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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
Rhinelander Food Pantry needs volunteers to help move to new locationSubmitted: 09/02/2014

RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Food Pantry could use more volunteers to help move to their new location.

The pantry will move into the old Golden Harvest building.

But before they move they need to make some changes to the building.

One of those changes is building a new wall.

"It will separate the distribution area from the storage area," says Rhinelander Food Pantry volunteer Bill Vancos. "The distribution area will end up being about twice the size of what our current area is right now at the current location, so that'll be great. And then we'll also have the storage all on one level."

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Updated--ATV rider killed in crash along Highway 29 Submitted: 09/02/2014

MARATHON COUNTY - A Marathon County man died when his ATV crashed on Highway 29.

Deputies were called at 9:42 yesterday morning with a report of the accident in the town of Rib Falls.

The man riding the ATV was dead at the scene.

He had been heading north on Cardinal Lane and went across Highway 29, apparently headed for 9th Avenue.

Instead, the ATV collided with two cars on Highway 29.


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Another try for White Lake referendum after two-vote failureSubmitted: 09/02/2014

WHITE LAKE - A big part of the community in White Lake takes its small rural school very seriously.

Two years ago, the community helped build a brand new gym and fitness center at the school.

The wood for the basketball floor was even donated by local loggers.

Each grade level at the school has only about 15 students.

Despite its size, for many, it's still the center of the community.

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Phelps to welcome business incubatorSubmitted: 09/02/2014

PHELPS - The Vilas County Economic Development Corporation will open a business incubator in Phelps.

New chairman Carl Ruedebusch bought a 9,000 square foot building.

It will give small businesses space to develop and share resources.

Leaders hope it will also bring some much needed businesses to the community.

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Watch out for kids as school resumesSubmitted: 09/02/2014

RHINELANDER - Students went back to class in many districts across Wisconsin Tuesday morning.

The Wisconsin State Patrol wants drivers to watch out for them.

Some kids might get to and from school on their bikes.

It's the law to give bikers three feet of space when you're passing them.

You also need to stay 20 feet away from stopped school buses.

Parents should make sure their kids know how to stay safe on their way to and from school.

Kids need to watch out for traffic.

Parents should remind them texting while walking can be a distraction.

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Boy found safe after becoming lost in the woodsSubmitted: 09/02/2014

FLORENCE COUNTY - A family in Florence County needed help finding their three-year-old after he disappeared in the woods Monday.

The boy was missing for nearly two hours Monday morning.

The family was packing up to head home when the boy wandered away around 9:15.

He had walked about a half mile into the woods.

The family says he was very wet but healthy.

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Two photographic exhibits to open next week at ArtStartSubmitted: 09/01/2014

RHINELANDER - The artists paired together in ArtStart's next exhibition couldn't have more different backgrounds.

Next Friday, the Rhinelander gallery will open with two very diverse displays.

"We have two photographic exhibitions opening. One is a solo artist, so the whole gallery will be their work, and the other is an artist who worked with teens as a kind of therapy program, photography and art as therapy," said ArtStart Development Director Melinda Childs.

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