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District Officials React to Passed School Referendum Submitted: 02/20/2013
Story By Ryan Abney


NORTHWOODS - Yesterday, the Northwoods said "yes" to three school referendums. We talked to district leaders to see how they'll use the money going forward.

Referenda for Rhinelander, Three Lakes and Northland Pines passed last night. The vote secures millions of dollars for the districts.The Northland Pines School District asked for $2.7 million per year through 2016.

District Administrator Mike Richie is glad to see ballot numbers so one-sided.

"All nine townships in the city of Eagle River--they all voted in support of both questions. That's the first time in our school history where we had support from our entire district."

Rhinelander Superintendent Roger Erdahl has seen the district struggle financially for the past decade. He's thankful for his supporters--but knows even people who disagree will make the district better.

"Our critics are an important voice. We want them to be a part of our conversation, to be at the table as we design a school district that everyone can support."

Three Lakes also passed their school referendum. They will receive $2.34 million per year through 2018.


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AMHERST - The small town of Amherst recently broke ground to replace their aging dam.

The dam was built on the Tomorrow River decades ago for power to the local feed mill.

The Wisconsin DNR believes the structure does not meet it's 500 year flood criteria.

This designation gave the town residents a choice.

"The determination of the DNR that the dam had to meet the 500 year flood lead us to the idea that we had to be able to release more water. The DNR basically brought this to the forefront and the village responded then," says Amherst Village President Michael Juris

This close knit town of just over 1000 residents took the decision very seriously.

"The residents of the village really had the opportunity to speak on what they wanted the vision of their village to be for the future. Whether to maintain the dam and the pond or to take it out and rehab it," says Juris.

Residents chose to keep the dam and thus the millpond.

With the decision made, the bidding process moved quickly and work has just started.

The new improved structure will use parts of the current one.

"Basically the stop plug structure of the dam is going to remain as it is because we found that in order to meet the 500 year flood requirements of the DNR we're going to be able to use the water that flows through the generating station," states Juris.

There were many options on the table and some that were just too expensive.

"It's been our determination that to dredge the millpond would be an expense that the taxpayers of the village at this time aren't going to be able to shoulder," says Juris

Still, bracing the structure to meet the DNR's strict 500 year criteria does not come cheap.

"We spent a fair amount of time in discussion before this decision was made because this is an expensive decision for a community our size. The original estimate was around 1.2 million dollars," says Juris.

Work moves quickly in Amherst as a completion date is set for this September.

"We expect that the substantial completion will be towards the end of August and with final completion early in September," says Juris.

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MEQUON - Authorities say remains found in the Milwaukee River have been identified as those of a Mequon woman who disappeared in November.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office used dental records to identify 53-year-old Jacquelyn Ranallo.

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THREE LAKES - First responders handle different types of emergency calls every day. 

Those calls can be even more challenging if they involve someone who has autism.

A Northwoods group is encouraging local fire and police departments to train their staffs to help people who have autism.

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ST. GERMAIN - The unofficial start to the summer season in the Northwoods will come this Memorial Day weekend.

That means our lakes will be busy and piers will be in use.

Pier of d'Nort steps up to that demand.

The idea for Pier of d'Nort came to owner Carl Surges after he installed his parents' pier.

The business started in Hartford, Wisconsin, in the mid 2000s. Then it relocated a few years later to St. Germain.

Now Pier of d'Nort is swamped with orders this time of year.

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WAUSAU - North Central Health Care blames an "undetermined device failure" for the alarm and lock down in Wausau earlier this month.

A statement released Wednesday said the internal investigation ruled out human activation or remote activation of the emergency alarm.

Earlier this month, emergency crews locked down the hospital and surrounding area after a "Dr. Black" emergency was triggered. That alarm indicates a dangerous person with a weapon. After searching the facilities, no sign of an armed person was found anywhere in the hospital.

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RHINELANDER - You probably hear from your doctor or loved ones how important cancer screenings can be.

But getting one isn't always affordable if you don't have insurance or not enough coverage.

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