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home : top stories April 15, 2014


WITC

Council's vote challenges DNR permit deadline
Already 16 months past a compliance deadline for a state issued storm water permit, the Rice Lake City Council again refused to pass ordinances required by the permit.
Unconvinced that the ordinances were necessary and concerned about potential negative impacts to business, the council voted 7-1 to table the reading of the drafted ordinances until the May 27 meeting.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources required the city to obtain a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit-or MS4-in December of 2010 and comply by December 2012.
The permit mandates that the city reduce its total suspended solids discharges, prevent pollution and encourage public awareness of storm water issues, among other measures.
MS4 permits are mostly issued to much larger cities than Rice Lake, but the city met the criteria for a permit due to the fact that it discharges water into an impaired waterway-the Red Cedar River, according to DNR representative Ruth King.
The permit requires the city . . .

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Cumberland woman finds Cuba colorful, diverse
Cities with red-tiled roofs, cobblestone streets, bright-colored building facades, wrought iron gates, donkey carts and pedicabs, and countrysides of sugarcane and cacao plantations, mountains, rainforests and coastlines.
How is that for a description of a fun-filled vacation destination?
Those are just a few of the descriptions given by a Cumberland woman who had a "fabulous" 12-day adventure through Cuba in January.
"Because it is so diverse, it's fascinating," said Helen Blumer, who, with her husband, Harry, have lived...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Write-in candidates earn seats in Tuesday election
Voters decided a handful of local races while most candidates were elected unopposed in the spring election Tuesday.
In a registered write-in race for a city school board seat, Gary Spear was elected with 78 votes to 46 for Dave Armstrong. Also elected were incumbent Doug Kucko to a rural seat with 829 votes and incumbent Janna Haack and Tami Alberg to city seats with 673 and 622 votes, respectively.
Rice Lake Mayor Steve Harrington was re-elected unopposed with 453 votes.
Dan Lawler, Mark O'Brien, Justin Fonfara and Dan Genereau were elected to four at-large Rice Lake City Council seats with no other candidates in the race. Vote totals were 364 for Lawler, 392 for O'Brien, 369 for Genereau and 321 for Fonfara.
A total of 521 ballots were counted in the City of Rice Lake.
In the lone County Board race, Terry Lee defeated Wayne Brenholt with 47 votes to 38.
In the Village of Haugen Michael Kinnick received 53 votes and Michael Duerkop had 49 as both . . .

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Ag practices are key to river's health
Scientists and citizens came together to discuss issues facing our lakes and streams at the annual Red Cedar Watershed Conference in Menomonie on March 13.
Several speakers covered topics from farming practices to stream restoration during the all-day conference at UW-Stout.
Among several agriculture and water experts, a Rice Lake citizen's presentation stood out, drawing a standing-room-only crowd.
Rod Olson, a retired doctor who practiced in Rice Lake for more than 30 years, shared his experience kayaking 114 miles of the watershed in 10 days this past June taking samples from Big Chetac Lake to the Chippewa River.
Olson, who attended the conference . . .

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Work ethic, character issues are problems for employers
There isn't a lack of jobs in Barron County. There's a lack of employable people.
That was the theme of the Barron County Workforce Skills Conference, which gathered business, education and community leaders together to discuss local workforce issues Monday, March 17 at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.
The problem, often called a skills gap, is only expected to worsen as baby boomers retire.
In Northwest Wisconsin there are now more people who are 65 than who are 18. That ratio is expected to broaden for the next decade or more.
The results of a survey of 46 Barron County employers were presented at the conference. Many reported a lack of qualified applicants for jobs.
"Businesses are looking to add or recruit people they can't find," said Beth Mathison of Manpower Eau Claire.
The skills most needed according to respondents were in customer service, general maintenance, office skills, computer/technical skills, skilled trades, banking/accounting, sales, welding and machining.
In predicting future needs, employees with general office, robotics and masonry skills were mentioned the most.
But it was a lack of basic or "soft" skills that got people talking.
Survey respondents made such . . .

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Student gives impromptu performance in front of 13,000
As the spotlight settled on her, and red, white and blue strobes began swirling about her, Jessica Buchman felt alone despite being in front of the biggest crowd for which she has ever sang the national anthem.
"I was kind of surprised," said Buchman of when the lights went down and the spotlight came on in Madison's Kohl Center on Saturday night.
The spotlight turned out to be a good surprise.
"Because of the spotlight I couldn't see any people. It was just me singing in the dark," Buchman said.
Buchman, a Rice Lake High School senior, admitted to being nervous before her solo, a cappella performance in front of nearly 13,000 fans prior to the Division 2 state boys' basketball championship game between Rice Lake and Wisconsin Lutheran.
But she had only 20 minutes to be nervous.
"Someone else backed out during (team) ...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Death in Clinton ruled a homicide
The suspicious death of a 33-year old man in the Town of Clinton early Monday, March 10, has been ruled a homicide and continues to be investigated by the Barron County Sheriff's Department.
Dead from multiple gunshot wounds is 33-year old Daniel J. Raven of Barron. At 12:32 a.m. a Sheriff's Department dispatcher received a call of a man possibly dead at his residence on a turkey breeder farm about 3 miles north of Poskin where Raven was a farm manager. Deputies responded to the scene and found the man dead.
"At this time we are . . .

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Firewood shortage hits north country
It sounds like something out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book. Braving one of the harshest winters in recent memory, Northwest Wisconsin residents are facing short supplies on-of all things-firewood.
"It's a terrible thing. I've never seen the likes of it," said Mervin Hanson, owner of Hanson Hardwoods near Cameron. "This year we've been as high as 50 loads behind."
Hanson, a long-time firewood and lumber supplier, is one of few with any wood left at all.
Dan Krug, owner of Ironhorse Firewood near Cameron, said he would normally have wood through February, but ran out in early November.
Krug and Hanson say firewood has to dry for about a year before it is ready for in-home wood stoves.
Some outdoor wood burners . . .

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Winter piles on problems for buildings
John Nelson of Thompson-Nelson insurance in Rice Lake had a busy morning on Monday. He said he had four calls about claims, all with weather problems, either roofs coming down or water coming into buildings because of ice dams.
"We're seeing a lot of it right now," he said, saying there's been an average of about 10-15 calls per week.
He said most of the roof cave-ins are older sheds, small garages and pole barns. He said his office hasn't had...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Jobs outlook
Jobs, economics and Barron County labor force were discussed at a Thursday @ the U event last week at UW-Barron County.
A defined focus on northwest Wisconsin is set for Monday, March 17 from 3-5 p.m. at WITC Conference Center. All are invited to attend and hear a presentation of findings from a survey headed by Barron County Economic Development Corporations executive director Dave Armstrong, members of the Rice Lake Chamber of Commerce, faculty of UW-Barron County and WITC and representatives of Manpower.
Scott Hodek, economist for the Office of Economic Advisors, a part of Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development, kicked off last week's event speaking about the national overview.
"Most inputs into the economy were positive with government spending, residential investment and import growth negatively influencing the GDP [Gross Domestic Product, which is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country's economy]" said Hodek.
"However it's at 3% growth which is considered OK," he said. "And our exports are actually growing."
Hodek said that the Leading Economic Indicator was up .01% in December and the upward trend indicates a moderately stronger spring.
"I think we're going to have . . .

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Speakers named for Red Cedar River conference
Land, water and people are the focus areas of a Red Cedar Watershed Conference on March 13 at UW-Stout in Menomonie.
Among the speakers are Rod Olson, president of Desair Lake Restoration, northwest of Rice Lake. Olson kayaked the length of the river last year while taking pictures and water samples. Olson won the 2013 Wisconsin Lakes Citizen Stewardship Award.
The third annual daylong event will be at the Memorial Student Center. Early registration ends March 1. For more information or to register go to "uwstout.edu/profed/redcedar."
Farmers can register for free ...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Couple acquitted in assault case
A Rice Lake couple accused in the substantial battery case of a gay man was acquitted following a 2-day jury trial in Barron County Circuit Court ending last Wednesday, Feb. 12.
Rien L. Hendricks, 35, and Shannon R. Hendricks, 37, of 527 Phipps Ave., Rice Lake, stood trial on a charge each of substantial battery as a party to a crime stemming from the March 17 incident.
Alleged victim Timothy R. Phares, 32, formerly of Rice Lake and now of Portland, Ore., accused Rien of hitting him in the face with a 2-foot piece of a 2-by-4 in the parking lot of Perkins in Rice Lake.
Just before the first of eight witnesses to testify for the state began, Barron County Assistant District Attorney Russ Berg learned that Phares had been convicted of providing false information to a police officer in Oregon in 2011. Rien's attorney, Wilber Johnson, thought the state should be sanctioned for withholding information, but Babler believed Berg when Berg said he had just had just become aware of the conviction.
Babler did not sanction the state and said the development could be an advantage for the defense.
A handful of spectators attended the first day of the trial on Feb. 11 when jurors heard from testimony given by witnesses for the state that Phares and his sister, Krista Kathrine had been at the Hendricks' garage for an after-bar party earlier in the morning. There was some sort of conflict with Phares and the Hendricks, Phares and Kathrine left because of it and went to Perkins at about 5:45 a.m.
As he exited the passenger seat . . .

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


 






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