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NEWS STORIES

Rural Schools Task Force recommendations expected by AprilSubmitted: 03/09/2014

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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.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Caseload motivates Vilas County judge to ask for another judge in countySubmitted: 07/29/2014

EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County Judge Neal Nielsen sometimes feels rushed while in the courtroom.

The large number of cases he needs to hear requires the court calendar to keep moving.

That number of cases has steadily increased over the last several years.

That's why Nielsen is pushing for a second judge in Vilas County.

"Judge need" is measured by a statistic called weighted case load.

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Wabeno man pleads guilty to hurting toddler, could face future chargesSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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CRANDON - A Northwoods boy will never walk or talk again. That's because Brandon Brunette threw the boy across a room.

Brunette pled guilty to one felony for child abuse in Forest County court Tuesday. He could spend as many as 40 years in prison.

Brunette was originally charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor. The other charges were dropped, as part of a plea deal.

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Northwoods paddleboard business successful in fourth yearSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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THREE LAKES - The popularity of paddleboarding continues to contribute to the success of a newer Northwoods business.

5 Toes on the Nose Paddleboard Rentals brings paddleboards anywhere in the Northwoods.

We caught up with paddleboard business owner Sarah Weyenberg Tuesday.

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Homeless shelter making progress in Lincoln CountySubmitted: 07/29/2014

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TOMAHAWK - You could learn more about a proposed Northwoods homeless shelter this weekend.

Volunteers in Lincoln County are working on the county's first homeless shelter. Three Rivers United Temporary Housing, or TRUTH, leased the house next to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Tomahawk.

They will be hosting an open house this Saturday from 4-6 P.M.

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Hand, foot and mouth disease spreading around NorthwoodsSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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NORTHWOODS - A virus that usually affects kids seems to be spreading around the Northwoods.

Pediatricians we spoke with have seen more people with hand, foot and mouth disease come in during the last month.

The symptoms include a fever, mouth sores and a rash on the hands and feet, but the rash can be found on other parts of the body.

The infection is spread through close contact including through saliva, coughing and sneezing.

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One person dead after being pulled from lakeSubmitted: 07/29/2014

WOODRUFF - Woodruff police want to know what happened to a person who died after ending up in the water.

The Woodruff Police Department was called to Indian Mounds boat landing about 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Two DNR rangers there had pulled an unconscious male from the lake.

Medical personnel at the scene told officers the victim had died, and the coroner was called.

An autopsy will be performed.

No name will be released until the victim is positively identified.


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Former Rhinelander teacher faces another charge for stealingSubmitted: 07/29/2014

RHINELANDER - The former Rhinelander High School teacher convicted of having and making THC and stealing from the school district faces another charge for stealing.

Joshua Juergens is charged with a felony for stealing from Ministry St. Mary's in Rhinelander.

According to the criminal complaint, Juergens went to urgent care because his back hurt. Juergen's girlfriend said that he was given painkillers at the hospital. She was in the exam room for part of the exam. Juergens was walking around touching the medical equipment. She told him to stop. After that Juergens told her he had questions for the nurse and told her to leave.

His girlfriend drove him home about a half hour later. When they both got home she said she saw the patient monitor and thermometer in a St. Mary's bag. That's when she brought the equipment back.

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