Northwoods schools land 8 grants on statewide "Fab Lab Day"Submitted: 04/25/2017
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Northwoods schools land 8 grants on statewide
EAGLE RIVER - Carter Heller considers one room in his high school a home away from home.  The Northland Pines junior spends most class periods -- and even district in-service days -- using the 3-D printers, vinyl cutters, and other machinery in the fab lab. Tuesday morning, Heller learned how his second "home" is about to grow thanks to a $25,000 grant.

"Everything about it makes you want to be in here," Heller said.  "It allows our capabilities as a school to expand a lot."

On a day the governor declared "Fab Lab Day," representatives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Gov. Scott Walker, and other state leaders traveled the state announcing 21 fab lab grants, which totaled nearly $500,000.

Northland Pines opened its fab lab earlier this school year. Pines Tech Ed. teacher Tim Lehman says his school plans to buy a new CNC router to expand the lab's capabilities.

"We want this to be kind of a hub for our community too and that's only going to grow," Lehman said.

Sixty-nine districts across the state applied for Wisconsin's second round of fab lab grants. Northland Pines, Antigo, Lakeland Union, Ashland, Florence, Phelps, Phillips, and Rhinelander all landed grants.

"We went and talked to the governor about this initiative, we talked to Speaker Vos about this initiative and ultimately here we are," State Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) said after the Northland Pines ceremony. "It's pretty exciting to me to have six fab labs in my Assembly district, the most of any rep in the state, as far as I know."

This batch of grants requires districts to make the labs open to the public and match the grants they receive. The Vilas County Economic Development Corporation decided it would cover much of Northland Pines' matching funds, contributing one-third the first year, half the second, and two-thirds the third year.

"Keeping young students involved and active up here in the Northwoods is critical for our future," VCEDC Project Manager Barry McLeane said. "We want people to be able to do many, many different things here."

That was a similar goal heard about 25 miles away in Rhinelander Tuesday afternoon.

Rhinelander High School welcomed Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch as the district received its $25,000 grant. This marks the second fab lab grant Rhinelander received in the last 12 months.

"This is one of the blessings of having so many fab labs in the Northwoods," Kleefisch said. "It brings an entire community together around their K-12 public school."

Students showed Kleefisch around their new lab, which sprouted this school year from an old storage room. Rhinelander plans to use its new grant money to add more 3-D printers and scanners.

"Far too often, students graduate from high school really not knowing what they want to do and, worse yet, unprepared for entering into employment right after high school," RHS Principal Dave Ditzler said. "We want to do something about that. If we can dream it and design it, we'll be able to create it."

Ditzler says his school wouldn't have been able to make its additions without the grant funding.

"I think you go into grant writing expecting to get it," Ditzler said. "We needed this very badly. This grant changes things for Rhinelander."

Kleefisch agreed, noting fab lab grants will change everyone's lives in the future, whether they're in school or not.

"Those essentials [ranging from roads to public safety workers] that people begin to depend on all are funded by taxpayers," Kleefisch said. "But how do you create a taxpayer? By creating a worker. How do you create a worker? By helping a student get college- and career-ready."

Governor Walker's budget proposal for the next two years includes another $1 million in fab lab grant funding.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com

What We're Working OnSubmitted: 01/18/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We take you live to the Medford area where a standoff started after someone called 911 just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

We'll tell you about a public bus service that now serves Park Falls but is expanding its service to Phillips.

And last year's Eagle River World Snowmobile Derby champion from Tomahawk will give away his racing helmet, jacket and pants in a raffle to send members of Tomahawk's VFW to this year's honor flight. Tonight Nick Van Strydonk tells us why he chose to do this.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - A public library will do just about anything to help out its loyal patrons. But what happens when the library needs help?

The Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes needs help storing books during an upcoming renovation. Over 3,000 books need to be cleared out of the library during the construction period and library card holders will get the chance to check out up to 100 books for an entire year.

The idea of book babysitting made perfect sense to library director, Erica Brewster.

"If we could get a hundred people to check out 100 books, that would be a third of our collection that we wouldn't have to physically pickup and move and put in a new location," said Brewster. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - Lincoln County Sheriff Jeff Jaeger announced his retirement Wednesday. 

But he wants to remind everyone he's still got a year of hard work left. 

Jaeger said the decision wasn't an easy one after being in law enforcement for 38 years and sheriff for the last 11 years. 

"There's some sad feelings, if you will. I've been in the business for 38 years, working with a wonderful group of people for a great community. Just so blessed to have the support that we do in this area," said Jaeger. 

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Packer fans might not recognize his name, but they've likely seen his photographs over the years. 

Vernon Biever first started photographing the Packers in 1941 as a freelancer, but it wasn't until 1946 that he became the team photographer. 

"He basically created a job for himself as the Packers' team photographer and just got to live his passion," said ArtStart Development Director Melinda Childs. 

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - A new program at the Three Lakes School District gives students a chance to test drive their future careers.
The mentorship program lets students shadow a professional for a day.
Juniors and seniors can work with professionals in fields they're interested in.
Senior Maggie Servent is one of the ten students in the program.

She shadowed a pharmacist in Eagle River.
" I'm a little more at ease knowing that this is definitely something I'm going to enjoy once I get out into the real world and have this job," said Servent. 

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - The 2012 and 2017 World Snowmobile Derby Champion and Tomahawk native plans to use his fame to give back.

Nick Van Strydonk will give away his racing helmet, jacket and pants in a raffle.

Each ticket is $5.00 and he hopes to sell enough to send three members of Tomahawk's VFW to this year's honor flight.

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - The World Championship Derby started as a small oval racetrack on Dollar Lake.

The race began back in 1964 thanks to Chanticleer Inn's John and Betty Alward.

They wanted a way to keep business up during the slow winter season for themselves and fellow resort owners.

Their son Jake still runs the inn and remembers the excitement behind the "newness" of the sport.

"Every factory wanted their machine first! Money was not the object… it was getting the right machine the right equipment….The right this and that. People flew to Minneapolis to get and engine or a part!" says Alward.

The 55th World Championship Derby is this weekend.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here