RHINELANDER - Students walked out of classes at Rhinelander High School Wednesday morning.
Their protest? The potential firing of four RHS teachers.
Facing a budget tightened by $2 million dollars, Blaine Obey, Angela Schaffer, Michael Velis, and Kim DeBuhr were notified they would be laid off at the end of the year.
“The teachers that are getting fired, if they did what we’re doing right now, they’d be fired instantly. So they know that they have someone that will stick up for them," said Dalton Rose, an RHS student.
Students told Newswatch 12 the effect the teachers have had on them goes beyond the classroom.
"Mrs. Schaffer always listens to our personal problems, even though she doesn't have to. She could just teach us, but no, she takes the time to actually listen to us and help us," said student Dani Hageny.
Some say the teachers, while not promoting this specific protest, instilled in them the idea of standing for their values.
“They teach us to stand up for what we believe in and have a voice," said student Haleen Guth.
Oneida County Detective Sergeant Phil Newcomb, who works with the school district, was one of the staff scrambling to get the students back to school.
“Stop protesting," Newcomb told the students while they occupied the public sidewalk outside the school. "There’s a peaceful way to protest, but this is not the way.”
School administration is still considering punishment options for involved students.
Principal Paul Keats sent a letter to high school parents saying he could not “allow students to disrupt the educational environment.”
“Mr. Keats and I are working closely with the appropriate people to find the appropriate response, not to have a knee jerk response...fines are not going to come, and possible punishments are still being considered," said RHS Associate Principal David Ditzler.
While no fines may come from the school itself, multiple students and parents told Newswatch 12 Wednesday afternoon that some received citations from the Sheriff’s Department with fines attached.
But students said the walkout today, which included more than 50 participants, was a definite success.
“We hope it keeps the teachers that actually appreciate us. We appreciate them," said student Dani Hageny.
ACROSS THE U.S. - A new proposal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would expand regulation on tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, not regulated already by the agency.
The proposal, which was released Thursday, would regulate hookahs, nicotine gels, cigars and e-cigarettes. The FDA currently only regulates cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.
Some smokers turn to e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking. Medical experts don’t know the full health impact of e-cigarettes yet. Leaders at the FDA want to get ahead of the trend.
The proposal would make e-cigarette producers register their products and show their ingredients to the agency.
RHINELANDER - It won't be much longer before the Hodag water show gears up for the summer, but right now they need to make repairs to their building. Rod Olson says it may cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to make repairs to the building. To watch the video click on the video link.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Railroads give businesses a chance to move loads of material for a low cost. Loggers could use rail as an alternative to trucking material, but many businesses don’t get that opportunity in the Northwoods anymore.
Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.
Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.
In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Drug addicts can look nearly everywhere to get their fix, and sometimes they can get that by raiding their family's medicine cabinet.
That's why Lac du Flambeau police gave a drug presentation at an event for the elderly Thursday.
Police leaders wanted to show seniors what could happen if they didn't keep track of their medications.
"A lot of times the elderly and older population can be victims from this. As the younger children, grandchildren, things like that are you know coming in and taking their grandparents prescription drugs," says Sarah Keuer, a nurse at Peter Christensen Health Center.
MADISON - The start of a new short-term loan program that wasn't slated to begin until July has been moved up in an effort to help businesses hurt by recent cutbacks at Oshkosh Corp.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state's chief jobs agency, voted this week to start the pilot program earlier. It will provide loans or loan guarantees of up to $250,000 to companies for projects or expenses that may not be eligible for traditional financing.
The board says it was starting the program earlier in light of news that Oshkosh was cutting 760 jobs from its defense division because of budget cuts being made by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The loan program this year will only target businesses in Oshkosh Corp.'s supply chain
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