YMCA of the Northwoods eyes new child care facility that would double current capacity Submitted: 11/06/2019
Stephen Goin
Stephen Goin

YMCA of the Northwoods eyes new child care facility that would double current capacity
RHINELANDER - More than 50 families in Oneida County were at a loss when Minocqua's Rocking Horse Child Care Center and Preschool shut down November 1. The closure of that facility is part of a greater trend being felt around Northern Wisconsin. 

Families in Rhinelander could see some relief as early as next spring with child care expanding through YMCA of the Northwoods. The Y announced Wednesday it's planning to buy the old South Park School on Pelham St. for a new child care center.

Previously, the building was occupied by Bethesda's Rhinelander Community Life Center.

"Through this project we will look at doubling the capacity of child care here in the Rhinelander community," said YMCA CEO Ryan Zietlow.

The new facility would replace the Y's current child care center on Dorr St. Zietlow said the former school provides more space for kids to play both outdoors and inside an indoor gymnasium.

"They'll get all of the hands-on learning, nurturing and care in their classrooms," said Zietlow "We also have a space indoors for gross motor development, so we're very excited for the gymnasium."

According to the Center for American Progress, the majority of people in Oneida County live in a child care desert. The lack of child care can be discouraging for families who want to come to Northwoods for work.

"If, in fact, the child care is not available that really puts a huge strain on a family moving in," said Grow North Executive Director Brittany Beyer.

At $1,000 a month, the average cost of infant care in Wisconsin can add to strain of seeking child care in a community with few options.

"We are already beginning more conversations about how can we make it [child care] more affordable," said Zietlow.

Zietlow said the YMCA will consider child care subsidies but local business should also make an effort to help through employee benefits.

"There is room for investment in child care to make if affordable and quality for all of us," said Beyer. 

If all goes as planned, the YMCA's new child care center will open next spring or summer.

Zietlow said the community will be asked the help pay for the cost of renovations and address other community needs.

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Thirty-year-old Cassie Nygren was sentenced Thursday after she was found guilty in the June 2017 death of 31-year-old Jennifer Skeen. 

Skeen was six months pregnant when she overdosed on heroin laced with fentanyl. 

WLUK-TV reports Nygren also was sentenced to 17 years of extended supervision. 

Nygren told the judge heroin was at the root of her choices. 

Nygren is the daughter of Rep. John Nygren of Marinette, who has been public about his daughter's struggle with drugs.

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Friday and Saturday, nearly 500 people will pour into an empty airplane hangar at the Stevens Point airport for the Feed my Starving Children mobile packing event.

University of Wisconsin Stevens Point senior Christian Kamrath helped recruit volunteers for the event through UWSP's Health Care Organization.

He says it's a rewarding experience and he loves coming back every year. 

"I could be at home sitting on the couch watching TV but instead we're changing lives," said Kamrath. "You see not only the new members that say this is my first time, but it's so cool to see all the people who say this is my second, third time."

In two-hour shifts throughout the day, volunteers filled meal packs with rice, soy, dried vegetables and mineral powder. The packs will ultimately be shipped to over 70 countries around the world. Each pack holds six meals and costs as little as 88 cents to produce.

"The volunteer aspect is important to us as an organization," said Maddy Mowrey with Feed my Starving Children. "It's important for us to be able to work with the community and encourage their spirits as well as feed hungry bodies."

The organization is still aiming meet its more than $26,000 fundraising goal.

To donate to Feed My Starving Children, visit the following website

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Mother of three Mindy Boyer has seen the damage bullying causes locally.

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Willow is a student at Pelican Elementary in Rhinelander. In a cell phone video, Boyer captured Willow in tears at home after she asked her daughter about school.

"He calls me disgusting," Willow cried in the video. "I don't like when he calls me disgusting."

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Forty-four-year-old Matthew Neumann maintained his innocence at his sentencing Thursday. 

Neumann denied responsibility for the deaths of 40-year-old Robert Hajduk of Racine and 35-year-old Richard Conklin of Milwaukee. Conklin's remains have not been positively identified. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the judge told Neumann that the character he's shown in the case "is not human." 

Neumann was convicted in December of two counts each of first-degree reckless homicide and hiding a corpse. 

The victims worked at Neumann's commercial cleaning business and disappeared in January 2019.

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WAUSAU - When the snow melts, it has to go somewhere. That has "National Weather Service" meteorologists and dam operators concerned.

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The Northwoods hasn't hit that melting phase yet, but officials are paying close attention.

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