RHINELANDER - High school can feel like a world of its own, but today in Rhinelander, a few of those worlds came together.
Lakeland Union, Northland Pines and Rhinelander had their first ever "Northwoods Idea Exchange."
More than 50 student council members from the three schools got together at CAVOC school.
The summit was entirely student-driven.
"I think it's a really great way to step away from the stress of the day-to-day for kids, and also to network with other councils and realize that we're not on an island," said Allie Johnson, student council co-advisor at RHS. "We are all part of this Northwoods area, and we all have great ideas and we can share those ideas and build off them and really create some great bonds between the schools as well."
Student councils usually meet to exchange ideas at statewide and regional events.
But Lakeland Union student council president Jennifer Bauer said this event was more helpful because all three schools are small and rural.
"I think we're coming away with the new ideas we thought we would have, but I think we're also going to be coming away with a lot of new friends and a lot of new people we've met today," Bauer said.
"I hope the students brainstorm a lot of new, fun ideas, and take a lot of events from other schools back to their schools and councils and put them into action to just make their school and communities a better place," said RHS student council president Amber Toboyek.
Northland Pines will host next year's idea exchange.
WHITEWATER - Wisconsin has made the Peace Corps' Top 10 list for number of volunteers per capita.
Peace Corps volunteers spend two years working in a developing country. Tasks might include teaching English, digging wells and tending gardens.
According to rankings released Wednesday, for every 100,000 Wisconsin residents, 3.7 join the Peace Corps. That's ninth best in the nation, just behind Minnesota (3.8). Vermont is No. 1 at 7.8 volunteers per 100,000 residents.
Many of Wisconsin's volunteers come from the Whitewater area, which was ranked No. 10 in metro areas per capita.
President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. More than 215,000 Americans have served in 139 countries worldwide.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker's administration plans to schedule round table discussions around Wisconsin for people to discuss the state's tax code and propose changes.
Walker says he wants to lower the overall tax burden every year he is in office. The round tables are to discuss the state's tax structure, not any specific proposal.
Walker and the Republican Legislature this year passed a $650 million income tax cut and a $100 million property tax reduction.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Revenue Department Secretary Rick Chandler hosted the first tax reform round table discussion on Monday at Beloit College. Walker says more will be announced in coming weeks.
Help signing up for the affordable healthcare website
RHINELANDER - Most people can now successfully get through the online healthcare website. The Obama administration announced today about 365,000 people have successfully signed up.
That's well behind what the administration had hoped for at this point. Some people are still having trouble because the website isn't completely fixed. But the federal marketplace is paying some people to help.
Aylee Herr is a certified application counselor. He helps people navigate the healthcare.gov website. Today he was helping people sign up in Rhinelander.
In two months three workers in his office have only signed up 30 people in Northcentral Wisconsin.
"The number is actually going up and we are enrolling more people not just them but through our educational processes people are able to do this on their own, that's actually helping these numbers go up and the website is actually working a lot better now," says Aylee Herr, a Certified Application Counselor.
The website was designed to be at a sixth grade level. Before logging onto the site, it’s important to understand your family arrangement and household income.
“Once you get that number worked out the second step we want you to do is figure out what hospitals and doctors you prefer," says Herr. "Once you have those two in a way figured out its very easy for you to navigate the website."
The Obama administration and counselors like Herr will continue their enrollment push through the New Year. People enrolling by December 23rd can get coverage by the first of the year.
RHINELANDER - Logging means more to people in the Northwoods.
The industry helped many people form the towns we know today.
That's why the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is planning an event to honor the logging history.
The first annual Boom Lake Log Jam will be this summer.
The chamber hopes it can use the jam as an exciting way to honor Rhinelander's logging history.
Lara Reed, the executive director of the Chamber, is excited about the upcoming jam.
"We just have a very rich logging history. Even looking at the Hodag, he is our town mascot and he comes from the tradition of logging," said Reed. "Gene Shepard was a logger, and the name Hodag comes from the name that they was used for one of their pieces of logging equipment. It really is just the history, culture and heritage of our community."
The Boom Lake Log Jam will also bring local restaurants and businesses together.
"We'll also do some different activities during the day, one of the big things we're working on right now is our Boom Lake Burger Battle contest. We're going to have all the area restaurants. If you think you've got the best burger, we're going to have information to get that burger in our competition," said Reed.
Local logging businesses and paper mills will also be involved in the event.
Some of those business will bring machines that simulate logging and tree cutting.
The event is set for Saturday June 21, in Hodag Park.
RHINELANDER - The antler-less deer hunt season opens Thursday.
Local legislators wanted to cancel the four day hunting season, but the DNR says that can't happen.
It would take at least six months to get through the administrative process to cancel any hunting season.
The DNR wants hunters to have a chance to hunt game before the season ends.
Jeremy Holtz is a DNR wildlife biologist in Rhinelander.
"The December antler-less hunt would simply be giving hunters who didn't get to hunt the first weekend--because they had to work, or they were in another part of the state--to fill a tag they already have," said Holtz. "So the odds of it having a significantly negative impact on the herd from a population management standpoint, I would consider them pretty low."
Republicans Tom Tiffany, Rob Swearingen, and Mary Czaja disagree. They say last year's late winter and high number of predators hurt the deer.
Now, legislators believe this year's early winter weather will continue to hurt the herd.
"My office in Madison, Representative Mary Czaja from Tomahawk, and certainly Senator Tiffany, have been receiving a lot of comments from frustrated sportsman regarding the low harvest of the deer season this year," said Rob Swearingen, Wisconsin State Representative. "As well as with the natural predators out there, and the early on set of icy conditions, we're worried that all of this together is going to create the perfect storm and take it's toll on these deer."
In August, two deer management units over-issued about 350 antler-less deer permits.
The DNR says it got about 254 of those permits back.
Last year in Oneida County, 74 deer were shot during the antler-less deer season.
Antler-less deer hunting is open from December 12 through December 15.
RHINELANDER - Many older people in the Northwoods still love their paper-and-print books. The task of choosing between today's e-readers and tablets can seem daunting. But e-readers and tablets are creeping in as popular options too.
The Rhinelander Library held a class today to teach people about the different options for going mobile. Educating older people is especially helpful.
“If you're just interested in books people usually want to have an e-reader,” says Erica Brewster, Family Living Agent with Oneida County UW Extension. “If you're interested in doing a lot more maybe you want to watch Netflix movies or you want to be on the internet than you want to look at a tablet.”
Some of the popular tablets include the iPad and the Microsoft Surface. People interested in an e-reader might consider the Kindle or the Nook.
“We've gone from computers being something we have on a desk and we work with, to taking it for granted that we have a cell phone, we have a tablet, something that travels with us,” says Brewster. “So the mobile technology is the newest and greatest breaking trend really that we have is being able to carry our technology with us.”
E-readers are typically cheaper than tablets which can cost a few hundred dollars.
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