RHINELANDER - A hallmark of summer has returned to Rhinelander. The Hodag Water show opened tonight for its 42nd year.
Despite somewhat chilly waters on Boom lake the performers dove in to unveil new routines and daring moves
"From jumping to wakeboarding, a little bit of barefooting, larger group acts, pyramids and doubles. Glory on the water basically...Water shows are free, we appreciate all donations, we ski for the applause, appreciate anybody that comes down," said Kyle McLaughlin, Hodag Water Show President.
The Hodag Water Show is a non-profit group that puts on shows every Wednesday and Sunday near Boom Lake's public beach.
It's free to watch, but they always welcome donations. All proceeds go toward gas, and boat maintenance to keep the shows running.
Shows start at 7:30 pm and usually run through August.
The Hodag skiiers are also welcoming any new members that would like to join. They welcome both veteran and new water skiers. Call Ashley at 715-550-0177 or visit with the team during one of the shows if you’d like to join.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - In Vilas County the courts have a new option for treating drug and alcohol offenders, instead of putting them behind bars.
Today the new Wellness Court was named in Lac du Flambeau. Circuit court judge Neal Neilsen and Tribal Court Judge Gary Smith will work together to help those involved with drugs and alcohol get the treatment they need.
"A traditional court would, more than likely sentence the person to jail or prison, and we've seen studies where that just doesn't work anymore. We need to get creative," said Lac du Flambeau Tribal Chief Judge, Gary Smith.
RHINELANDER - State budgeting can sound like a dry topic. For many people, and even elected officials, it is.
But when a state budget impacts your child's school directly, people tend to pay attention.
Some people in Rhinelander think Wisconsin is not giving its fair share to districts in northern Wisconsin. They met in town tonight to talk about it.
Staff and parents in the School District of Rhinelander want to make sure state officials know just how much they're hurting. They met tonight to hammer that point home.
"Because there are fewer of us in northern Wisconsin than in the big cities, we're going to have to be louder," says Kelli Jacobi, District Director of Instruction, and future Superintendent.
Rhinelander voters passed a $3 million referendum in February. That meant the district could raise more money from property taxes. But it doesn't fix a bigger problem - how much money the district gets from the state.
"There's a huge discrepancy in terms of the school funding formula because it's based on property values and has nothing to do with income," says Marta Kwiatkowski, District Director of Business Services.
That creates an odd situation. Rhinelander is considered a high property value district. That means it doesn't get a whole lot of financial help from the state government. At the same time, it's a high poverty district too.
"If you look at the income, our income is approximately $35,000 on average, where state average is $52,000," says Kwiatkowski.
The wide difference between property values and actual family incomes in Rhinelander creates a challenge. It's been that way for years - since the state Legislature set up school funding rules.
"It's kind of a situation that wasn't taken into account when the current school funding formula was established," says Jacobi.
Now, the only thing school districts like Rhinelander can do is push hard for their state legislators to help them financially.
"We say, hey, what are you going to do for us? We did it for you because we voted you into office. If we don't like (what you're doing), we're going to find somebody that we will like and vote them in," says Brian Carpenter, a parent and middle school teacher.
A temporary fix could be a plan by Senate Republicans Mike Ellis and Luther Olson. They suggest raising the amount of funding devoted to each student by $200 over Governor Walker's budget proposal. Rhinelander leaders strongly support that plan.
"We let people know what our concerns are, what our problems are, and that we need help," says Jacobi.
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