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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
Rock throwing case moves forward for one of the accusedSubmitted: 07/31/2014

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CRANDON - Prosecutors in Forest County accuse a group of four people of throwing rocks off of a bridge and damaging a car. Victims Wednesday described the sound like a bomb going off.

19-year-old Thomas Hines is one of four people facing charges for throwing rocks off of a Forest County bridge just after 3 a.m. June 3, 2014. The other three facing charges include 18 year-old Mariya Tuckwab, 20 year-old Ryan Kitchmaster, and 21-year-old Dillon Votis.

All four face multiple felony charges for recklessly endangering safety and criminal damage to property.

Prosecutors say those rocks hurt a woman inside of the car.

Hines was in court Wednesday for his preliminary hearing.

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Classic and antique boat showSubmitted: 07/30/2014

TOMAHAWK - The Tomahawk Classic Motor and Boat Show is a chance for people who love outboard motor boats to come together each year. The show is hosted by the Northwoods Chapter of the Antique Outboard Motor Association and is now celebrating the 35th anniversary of the show.

"A lot of these people have had them, because this is boating country up here," said Northwoods AOMCI President Bob Dalle Ave. "Even the younger ones will say my grandpa had a motor like that or my dad has a motor like that at home. So it's the motors that draw them in."

The show hosts swap meets, boat shows, boat parades, and boat cruises. Out of the more than 200 registered show boaters, many of them planned to do more than just display their boat.

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Possible changes for the Oneida County board Submitted: 07/30/2014

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Oneida County could get a county administrator in the future. The county is reaching out to other counties with an administrator for input.

The board wants to know how the change might help the county. They'll take input into consideration during an August meeting.

The idea stemmed from a former supervisor in March.

Committee members talked to counties, including Marathon, who already have county administrators.

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Yard maintenance being recognized in Rhinelander Submitted: 07/30/2014

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RHINELANDER - Summertime can mean a lot of yard work for homeowners. It's a time for people with green thumbs to show off their skills and to make flowers bloom.

A group in Rhinelander wants to recognize people and businesses for their exceptional yards.

Yard of the Month was introduced to Rhinelander by former city administrator Bill Bell. The community where he used to live had a similar program. So he approached Master Gardeners of the North to see if they would be willing to partner with the city.

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Wisconsin Valley Fair Continues to Showcase TraditionsSubmitted: 07/30/2014

WAUSAU - You can find tradition around every corner at the Wisconsin Valley Fair.

Some of those traditions keep vendors coming back.

First English Lutheran Church runs a food booth. 15 to 20 volunteers report to their stand every day.

They've served fair-goers homemade favorites for more than 90 years.

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More jail time for man accused of stashing meth in courtroomSubmitted: 07/30/2014

RHINELANDER - Oneida County prosecutors couldn't believe how stupid a Tomahawk man was to try and pull a stunt while in court in April.

They say 30-year-old Kurtis Cline tried to stash a bag of meth under his seat cushion in court.

Now, Cline will be punished on those charges.

Cline is already serving a six-month jail sentence for theft.

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Man hit by own boat in Vilas County Submitted: 07/30/2014

CONOVER - We don't know the name or the condition of a man in a boating accident. He got hit by his own boat. He was airlifted to a Wausau hospital after a boating accident in Vilas County Wednesday, according to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office.

They say the man was in Upper Buckatabon Lake in Conover Wednesday. They believe he was hit by his own boat a little before 4 p.m.

The man was rescued from the water and CPR was immediately performed. He was flown to Wausau Aspirus Hospital.

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