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NEWS STORIES

Rural Schools Task Force holds first public hearingSubmitted: 10/23/2013

RHINELANDER - Rural schools face different challenges than schools in suburbs and cities. State legislators say they want to understand what those challenges are, and how they might help.

Local state representative Rob Swearingen chairs the Rural Schools Task Force. Eleven other representatives make up the task force.

Their goal is to create legislation that will help rural schools. Today, the task force listened to superintendents from four local districts.

Their overwhelming message: the school funding formula needs to change. Most Northwoods districts get less state aid because they have high property values.

"It doesn't take into account the ability of our taxpayers to help with the funding of schools," said Kelli Jacobi, superintendent of the School District of Rhinelander. "As our state aid goes down, our taxpayers are expected to pay more, and our taxpayers can't afford to do that."

Swearingen says he hopes house speaker Robin Vos will listen to that. But the funding formula wasn't the purpose of the task force, and it won't be the focus.

"The focus of this group is to make sure the school districts are using the money they have more effectively, so that's part of the discussion. Clearly, the state doesn't have money to just throw at the districts," Swearingen said. "But if we can transfer some of this into categorical aid, something that specifically relates to these rural school problems, maybe we can address some of those financial issues."

Categorical aid could apply to costs like transportation. Three of the four superintendents who spoke today said that would be a big help.

Their districts are geographically large, so they spend huge amounts of money getting kids to and from school. Northland Pines spends $1.3 million every year. Rhinelander spends $1.5 million.

Story By: Lex Gray

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Youth Fair gives kids an opportunity to display projects, win awardsSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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ANTIGO - Kids will get the chance to show off their projects at the Langlade County Youth Fair starting Wednesday. The fair gives kids the chance to win awards for a lot of different things.

Langlade County is one of only a few counties in Wisconsin that give kids such a big role at a fair.

Kids work on the projects for months. Fair organizers think it's important to recognize them for their hard work.

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Art competition winners announced Tuesday nightSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Artists found out who won the Northern National Art Competition Tuesday night.

Artists from across the country submitted artwork to the art competition held at Nicolet College in Rhinelander this year.

Organizers expect about 200 people at the reception.

Some of the artists that submitted work will be at Nicolet.

The artists competed for $8,500 in prize money.

The entries come from all over the country, but there is art from the Northwoods on display.

Artists from Rhinelander, Antigo and Lake Tomahawk have work in the show.

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Trek Bicycles defends ad - GOP files complaintSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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MADISON -
A spokeswoman for Trek Bicycles says its full page newspaper advertisement complies with Wisconsin law and is constitutionally protected free speech.

The Wisconsin Republican Party on Tuesday filed a complaint with the state elections board saying the ad that ran Sunday in Madison and Milwaukee newspapers was an illegal campaign contribution to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke.

Her father started Trek and she formerly worked for the company.

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Downed power line starts small fire near RhinelanderSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Gusty winds forced a domino effect that caused a small fire south of Rhinelander Tuesday morning.

Winds blew over a tree, which sent a power line to the ground.

The electrical current started the fire.

It happened just before 11:00 on Hat Rapids Road near Highway 17.

Firefighters were glad the land nearby wasn't too dry with drought.

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Wisconsin & Northwoods see home sales grow in June Submitted: 07/22/2014

ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Home sales across Wisconsin are up for the first time in 2014 compared to previous year statistics recorded by the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

A strong June for home sales could hint at good news for the rest of the year. Home sales statewide were up more than four percent compared to June 2013.

More than 600 homes were sold in Northern Wisconsin last month. Realtors like Bonnie Byrnes, Headwaters Real Estate, deal with water-front property in the Manitowish Waters area. She credits the second home market for some of the boost in northern numbers

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Laona man faces meth chargesSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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FOREST COUNTY - Prosecutors believe a Forest County man made meth and had other people buy ingredients for him.

36-year-old Shandon Tallier of Laona faces four felony charges.

Police became suspicious when Tallier bought ephedrine or pseudophedrine more than 50 times during the last year. Those are drugs commonly used to make meth.

Tallier was also blocked from buying the drugs more than 20 times in the last year. That's because he already bought more than the federal limit allows in a 30 day period.

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College board looking for new-member for Board of Trustees Submitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - The Nicolet College Board of Trustees hopes to fill an open seat.

State guidelines mean only a certain candidate can apply for fairness and equal representation.

Criteria for the open seat are that candidates must be female, considered a minority, reside in Oneida County or the portion of Langlade County in the Nicolet District, and meet the definition of an employee.

The new trustee will serve a term that expires June 30, 2015.

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