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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
Boating accident puts three people in the hospitalSubmitted: 07/24/2014

WOODRUFF - Three people rest in the hospital after a boat crash on Lake Tomahawk.

It happened near Indian Shores in the township of Woodruff. The Woodruff Police Department says a ski boat carrying eight people hit a fishing boat with two people on board. Authorities also believe the fishing boat was anchored at the time.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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Packers shareholders meeting at Lambeau FieldSubmitted: 07/24/2014

GREEN BAY - The only publicly owned team in U.S. professional sports is holding its annual shareholders meeting.

The Green Bay Packers are expecting more than 12,000 shareholders Thursday for the meeting at Lambeau Field. The Packers have about 364,000 owners.

The meeting is held in the open bowl of Lambeau. Shareholders will vote for three nominees to the board of directors, Associated Banc-Corp CEO Philip Flynn, Schreiber Foods CEO Michael Haddad and University of Wisconsin-Madison's Dr. Elizabeth Trowbridge.

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Wausau business man will spend 11 years in prison for fraud in 5 countiesSubmitted: 07/24/2014

NORTHWOODS - A former Wausau business man will spend 11 years in prison for defrauding more than a million dollars from homeowners and investors.

54-year-old Jay Fischer was found guilty of felonies of racketeering, theft, and fraud. He committed mortgage fraud through his Marathon County business Valley Title. He embezzled about $1million by failing to pay off old mortgages after homeowners got new ones. He did this to people in 5 counties including Vilas, Marathon, and Wood.

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Briefs piling up in gay marriage rulings appealsSubmitted: 07/24/2014

INDIANAPOLIS - At least 20 friend of the court briefs have been filed in appeals of rulings overturning gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, including one by a group of churches and another by 10 states' attorneys general.

The brief filed by the attorneys general argues that society should decide whether same-sex marriage is acceptable, not the courts.

Another brief filed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and groups representing four other churches argues that marriage between a man and a woman is God's will.

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Local children explore emergency fields at NTCSubmitted: 07/24/2014

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MERRILL - Instead of just dreaming of being a firefighter, some children in Merrill actually got to try it out.

The Boys and Girls Club of Wausau went to Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill on Wednesday to explore careers in emergency fields.

"They're going to do one scenario where they're actually going to get put up into fire gear. And they're going to hook up a hose line on a fire truck and they're going to put out a dumpster fire," says Bert Nitzke, the Executive Director of Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence.

Student's putting out the fire's say it was more difficult than it looked.

"It's kinda hard cause like the hose is pushing back really hard," says Jordyn Schalow, one of the students that took part in the training.

Students also got to experience EMS and police scenarios.

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Vietnam Veterans receive recognition in Price County Submitted: 07/24/2014

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PRICE COUNTY - Vietnam War veterans didn't get the "welcome home" they deserved when coming home from the war. But now, more than 50 years after the conflict, in Price County they are receiving appreciation for their sacrifices.

The Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Trail was officially dedicated on July 17th at the VFW Post 8491 in Prentice. The idea came up at a Price County Commanders call, a meeting made up of all the post commanders and commissioners for Price County, and this monument is anything but 'little'.

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Program focuses on possible climate change in the Northwoods Submitted: 07/24/2014

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NORTHWOODS - A warming climate could challenge many of the plants and animals that live in the Northwoods.

People in Boulder Junction learned about some of those risks at the Community Center Thursday night.

The speaker says even though we've had harsh winters these past two years, the lack of ice in the long term could impact fish, evaporation rate and skiing.

"Winter's kind of the limiting factor of the Northwoods. So when you reduce winter, those species that are adapted to being here in this kind of winter, they're going to move further north and actually follow where the winter is because, it's hard to believe, but a lot of species can't live in warmer temperatures," said Naturalist John Bates.

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