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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
Caseload motivates Vilas County judge to ask for another judge in countySubmitted: 07/29/2014

EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County Judge Neal Nielsen sometimes feels rushed while in the courtroom.

The large number of cases he needs to hear requires the court calendar to keep moving.

That number of cases has steadily increased over the last several years.

That's why Nielsen is pushing for a second judge in Vilas County.

"Judge need" is measured by a statistic called weighted case load.

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Police happy with K9's success, raising money for future K9 UnitSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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MERRILL - People who try to hide drugs in their cars don't stand a chance against Eros. He's the Merrill Police Department's new K9.

In the few months that he's been on the job, he's helped officers find a lot of drugs.

Merrill's Police Chief is so happy with Eros' work, he wants to make sure the department will always have a K9 unit. But the costs of getting and training a new K9 are expensive. That's why the Merrill Police Department is already raising money for the future.

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Wabeno man pleads guilty to hurting toddler, could face future chargesSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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CRANDON - A Northwoods boy will never walk or talk again. That's because Brandon Brunette threw the boy across a room.

Brunette pled guilty to one felony for child abuse in Forest County court Tuesday. He could spend as many as 40 years in prison.

Brunette was originally charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor. The other charges were dropped, as part of a plea deal.

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Homeless shelter making progress in Lincoln CountySubmitted: 07/29/2014

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TOMAHAWK - You could learn more about a proposed Northwoods homeless shelter this weekend.

Volunteers in Lincoln County are working on the county's first homeless shelter. Three Rivers United Temporary Housing, or TRUTH, leased the house next to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Tomahawk.

They will be hosting an open house this Saturday from 4-6 P.M.

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Three Lakes business enjoying a successful first summer in businessSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods store offering a little bit of everything calls its first summer in business a success so far.

Three Lakes Mercantile and General Store opened up earlier this summer.

Every inch of the store is covered with something.

The store manager says that it's a "one stop shop" for anything you need.

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One person dead after being pulled from lakeSubmitted: 07/29/2014

WOODRUFF - Woodruff police want to know what happened to a person who died after ending up in the water.

The Woodruff Police Department was called to Indian Mounds boat landing about 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Two DNR rangers there had pulled an unconscious male from the lake.

Medical personnel at the scene told officers the victim had died, and the coroner was called.

An autopsy will be performed.

No name will be released until the victim is positively identified.


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Former Rhinelander teacher faces another charge for stealingSubmitted: 07/29/2014

RHINELANDER - The former Rhinelander High School teacher convicted of having and making THC and stealing from the school district faces another charge for stealing.

Joshua Juergens is charged with a felony for stealing from Ministry St. Mary's in Rhinelander.

According to the criminal complaint, Juergens went to urgent care because his back hurt. Juergen's girlfriend said that he was given painkillers at the hospital. She was in the exam room for part of the exam. Juergens was walking around touching the medical equipment. She told him to stop. After that Juergens told her he had questions for the nurse and told her to leave.

His girlfriend drove him home about a half hour later. When they both got home she said she saw the patient monitor and thermometer in a St. Mary's bag. That's when she brought the equipment back.

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