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.
MERRILL - Merrill police officers saved three people from heart attacks in the last two years. Their defibrillators, or AEDs, certainly came in handy. But the units were more than 15 years old and there weren't enough for all officers.
Now, the Merrill Police Department has new ones. Officer Robert Caylor applied for a grant last fall. The B.A. and Esther Greenheck Foundation approved the grant and sent the police department a check for more than $17,000 in January.
Chief Ken Neff says they were able to buy eight new AED units with the grant money.
NORTHWOODS - Jordan Gaiche's lifelong dream has always been to be a cop.
"That passion has evolved over time from of course every little boy's dream of the cool car and the badge and the uniform and all those things to wanting to play a bigger role in my community and make a difference," said Gaiche.
He is one of three new officers who were sworn into the Wausau Police Department last week. Nowadays, Gaiche is unique in his career aspirations. Fewer young people want to become police officers than in years past.
ELTON - Most people enjoy taking their dogs out for walks. But Beth and Ken Castaldi prefer exercising their many dogs a little more competitively. For them, "Snow-Time" is really show time. It's all going to the dogs…At least that's what Beth and Ken Castaldi believe. Beth has been racing dogs for four decades, something she's just dog-gone crazy about. "Oh the dogs! Absolutely the dogs. I'm the type of person who loves working with puppies," says Beth. Beth says it's more of a dog teach dog world. "The older dogs are so important because they train the younger dogs. They can teach them a whole lot faster than we do," Beth explains. But Beth and Ken aren't the first mushers to ride in Langlade County, the history dates back to the 40s. "A mail route was established between the Shawano area and it went north into… I believe Green Bay and even further… and they actually used dog sled teams to deliver the mail," said Beth. Beth and Ken want to share their passion with the community, even if you don't have a dog. "We have members that do sprint racing with their sled dog team. We have long-distance or mid-distance racers …we have members who don't even have dogs," exclaimed Beth.
RHINELANDER - Catching a cold or the flu might top your list when you think of winter health problems, but your feet can cause some pretty serious health issues if you don't know what to watch out for.
Dr. Jeff Chism at Advanced Foot and Ankle Center in Rhinelander says the number one problem this time of year is overdoing outdoor winter sports, not frostbite.
It doesn't matter if you snowshoe or cross country ski, Dr. Chism says doing too much, too soon can cause harm.
"They really aren't ready for that and their feet aren't ready for that. They get blisters. They get tendonitis. They get those kinds of problems. The slower they go into it and try to work into it, the better it is for them," said Dr. Chism.
EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines School District will be getting some new students from far outside the Northwoods next fall. The district has joined the Wisconsin International Student Program (WISP) in partnership with Nicolet College and the University of Wisconsin System.
Over the course of the three year WISP program, international sophomore students would need to pass a GED test their first year.
RHINELANDER - Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch (R) made a stop in Rhinelander today. She announced that Nicolet College was one of 11 organizations in Wisconsin to receive grant money for entrepreneurship programs.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) granted nearly $500,000 across the state. The money will be used to expand and create entrepreneurial programs.
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