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NEWS STORIES

Rural Schools Task Force recommendations expected by AprilSubmitted: 03/09/2014

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RHINELANDER - Superintendents at rural schools face challenges like growing poverty, declining enrollment, and high transportation costs.

The State Assembly formed the Rural Schools Task Force to find ways to help.

12 members of the State Assembly make up the task force.

They've traveled to schools around the state for the last six months.

They made two stops in the Northwoods.

The task force turned to superintendents, business leaders, and other community members to learn more about the challenges the schools and communities face.

The state did increase funding for schools in their most recent
budget.

But some rural school superintendents said the $150 per student budget increase this year wasn't enough.

They want the state's funding formula to change.

"Initially when we brought the task force together, the task force was charged to find solutions that didn't necessarily - weren't fiscal. And so what we found is these school districts are doing the best they can with the money they have. And unfortunately, a lot of these solutions will be fiscal. And so that could potentially be pointing to the next budget cycle," said Republican Rep. Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander, the Rural Schools Task Force Chair.

He says high transportation costs, poor broadband service, declining enrollment and lower teacher retention rates will most likely be addressed in the recommendations.

"The report is going to be generated hopefully here in the next week or so by legislative council. And then the task force will get a chance to look at the report and give our final recommendations to Speaker Vos."

The report is expected to come out at the end of this month or the beginning of April.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Summer temperatures impact local toy salesSubmitted: 07/25/2014

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RHINELANDER AND MINOCQUA - Summer gets us outside playing games on the lake or in the yard, but with cooler temperatures this year, trips to the lake may not be as popular.

That impacts certain businesses in a good way. Imaginuity toys stores in Minocqua and Rhinelander have noticed a difference in the toys they've sold this summer.

"We're definitely getting a lot more traffic with the cooler temperatures. A lot more people in the door, which we're loving. We are seeing a lot more people buying more project based items. They're buying a lot of the active play but not so much the water active," said Jessica Hatch, Store Manager.

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UPDATE: Man suffering from depression before killing himself after shootout & car chase Submitted: 07/25/2014

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MARINETTE COUNTY - The Marinette County Sheriff's Office believes the man who killed himself after a police chase Thursday was dealing with depression. He had also recently become agitated.

Robb DeGroot, 43, of Green Bay shot at Police during a car chase Tuesday.

Police lost sight of DeGroot's GMC Yukon in the Town of Goodman. Deputies later found him dead next to his car in the woods near Goodman.

Police had originally reported that the suspect was a 35-year-old man driving a Chevy Tahoe.

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Wounded Warriors softball team comes to townSubmitted: 07/25/2014

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - People in Lake Tomahawk could watch a special game of snowshoe baseball Friday.

The Wounded Warrior softball team was in town to compete against the Snowhawks. Lake Tomahawk raised more than $40,000 to bring the team to town.

Fans came from all over to cheer on both teams. They say it's quite the experience.

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Burke releases rural jobs plan, focuses on schools, health & growthSubmitted: 07/25/2014

ACROSS WISCONSIN - A new job plan from Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke focuses on her economic objectives with rural Wisconsin.

Many parts of Wisconsin's rural areas, like the Northwoods, lags behind the rest of the state economically; for example, five of the ten Wisconsin counties with the worst unemployment rate in the state are in the rural portions of the Northwoods, according to June unemployment numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Her focus is on growing the rural economy, boosting healthcare and improving schools.

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Langlade County fish farm highlights Wisconsin aquacultureSubmitted: 07/25/2014

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ELTON - An afternoon of fishing might be your way of relaxing on a hot summer day.

But for brothers Terry and Tim Winkle, it's business, and their entire world revolves around fish.

Three generations of Winkel family have worked the ponds at Silver Moon Springs.

Brothers Tim and Terry took over the property in 1977.

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More than 50 boats featured in weekend boat showSubmitted: 07/25/2014

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MINOCQUA - Many people enjoy boating during the summer months.

This weekend you can check out the beauty and workmanship of antique boats in Minocqua. More than 50 boats will be on hand for the 22nd Antique and Classic Wooden Boat Show. The event is free to the public and features classics from the early 1920's to the 1960's. It will kick off tonight with a boat parade before the Min-Aqua Bat waterski show... and continues all weekend on the docks of The Boathouse Restaurant.

Boat owners and the public get together to share their love and stories of these antique beauties.

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Wisconsin named #1 in cranberry production; Northwoods farm contributes to keeping title Submitted: 07/25/2014

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WISCONSIN/THREE LAKES - Wisconsin continues to be the best state nationwide when it comes to producing cranberries. One Northwoods farm is preparing to make this year even better.

James Lake Farms in Three Lakes harvested close to 8,000 barrels last year. They hope to meet those expectations this year.

Right now they are in the growing season. The assistant manager believes Wisconsin is a natural environment for growing cranberries.

"It's fairly consistent as compared to somewhere out on the coast where most of the other cranberries are grown. I think a lot of those things combined help make it a good place to grow," said James Lake Farms Assistant Manager Benjamin Riker.

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