NEWS STORIES

Bill wants school districts to pick start dateSubmitted: 09/13/2013

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RHINELANDER - September means the start of school for kids in the Northwoods.

State law requires schools to start after Labor Day. But some state legislators think school districts should pick the start day.

Crandon Elementary Principal Jamee Belland believes it would give her district more flexibility.

“I think in this area we would maybe move the start day up a little bit,” Belland said.


The law, along with snow days, usually pushes the school year well into June. An earlier start would fix that. Belland thinks it would also help students prepare for state required tests.

"The PALS test already starts on Monday," Belland said. "First grade has to give that test and then within another week kindergarten and the other grades fall in line, so it's early to be testing to where maybe a few more weeks would give us ample time.”

But tourist based businesses worry they would lose teenage workers during the busiest part of the season. Republican State Rep. Rob Swearingen also owns a dinner club outside of Rhinelander. He thinks a change would hurt businesses.

“We really only have that eight weeks to make hay," Swearingen said. "So when you take that second or third week potentially out of our workforce it really is a struggle.”

Republican Sen. Jim Ott introduced the bill. He believes it won’t hurt tourism because elected school boards would make the changes.

“Changing the law would not require that schools to start before September 1st," Ott said. "It would just simply give the local school board the right to start whenever they wanted to.”

But many business would rather have their workers in late August than early June. Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lara Reed fears tourists might not be around if a cold spring stretches into summer.

“Weather and never knowing, that thought kind of makes you a little nervous to think about shifting it that direction,” Reed said.

The bill sits in the Wisconsin State Assembly Tourism Committee. Many businesses hope it goes no further than that.



Story By: Adam Fox

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Correction: Northwoods man initially charged with attempted homicide, takes plea deal Submitted: 04/23/2014

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - We want to correct a mistake we made in our Newscasts at ten last night and again this morning.

The story was about 31-year old James Peterson of Lac du Flambeau, who accepted a plea deal.

We wrongly said he had originally been charged with first degree intentional homicide.

He actually had been charged with attempted first degree intentional homicide, and was convicted of reduced charges.

We apologize for that error.

Witnesses told police Peterson showed up to a party with a knife and drunkenly started a fight.

Other witnesses say Peterson was attacked.

This week he accepted a plea deal.

Peterson pleaded no contest to hurting someone by carelessly using a weapon.

He was also found guilty of a second O-W-I.

Peterson will find out his sentence in August.

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Sen. Tammy Baldwin ttalking politics at Marquette University Submitted: 04/23/2014

MILWAUKEE - Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is scheduled to talk politics during an hour-long forum at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Baldwin's office says she'll discuss health care reform, immigration, minimum wage and Washington's political divide at Wednesday's event.

The 52-year-old was elected to the Senate in 2012. She previously spent 14 years in Congress, and before that was in the state Assembly for six years.

She serves on the Senate's budget committee, as well as committees involving homeland security, health, aging and natural resources.

A Marquette Law School poll last month said her favorable and unfavorable ratings were both 35 percent. Another 27 percent said they didn't know enough about her to form an opinion.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Trost aide: Walker to sign police billSubmitted: 04/22/2014

MADISON - An aide to a Wisconsin lawmaker says Gov. Scott Walker intends to sign a bill that would put outside agencies in charge of investigating officer-involved deaths.

Craig Trost, an aide to Rep. Chris Taylor, says in an email that Walker's office notified Taylor's office that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday.

Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, developed the legislation in response to three high-profile deaths in the last 10 years. None of those incidents resulted in criminal charges.

Supporters say the new requirements will counter claims that police protect their own from consequences of using deadly force. But police observers say the bill could create conflict and confusion for Wisconsin agencies that have traditionally done the investigations themselves.

The bill passed the Legislature earlier this year.

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2 fined for mistreating dairy cowsSubmitted: 04/22/2014

GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.

Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.

Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.

Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.

Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.

A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.

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Duffy calls out veterans disability claims backlog, teams with congressional delegation to defend Milwaukee officeSubmitted: 04/22/2014

WISCONSIN - More than 350,000 American veterans have been waiting months or even years to get their disability benefits.

That backlog includes about 3,500 veterans under the umbrella of the Milwaukee Regional Office, which serves Wisconsin veterans.

The backlog is because of massive case of laggard claims processing across the nation.

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Father facing charges connected to false cancer claims from daughterSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MERRILL - A Merrill man will face charges in connection to his daughter’s false cancer claim.

Police believe 57-year-old Edmund Winchell took advantage of businesses by asking for donations and putting out collection containers at their stores.

His daughter 19-year-old Celina Winchell posted statuses on Facebook late last year saying she had cancer.

A pizzeria employee in Wausau saw the post and offered to put a donation jar at the store. The problem is Winchell never had cancer. She faces two charges in Marathon County.

Her father Edmund Winchell now faces 18 charges including obstructing an officer and false representation.

The criminal complaint shows the family was having financial problems.

Edmund Winchell will be back in court in May.

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Oneida County Sheriff announces bid for general electionSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Sheriff Grady Hartman wants to keep his job for another four years.

The Oneida County Sheriff announced Monday he will run in the general election.

Governor Scott Walker appointed Hartman to the position in January 2013 when former Sheriff Jeff Hoffman retired.

Hartman has served in the Oneida County Sheriff's office for 15 years.

He was promoted to Sergeant in 2006.

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