RHINELANDER - Just a year ago, days looked a lot different for Rhinelander's Jane Dunbar. For 27 years up to her 2016 retirement, she built a career.
"I worked for the state health department," she said. "I worked in public health for communicable disease and immunization."
Now, Dunbar picks days she'd like to work as a substitute teacher at Pelican Elementary School.
"I've been doing kindergarten today, and I really like the kindergarten," she said on Wednesday. "They're really active."
The School District of Rhinelander wants more people like Dunbar. Dunbar has no degree in education or history working in schools. But she has an interest in giving back to kids.
"We've had some fabulous substitute teachers," said district Director of Instruction Teri Maney. "We call them guest teachers in Rhinelander."
But Maney wishes she and her principals didn't have to spend so much time figuring out how to cover classes with subs in short supply.
"Everybody steps up and helps out. The principal helps out. There's no one who doesn't step forward," she said. "We've had more of a need for longer-term subs. When we have a longer-term placement, that pulls out of our regular sub pool."
Maney says a statewide sub shortage has been years in the making. But it's a new state law which could help to relieve the problem.
"We see it as great news," Maney said of the law.
Substitute teachers used to need a bachelor's degree to be eligible. The degree could be in any field, not limited to only education.
Now, with a provision passed in the state budget, people with associate's degrees can teach after some district training.
"The degree is not really going to be the first and foremost thing that we're looking at walking into the classroom," Maney said. "It's, how do you interact with kids? How do kids interact with you? What can we do to support those relationships?"
Dunbar has a four-year degree, so she's already covered. But she may soon be joined by others like her with even more diverse levels of education.
"I wanted to do something meaningful for the community," Dunbar said. "Just give it a try."
If you're interested in becoming a substitute teacher, call Gen Luebke at the School District of Rhinelander. The phone number is 715-365-9700, extension 5734.
RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Salvation Army hopes to raise $40,000 in its bell ringing campaign again this year. It reached that goal during the holidays a year ago.
Volunteers kicked off the bell ringing drive at Trig's and Shopko on Friday. Eighty-six percent of money raised stays in the Rhinelander area to help families in emergencies.
"We're very excited that we're keeping our goal at 40 (thousand dollars) this year, and we're hoping that people are continuing to be generous in helping us reach that goal," Rhinelander Salvation Army Kettle Coordinator Kim Swisher said. "People are friendly, they're excited, they're like, 'Oh, it's bell ringing time!' [That] always means the holidays. We're excited about that."
You'll see volunteers at Trig's and Shopko through the holidays. Bell ringing starts at Walmart next week.
TOMAHAWK - Thirty-two-year-old Eric Lee Moen of Wausau is charged with shooting and killing his friend of four and a half years, Charles K. Ramp with a long gun. Moen is currently in Lincoln County Jail on a $1 million cash bond.
On Friday morning, Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins held a press conference to explain what police think led up to the shooting.
UPDATE: The suspected shooter from a homicide in Tomahawk has been identified as Eric Lee Moen, 32. Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins confirmed Moen is being held in the Lincoln County Jail for a 1st-degree intentional homicide charge.
The Lincoln County Clerk of Courts reports Moen is being held on a $1 million cash bond. He has yet to appear in court, but an initial appearance has been set for Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Online court records show Moen was convicted of various traffic offenses. He was also convicted of misdemeanor battery in Portage County from a 2002 case.
Elvins plans to release more information Friday afternoon.
Tomahawk police identified the victim in the city's first shooting homicide in years. Friday morning, Police Chief Al Elvins announced Charles K. Ramp, 52, was shot and killed outside his home on W. Mohawk Drive Thursday night.
Police arrested the suspected shooter, a 32-year-old man from Wausau, but did not identify him. The suspect was found about 130 miles away in Lake Hallie, which is near Eau Claire.
EAGLE RIVER - Americans eat more than 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. That much thawing, handling, and cooking of turkeys means people can make mistakes.
The Vilas County Public Health Department wants to help people avoid exposing themselves to dangerous bacteria. It says frozen turkeys should always be thawed in the refrigerator or under running water.
"You don't want to set them out on your countertop for any amount of time to thaw them because that's when they're going to be in the 'danger zone.' The 'danger zone' is between 40 and 140 [degrees Fahrenheit], and that's when pathogens can grow," said Vilas County Registered Sanitarian Amy Springer.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.