School of the Arts celebrates 50th anniversarySubmitted: 07/21/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson

RHINELANDER - Children may run out the door on the last day of school, but many adults can't wait to go back to school - even if it's just for a week.

"I come to the School of the Arts and I just get so inspired that I do most of my writing right after I leave again," says Shirley Babcock, a School of the Arts participant.

This is Shirley Babcock's sixth year at the School of the Arts.

She takes mostly writing classes.

After her first time at the school, she had her short story published.

Now, she's working on a novel.

"I really encourage people to go. I didn't think I could write. But I had a lot I wanted to say. And I was encouraged," she says.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of Rhinelander's School of the Arts.

The University of Wisconsin started the program in a number of communities.

But today, only the Rhinelander School of the Arts remains.

"Originally the concept was to take the resources of the University under the Wisconsin Idea, and bring it to the boundaries of the state. And so to come to a rural area, and find that they could bring writing and cultural events and opportunity to work with the folks that are living locally here," says School of the Arts Director Lynn Tarnoff.

James Williams Middle School hosts the program.

This year, students can choose from 59 classes clustered into 6 different tracks.

"We have art and folk art, culinary arts and nutrition, digital media, mind, body, spirit, performing arts including music, and some of our most well-known classes are in writing," Tarnoff adds.

This year's school of the Arts session opened Saturday and runs through Wednesday.

Students traveled from eight different states to attend the courses.

One couple even traveled from Austria.

Shirley Babcock understands why people would travel from far away.

"It gives us all a chance to really get to see what these experts, you know who are teaching, what they can do, what they can tell us, what they can teach us, and for the city, itself, it's wonderful because we have this influx of people," Babcock says.

Those people hope they can share ideas and inspire others.

Related Weblinks:
School of the Arts website

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WOOD COUNTY - We now know the names of the people involved in a Wood County Crash that killed two people Tuesday afternoon.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department says the cars crashed head-on along Highway 80 in the Town of Dexter around 3:30.

71-year-old Barbara Baldwin of New Lisbon was driving one of the cars, and died in the crash.

Her passenger, 74 year old Louise Hemenway of New Lisbon, also died.

Another passenger in the car, 72-year-old Dona Sharp, was hurt....as was the driver of the second car, 30-year-old Greg Kopelke of Wisconsin Rapids.

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TOMAH - The Tomah VA Medical Center will end a lease agreement for a shelter for homeless veterans.

The Veterans Assistance Foundation has operated the shelter for nearly 20 years.

Tomah VA spokesman Matthew Gowan says there have been more than 30 incidents involving shelter residents recently.

They include a suicide attempt, a drug overdose and criminal violations.

The center has given the foundation notice that it will end the lease in January.

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THREE LAKES - Baseball fans in Three Lakes watched the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the World Series on Tuesday night.

A few of those fans might live on Cy Williams Road, or down the street from Cy Williams Park. As they watched, they may have drawn the connection between that Northwoods man, Cy Williams, and the game they were watching on the field.

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce wants to push economic growth and work closer with businesses.
But to do that, the chamber needs a new director first.  That process is just starting.

The Chamber Board of Directors voted to fire executive director Bill Clow October 3rd.  Clow had only started last December.  Eric Britton has been serving as interim director since then.

Past president and current board member Brett Aylesworth says the chamber sent out a job description to all members this week, asking if anyone is interested.

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MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.

The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.

When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.

"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.

Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.

Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.

"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.

The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.

Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.

Call (715) 536-1207 for more information.

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EAGLE RIVER - A driver lost control of her car and crashed into the woods southwest of Eagle River late Wednesday afternoon.

It happened on County Highway D near its intersection with County Highway H. The driver was the only person in the car. She wasn't injured.

An Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy on scene couldn't yet say why she lost control of the car.

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MERRILL - A former Merrill choir teacher will be sentenced today for sexual assault.

Last month, 26 year old Chase Tonar plead no contest to sexual assault of a student by school staff in Lincoln County Court.

Tonar is accused of having sex with a student both while he was a teacher at Merrill High School and after he resigned last May.

Police arrested Tonar in July.

The Lincoln County District Attorney says he will ask for jail time, as well as sex offender reporting and counseling.

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