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
Roads to blame for 2 car crash in Minocqua Submitted: 04/15/2014

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MINOCQUA - People need to drive slow since roads are still icy. There was a two car crash at 8 a.m. Tuesday on Old Highway 70 in Minocqua. Two people were transported to Howard Young Medical Center. Police say road conditions were a factor.

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Another snowstorm headed our way hear what people thinkSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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RHINELANDER - We may want spring, but Mother Nature has other plans. Whether you like it or not more snow is on the way. We got people's reaction to the upcoming snowstorm. Click on the video link to watch.

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Police dispatchers honored for workSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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RHINELANDER - Police dispatchers don't know what the day will look like when they get to work.

Oneida County dispatchers respond to everything from downed power lines, fires and domestic disputes.

Dispatchers from around the country are being honored this week. National Public Safety Telecommunicators week is being held April 13-19.

“It just depends on what comes in. You know some days can start out pretty mellow. And just like that, it can be all chaos,” says Oneida County dispatcher Mary Goeldner.

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Rhinelander man who shot uncle pleads out, may avoid further punishmentSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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- A Rhinelander man admitted to shooting and injuring his uncle last August.

But now, he may get all charges dropped without further punishment.

Marcus Alsteens pleaded guilty to one felony charge Tuesday in Oneida County court.

In a deal, prosecutors dismissed three other charges, including attempted murder.

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"See Tracks, Think Train" campaign stresses caution near Wisconsin railroadsSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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TOMAHAWK - The number of crashes, injuries, and deaths on Wisconsin railroads shot up last year.

Many more drivers and walkers got hurt or killed with trains than in 2012.

Railroad safety leaders say people run into two major problems around tracks.

Some people are unsafe while at railroad crossings.

Others trespass onto or across tracks, using them as a path or shortcut.

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Bringing more art to the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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THREE LAKES - A local library wants to bring more art into a Northwoods community.

The Demmer Memorial Library is featuring M.C. Escher's artwork this week.

The exhibit is there to help the public celebrate national library week.

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Wisconsin silver alert bill helps save at-risk adults Submitted: 04/15/2014

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WISCONSIN - Six out of ten people with Alzheimers and dementia will wander off at some point.

That puts them at risk for injury or even death. And not all of those people are found quickly enough.

That's why Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill that will help find them quicker.

The Wisconsin Silver Alert bill will create a program that works like an Amber Alert for missing children.

An effective alert system is crucial to the Northwoods because of the growing aging population and severe winter weather.

For advocacy groups like the Alzheimer's Association, the new bill is a huge victory.

"Family caregivers of people who have Alzheimers, or another type of dementia are worried and concerned about whether or not their loved one might wander away from home," said Julie St. Pierre, an outreach specialist for the Alzheimer's Association in Rhinelander. "It's very important that those caregivers out there know that there are important resources that can help keep their loved ones safe in the home. The Silver Alert is certainly now a part of that safety net that we have in place."

The Alzheimer's Association was just one group that worked closely with the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network to get this bill passed.

A coordinator for the network believes this system will save lives.

"This bill really advances [us] one step forward in addressing the needs of an aging population. And that's extremely important in the Northwestern part of Wisconsin," said Joe Libowsky, coordinator for the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. "In the Rhinelander area, where you have fairly severe weather, it makes the urgency of getting out the alert as quickly as possible even more important."

The alert system will heavily involve all 500 law enforcement agencies in the state to respond to at-risk adults who are reported missing.

Wisconsin joins 30 other states with a silver alert system.


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