domestic violence coordinator at Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual assault, which is based in Rhinelander.
In a post, the Girl Scouts of the USA told parents their daughters don't "owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays."
RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
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