ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - New funding numbers released by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction released Tuesday show most schools in the Northwoods will see a reduction in state funding for the 2014-15 school year.
School districts in Rhinelander, Wabeno, Minocqua, Mercer, Phelps, White Lake, Elcho, Tomahawk and Three Lakes will lose more than 15 percent of their state funding compared to 2013-14 funding.
The school districts in Hurley, Laona, Butternut, Lac Du Flambeau and Prentice will see more funding.
Rural schools specifically struggle with shrinking enrollment and high transportation costs.
During a campaign stop Wednesday in Rhinelander, Gov. Scott Walker (R) said his reforms have given schools more flexibility.
"I think again, allowing to continually allow reforms to be used at the school district level overall will help school districts save on things like bidding out their health insurance and other changes have seen significant gains," Walker said.
Walker's critics argue he cut billions in school aid in 2011, more than 225 Wisconsin School districts will see increases in funding for the 2014-15 school year; 197 school districts will see reductions.
Leaders hope proposals from the Rural School Task force will help fix funding issues for schools in the Northwoods. The task force of bipartisan lawmakers toured the state interviewing district heads to learn how legislators could help.
"In the last budget, we included a significant increase for transportation aids for those very school districts," Walker said. "We'll be looking to do even more of that working with people like Representative (Rob) Swearingen and Senator (Tom) Tiffany and others in the next budget."
The legislature will take those proposals up during next year's session.
Walker was touring multiple areas across northern and central Wisconsin, Wednesday. He spoke to more than 250 people at a campaign event hosted by the Oneida County Republican Party.
For a full list of the DPI report, click the link below.
APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.
The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.
The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.
Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."
WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.
Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.
A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.
MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.
Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.
The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.
TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.
The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.
The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.
Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.
Several Tomah VA officials — including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan — have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.
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