NEWS STORIES

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

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
Wisconsin DNR to hand out turkey certificatesSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials say they're going to hand out personalized certificates to successful first-time turkey hunters this year.

The Department of Natural Resources says hunters can fill out information about when and where they killed the bird as well as information on its weight and spur length on the agency's website. Hunters also can submit a photo of themselves with their turkeys.

The agency will send the certificates out electronically within a few weeks of receiving the information.

The certificate program will run during both the spring and fall hunts.

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It's time to start looking out for ticksSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - It may not feel like summer just yet, but it is time to start thinking about tick prevention.

The peak season for ticks is May through August but healthcare professionals suggest you be on the lookout as soon as the snow melts.

Last year, there were 153 reported cases of tick-borne illnesses in Oneida County alone.

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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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Raising awareness about alcohol useSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.

Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.

“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”

It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.

“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”

In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.

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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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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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Cooking for people with multiple, chronic health conditions Submitted: 04/22/2014

MINOCQUA - For people struggling with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease, cooking can be a challenge.

But being careful with how you cook doesn't mean your meal has to be bland.

One dietician teaches the "Cooking for Multiple Diseases" class at Nicolet College in Minocqua.

People taking her class need help finding the best recipes for their conditions.

"Maybe they have diabetes and their spouse has heart disease. Or other people in the family may have a different disease," said Mary Sikora-Petersen, a Registered dietician. "They want to know, how [to] cook a meal that's going to be for everybody in the family."

Petersen also stresses the importance of using healthier ingredients without losing flavor. One way to do that is by using seed-based seasonings and avoiding too much salt.

"[Add] flavors to food without adding salt. Certainly, salt adds flavor," said Petersen. "But there are other ways to add flavor, such as adding ground seasonings, adding fresh herbs to the foods."

Petersen also recommends using light olive oils and whole wheat products.





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