EAGLE RIVER - One Northwoods school district can test a new program that's been in demand for years. It's all thanks to a rural schools grant.
"One of the biggest things parents have talked about is, 'Do you have after school programs for the kids?'" said Eagle River Elementary and Northland Pines Middle School Principal Tony Duffek.
For all the years Duffek has worked for the Northland Pines School District, his answer was, "Nothing on a consistent weekly basis."
A $27,000 rural schools grant changed that. The grant is available to rural school districts with a poverty rate of 20% or greater. The district is using it to pay for after school snacks and teacher supervision a couple times each week.
"All three elementary schools, we have the after school programs, and then we also have one for the middle school as well," Duffek said.
The program started in January. It is offered two days per week at the elementary schools. Nearly 70 students just at Eagle River Elementary are participating in the program.
"Half of them are doing a physical activity for about a half hour, and then the other half are doing reading and math games or coding on the computer," explained Jone Davis, a teacher.
The middle school hosts an after school program three times per week.
"It's really just a tutoring area where they can come, get their work done. Every kid has a Chromebook. They may not have internet at home so they're allowed to do it here where we have internet for them and also sometimes kids go home and might struggle with their homework where we have, you know, staff available to help the child here," Duffek said.
The program also gives students in kindergarten through fifth grade the opportunity to learn about computer coding. It's something they wouldn't have a chance to learn during the school day.
"They look forward to what they're doing. The group I work with, with the coding, they want to know what they get to do and how far they are. They're helping each other solve the problems on the computer, and creating the codes," Davis said.
The grant will cover the cost of the program through mid-March.
"We can reevaluate it at the end of the year and see if this is something that we want to continue," Duffek said.
Some of the grant money will also help pay for alcohol and drug awareness for the high school and training for teachers to better teach English Language Learners.
THREE LAKES - Plenty of Three Lakes High School students didn't know what they want to do for a career as of Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, many still weren't sure, but dozens got an inside look at possible careers.
The school held its annual Career Day on Friday morning. About 25 presenters included police, an FBI agent, college teachers, and graphic designers.
The school first held Career Day in 2009. Organizers hope students realize they have plenty of opportunities close to home.
All sorts of animals are affected by icy conditions. Some Northern Wisconsin owls dive INTO the snow to hunt small rodents. But recent freezing rain has formed an ice crust that owls can't break through. That means owls are beginning to starve.
Amanda Schirmer has been working at the Northwoods Wilderness Center for the past four years. She says that owls may hang around birdfeeders to prey on smaller birds. They may also be seen near roads.
LINCOLN CO. - The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office is calling a death east of Merrill on Thursday a homicide.
In a press release on Friday morning, the sheriff's office said a 77-year-old woman was found shot and killed around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. In the same home, a 78-year-old man was found critically injured from a gunshot wound.
It happened at a home on Range Line Road in the Town of Pine River.
The sheriff's office said it believes the shooting is isolated and the public is not in danger.
The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Lab worked to process the scene.
RHINELANDER - A former contracted janitor accused of sexually assaulting a Rhinelander student appears headed for a trial.
Stavros Iliopoulos appeared in Oneida County Court on Friday afternoon. Attorneys told Judge Michael Bloom they had not reached a plea deal. Bloom decided to schedule one final pre-trial conference for late August before a two-day jury trial was set for Sept. 4 and 5.
In late November, police said Iliopoulos, 65, took a girl into a dark closet and hugged, kissed, and touched her inappropriately at Northwoods Community Elementary School, a public charter school in Harshaw.
Iliopoulos worked for a contracted company, Victory Janitorial, at the time.
SEYMOUR, IND. - A chain-reaction crash in southern Indiana killed a Minocqua couple on Wednesday morning.
Glenn Cardelli and his wife, Kathryn, both 57 years old, were traveling in south an RV near Seymour, Ind., on Interstate 65. The RV was behind a semi and an SUV, both of which slowed due to highway maintenance.
Another semi failed to slow down behind the stalled traffic and crashed into the Cardellis' RV. The crash killed the couple and John Mumma, 67, an Illinois man driving the SUV.
The vehicles caught fire. Interstate 65 was closed for about eleven hours for cleanup and crash investigation.
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