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One Thumb Up, Two Thumbs Down to Northwoods School ReferendaSubmitted: 04/03/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


NORTHWOODS - Two school districts in the Northwoods may be facing tough times after failed spending referendum votes Tuesday.

But one district is feeling good about its financial prospects.

Close votes left school administrators in the three districts nervous until final results were tallied late Tuesday night.

The School District of Phillips wanted $650,000 each year for the next five years.

Voters rejected the referendum by just seven votes.

A few absentee ballots are still out in Phillips.

The tally will probably go to a recount.

"No matter what happens with a recount, if that happens, we do know that we have a split community on the issue. I think that's something we need to respect," says Phillips Superintendent Wally Leipart.

If that result stands, Phillips will need to cut an extra half-million dollars from their school budget.

Voters in the Wabeno area also refused to pay more on their property taxes.

They rejected their referendum by 34 votes.

"I was a little bit surprised. I had anticipated that it was going to be a very close vote, but I was hopeful that it would have gone in the right direction. I wasn't shocked, but I was surprised," says Wabeno Area Superintendent Dr. Kim Odekirk.

Wabeno will go to referendum again next year.

If that fails, the district will likely close.

One school district in the Northwoods got good funding news.

Voters in Elcho approved an extra $400,000 a year for four years.

"Our goal was to get the information out to the voters on what the district needs were. Ultimately, we trust in their judgement," says Bill Fisher, Elcho's Superintendent.

The money will allow Elcho to continue its academic and community programs at their current level.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

ST. GERMAIN - A school bus doesn't feature a lot of amenities. Seats, windows, and that's about it. But a company out of St. Germain thinks buses, and other big vehicles, make the perfect kitchens.

Caged Crow Fabrication is owned by Josh Romaker. He moved to the Northwoods about three years ago. Around the same time a woman in Madison approached him to help refurbish an old camper. He decided to make it into a food truck instead.

"We took on the challenge and that first build was featured on US Today and some magazines and our phone just started ringing. We've got them in Denver, Salt Lake City, New Jersey," said Romaker.

That was just the beginning for Romaker's company, Caged Crow Fabrication in St. Germain. They now specialize in food trucks of all kinds.

"If a customer wants a food truck that looks like a barn or a steam train or a school bus conversion, we really stick to the unique food truck builds," said Romaker.

The 1982 bus that Caged Crow Fabrication is working on now will be complete in a little over a month. The team made up of just a few workers has one rule- they never build the same thing twice. And they take their time.

"We have a sign on the wall here that says 'quality over quantity'. I think our reputation right now is really based on the attention to detail and I think we want to keep that up," said Romaker.


If you're interested in checking out more work from Caged Crow Fabrication, follow the link below.

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MARATHON COUNTY - The suspect in a Wisconsin shooting spree that left four people dead has been identified, and court records show one of the victims was his wife's divorce lawyer.

A person close to the investigation identified the suspect Friday as 45-year old Nengmy Vang. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak ahead of authorities officially identifying Vang.

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WAUSAU - The husband of one of four victims killed in Wednesday afternoon's shooting string wants people to focus on love, respect, and hope.

Sarah Quirt Sann, 43, died after a gunman shot her at the Tlusty, Kennedy, and Dirks law firm in Schofield.

Thursday, her husband, Scott Sann, posted a statement on Facebook thanking people for their support and encouraged people to make educated and mature statements about the shootings.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 03/24/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We take you live to Weston and bring you a conversation with a neighbor of Nengmy Vang, the suspect of Wednesday's shooting in the Wausau area that took the life of an officer and 3 other people.

Investigators say Wednesday's shooting started with a domestic incident between Vang and his wife. We'll bring you observations from a domestic abuse advocate and a family law attorney.

And the arguments are done and the case is in the jury for the trial for Kristopher Torgerson, the Wausau man who is accused of killing Stephanie Low and burying her body in Forest County. We'll take you live to Wausau and talk about where the case goes from here.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department changed its lights from white to blue on Thursday.

In honor of the police officer that died in Wednesday's shooting in Wausau.

Detective Jason Weiland served the Everest Metro Police Department for 15 years.

His death hit home for local men and women in uniform.

"We always talk about the active shooters and all that kind of stuff happens in a big city and it's never going to happen here. Now we have one in Wausau, we are fully prepared that at some point of time in the future it could happen in our community or our response area," said Merrill Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Drury.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - It takes a lot of training to become a wildland firefighter, but 26 people in Lac du Flambeau are well on their way.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs- Great Lakes Agency offered a five-day course on Wildland Fire Training this week.

Many of the participants hope to make a career out of it.

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RHINELANDER - Father Randy Knauf thought about history as he walked the aisles of a church he once went to as a boy, knowing soon this church down to the very pew he once sat in... Will completely change.

"It's a 'starting again,'" Knauf said.

Knauf took over as pastor at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Rhinelander last year. He's helped lead a multi-million dollar redesign of St. Mary's church's 55-year-old worship space.

"We expect to be a little tight this summer, but it's worth it in the long run," Knauf said.

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