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NEWS STORIES

Rural Schools Task Force recommendations expected by AprilSubmitted: 03/09/2014
Lauren Stephenson
5 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
lstephenson@wjfw.com


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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/28/2014

- People in the Northwoods didn't let the chillier temperatures stop them from heading out for Black Friday this morning.

- Kids in Eagle River got a special treat at the Northwoods Children's Museum. The museum brought in two live turkeys for their annual Turkey and Traditions event. Every November, two turkeys are brought in to help teach kids about where their Thanksgiving meal comes from. Hear about the importance of the program coming up on Newswatch 12 tonight.

- If you're not in the Christmas spirit yet, a local model train show can help transport you to Santa's Village.

- And homemade pizzas turn into more than sauce and dough at one Eagle River household. We'll meet Gary Anderson tonight on Newswatch 12 and tell you how his pizza making turned into a fundraising tool to help people in the Northwoods.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Local author writes book after 11 years of researchSubmitted: 11/28/2014

PRESQUE ISLE - You can learn a lot about your family history after 11 years of research.

Presque Isle's Richard Fields now knows five generations of his family name, and 1200 people related to him.

He started his research in 2003. Fields finished this year.

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Holiday Model Train Show Opens in MinocquaSubmitted: 11/28/2014

MINOCQUA - If Black Friday and the snow didn't get you into the Christmas spirit just yet, a local train display could help.

The Northwoods Model Railroad Club opened Santa's Village Friday.

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Black Friday Shopping in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 11/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Many people woke up early and headed to the store for Black Friday.

It is considered one of the biggest shopping days of the year because it can mark the start of the holiday shopping season.

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Northwoods Children's Museum hosts turkeys for educationSubmitted: 11/28/2014

EAGLE RIVER - People who head to the Northwoods Children's Museum will get a special surprise.

The museum in Eagle River is hosting a couple of live turkeys this month.

Workers say the live animals help children understand exactly where their Thanksgiving meals come from.

The program has been running for about 10 years.

Turkey and Tradition draws a lot of people to Eagle River every November.

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Funeral set for 3 children who died in U.P. crashSubmitted: 11/28/2014

DAGGETT, MI - A funeral has been scheduled for the three children killed in a weather-related crash in the Upper Peninsula.

TV station WBUP-WBKP reports (http://bit.ly/1vpSGy8 ) the funeral for Michael, Maxwell and Joelle McCue is set for Sunday at the Carney Free Church in the Menominee County community of Carney. The children ages 11 to 14 died Monday after their van smashed into a semi-truck on snowy U.S. 41 near Daggett.

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Chimney fire significantly damages Conover homeSubmitted: 11/27/2014

CONOVER - Firefighters blame a chimney fire for damaging a Conover home, according to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office.

The fire happened around 4:49 p.m. Thursday at 3950 E. Pioneer Rd. That's south east of Conover near Pioneer Lake.

The sheriff's office says the fire significantly damaged the house.

No one was hurt.

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