PHILLIPS - A Northwoods school leader will make a big leap this summer to a larger community.
Phillips Superintendent Wally Leipart accepted the open Merrill Area Public Schools superintendent job.
He expects to sign a contract with Merrill by February 25th. He'll replace interim superintendent Don Stevens.
Leipart is excited for the move, but knows Phillips helped him develop into the leader he is.
"They gave me the opportunity to take on a leadership role at a district level, and I'm very grateful for that opportunity and theres a lot of great people that I'm going to miss here, and I wish them the very best," Leipart said.
Leipart joins a Merrill School District with funding problems similar to Phillips.
This year, the Price County district is asking voters for an additional $650,000 a year.
Merrill voters rejected a multi-million dollar referendum in 2009. Leipart knows he'll need a plan from day one.
"Make sure people understand the value of investment that they are making in education and just being open with them and answering questions," Leipart said. "Develop relationships built within the community and the students and staff and just bring everybody together and talk about what's good for education and what's good for the community of Merrill."
Leipart's last day with Phillips will be June 30th.
RHINELANDER - We expect trees on our property to suffer when it gets very dry, but for tree health, drought severity may not be as important as another factor. Researchers for the U.S. Forest Service have been studying the impacts of drought on trees across the Midwest, including the Northwoods. One ecologist at the Northern Research Station in Rhinelander found surprising results.
"It was the length of drought that was more important than determining the severity," explained Northern Research Station Ecologist Dr. Eric Gustafson. "Trees have the ability to survive droughts by drawing on their energy reserves, and when the drought is long, those energy reserves get depleted."
MINOCQUA - Too many times, Minocqua-area fishing guide Greg Bohn has heard the stories of tragedy.
A parent on Wisconsin waters jumps in to try to rescue their child, who is in the water without a life jacket. But the parent, also not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD), drowns, even if the child survives.
It happened in July on Shawano Lake in Shawano County, and on Minocqua Lake a few years ago.
"Accidents can happen in seconds, and there's total chaos and emergency," Bohn says while touring Minocqua Lake on his fishing boat.
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