Three Lakes School Board holds special meeting to discuss Walker campaign adSubmitted: 08/09/2018
Rose McBride
Rose McBride

Three Lakes School Board holds special meeting to discuss Walker campaign ad
*UPDATED 8/10/2018

Governor Walker told Newswatch12 Friday that the Three Lakes School District knew exactly what it was getting into when he visited its fab lab.

At a campaign stop in Antigo, Walker said his campaign team was clear about why he was visiting the school.

"We're straight forward about what our expectations were, just as we do with every other ad that we do. We tell people what the ads are for. We said it was for an ad, not a public service announcement or anything else. This was an ad out there I think we were pretty clear," said Walker.

Walker also felt the ad was not an endorsement for himself, but rather a chance for the Three Lakes School to tell its story.

"Well in their case they're not endorsing, they're just telling the story. None of them said vote for or against, the bottom line is they just told the story and they told the honest truth about what we've done," said Walker.

Walker also said the ad will reach the end of its cycle this week and will not air again.

Only about 500 students fill the entire Three Lakes School District, but the entire state knows about Three Lakes Schools now.

Governor Walker chose to highlight the school and town in a political ad.

It was an ad that many people in Three Lakes didn't know was coming.

The Three Lakes School Board held a special meeting Thursday night to discuss political partisanship and try to correct mistakes the school district admits it made.

"Recently I failed to vet the purpose of the governor's visit as thoroughly as I should have. This was a mistake on my part, and I apologize for that," said Three Lakes Superintendent Dr. George Karling.

But Board President Tom Rulseh said the board didn't know the governor's visit would lead to a campaign ad.

"That was our understanding, that he was coming here and going to look at the fab lab and learn a little more about it. But we didn't know anything about anything related to a campaign ad," said Rulseh.

The board read and approved a policy Thursday night saying that employees and the board will not engage in political activity or show any political preference on work time.

But many people in the crowd said the new policy just reiterates something that was already expected of public employees.

"Every teacher knows that in a classroom they cannot give any of their political persuasion to their students," said Lynn Zibell from Three Lakes. 

"Public facilities should not be used in any kind of election campaign," said Theresa Griffin-Ray from Three Lakes.

Despite Rulseh's claims, some people weren't so sure the board didn't know the governor's intent.

"It could have been a very willful action designed to please political interests," said Zibell.

Public Comment was not allowed at the meeting and there wasn't a clear next step presented Thursday night. But moving forward Rulseh wants to be more transparent with the public.

"I did hear from several people who had questions that I think deserve answers," said Rulseh.

People we spoke to at the meeting said they want to see consequences for the superintendent and to open a discuss with the school board about the topic.

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WISCONSIN DELLS, WIS. (AP) - Three Illinois men are dead after their sport utility vehicle collided with a pickup near Wisconsin Dells.

Columbia County sheriff's authorities say the men were in a Toyota 4Runner that collided with a Chevrolet Silverado at an intersection on State Highway 127 on Saturday.

Authorities say the Toyota SUV apparently failed to yield the right of way at a stop sign. The three men died at the scene. Authorities say they apparently were not wearing seat belts.

The 33-year-old woman who was driving the pickup was flown to UW Hospital. Her passenger, a 33-year-old man, was taken to another hospital.

Names and hometowns of the victims were not released.

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MADISON, WIS. (AP) - Madison officials say Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents violated city policy by detaining at least six immigrants without letting police know ahead of time.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval says the department has a working relationship with ICE, but the federal agency did not follow protocol. Koval says ICE has agreed to call the assistant police chief before making arrests in Madison. This time the agency called the Dane County Communications Center.

Koval says the arrests were made at separate workplaces and are not considered to be part of a raid. He says the community is in "hyper-warp distress mode."

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says ICE told city officials the people arrested are believed to have committed serious crimes, but he does not know the specifics of the investigation.

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RHINELANDER - A man died after a house fire in Rhinelander on Friday night.

According to a press release from the Rhinelander Police Department, Rhinelander police and firefighters responded to the fire at 320 Rose Street near Hodag Park around 7:30 p.m.  

Firefighters went inside the house soon after they arrived and found an unresponsive man on the floor.  Firefighters and paramedics tried to revive the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

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RHINELANDER - A house fire in Rhinelander left one man dead Friday.

Emergency responders got the call around 7:30 p.m. for a home near Hodag Park.

Steve Smith heard a dispatch call over his step-sons radio about the fire at his neighbor's home on Rose Street.

"We walked out the front door and it was plain as day," said Smith. "The flames were rolling out of the front window."

At first, Smith wasn't sure if anyone was in the home. "There was a man they brought out," said Smith. "unfortunately, I heard he was deceased,"

Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier confirmed the victim was found dead on the scene.

"Life saving measures were done by the paramedics. Unfortunately, the male had passed away," said Gauthier. "At this point, it appears that it was due to something left on the stove."

Gauthier says more details about the victim will be released on Monday. 

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WOODRUFF - Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport hosted a fun-filled day for family and friends on Saturday.

This comes about five months after one of its helicopters crashed, killing three Spirit employees.

Regional manager Charles Kotke said those men were in mind today,

"Today is a day of bringing people together, as well as a celebration of our 25 year anniversary," said Kotke. "This team did an amazing job getting us back to caring for our patients and doing what we need to do to care of our community."

Flight paramedics showed off the aircrafts to people and the helicopter was a big hit.

"They definitely like to look at the aircrafts. See how we transport patients from point A to point B," said Northern Region Supervisor Ryan Short.

Next Saturday, Spirit is celebrating with more associates. The second part of the celebration will be in Stevens Point.

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