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home : top stories July 22, 2014


WITC

Fair begins 5-day run
The 2014 Barron County Fair features something for everyone during its 5-day run that started today and runs through Sunday.
In addition to the hundreds of exhibitors vying for blue ribbons, crowds are expected to pack the midway for rides and games, as well as fill the grandstand and other venues for entertainment,
Harness horses will race both this Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 7 p.m. on the track in front of the grandstand. Admission is $5.
On Friday local musician ...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Excitement flows from placemaking event
The initial placemaking event on Monday, July 14 in Rice Lake brought out a bounty of creative ideas from a large, enthusiastic crowd, according to event organizers.
"I was just blown away at the creativity that came out of this," said Dave Armstrong, Barron County Economic Development Corporation director.
More than 80 people attended the event, which was led by the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.
"The mix of attendees provided a diversity of fresh, new perspectives and many thought-provoking ideas.  And the process yielded a mix of low-cost strategies and longer-term ideas," said WCWRPC planner Chris Straight.
Straight explained that placemaking is about making "sticky" places where people want to stay. He advocated focusing and building on community strengths.
Attendees mentioned Rice Lake's educational institutions, service industry, health care center, highway intersections and regional tourist attractions among its advantages.
The crowd was divided ...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Growing a family business in hydroponics
Those who have traveled on Hwy. 8 west of Barron have probably seen the signs for locally grown tomatoes and cucumbers.
Follow those signs to 1399 13th St., Barron, and motorists will make their way up a long, curving driveway to Vermillion Produce, a greenhouse at the residence of the Cam and Deb Goertzen family.
Open the door to the greenhouse and customers are greeted by the scent of freshly picked tomatoes...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Tourism commission likes ATV route idea
The push for ATV routes in the City of Rice Lake took another small step at a meeting of the Tourism & Retail Development Commission on Monday, July 7.
The commission approved a motion to provide $4,000 to cover the cost of signage on a proposed route from the south end of the Wild Rivers to the south end of the city as well as from the trail to a fishing area on the north side of Rice Lake.
Original estimates from the city to cover signs, posts and installation were from $6,000-$8,000.
But Russell Schneider, representing the Rice Lake Snow & Dirt Club, said he found a signmaker in Rice Lake that could produce the needed signs-numbering more than 100-for $1,900. He estimated the cost of posts and hardware would be $500.
"This commission will fully support this project," said commission Chair Butch Lehman, adding that he would like to see ATV route access to all hotels in the city to support the room tax.
Other commission members ...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Commission OKs Kern Extension
The Rice Lake Planning Commission has approved a street extension designed to push development in a large open area of the city.
Known as the Kern Extension, the commission approved a Certified Survey Map of strip of land 100 feet wide extending south from Kern Avenue then curving to Lemler Road near the intersection of Hwys. O and SS for a street and bike paths.
With approval next from the City Council, the project could be constructed in 2016 or 2017.
"This will fundamentally change the south side of town," said Dave Armstrong, director of the Barron County Economic Development Corporation.
The project, which has been in the works for more than a decade, is expected not only to spur new development, but also improve traffic flow in the city by becoming a bypass of Main Street.
According to the ...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
4-H marks centennial with new fair flag
Barron County 4-H celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development with a new flag raised at the Barron County Fairgrounds.  Current members, alumni, and 4-H supporters recently gathered at the Barron County Fairgrounds in Rice Lake to raise a new 4-H flag there.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Quick response credited for saving life
The American Heart Association reports that only 9% of people who have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation survive.
Two men who stopped for a school bus in a ditch and helped put driver Maynard Voelker in that percentile were honored recently during a surprise award presentation.
The men, Jim Ricci, newly retired co-owner of Ricci's Tire, and Chris Orson, an emergency room nurse at Lakeview Medical Center, were each given a good samaritan plaque by hospital president Ned Wolf on June 12. They were joined by family, friends and hospital staff.
"It's unbelievable all the people I have praying for me, some I don't even know," said Voelker, who is in stable condition at an Eau Claire hospital. He said he has 75 get-well cards from the children who ride his bus. "I lay here and wonder why God didn't take me, but there must be a reason," said Voelker. "Jim and Chris did a wonderful thing."
On May 30 shortly after ...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
More students getting subsidized meals
The percentage of public school students eligible for subsidized school meals increased for the current school year, continuing an upward climb that spans the decade.
For the 2013-14 school year, 43.3% of students are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, up 13.8 percentage points from the 2003-04 school year. In Northwest Wisconsin, the percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced lunches is even higher.
All of the schools in the Rice Lake area exceeded the state average. The Chetek-Weyerhaeuer district came the closest to the average at 45.8%. The districts with the highest percentage qualifying in the region exceeded 60: Birchwood, 62.1%; Winter, 61.2%; and Spooner, 60.1%.
In the Rice Lake School District 48.1% were eligible. At Cameron 47.9% could be free or reduced meals.
Most Wisconsin public school students in federal meal programs qualify for free meals based on household income. Across Wisconsin 37.3% of students are from families whose household income qualifies them for free meals (130% of federal poverty level), up from last year when 36.9% of students qualified for free meals and up 15.1 percentage points from the 2003-04 school year when 22.2% of students were eligible for free meals. For the current school year, 6% of students are eligible for reduced-price meals (185% of federal poverty level).
"It's tough for kids to concentrate on learning when they are hungry," said State Superintendent Tony Evers. "The links between poverty, hunger, and lower academic achievement are well-established.
"The National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs are one way to help students whose families struggle," Evers said.
For the 2013-14 school year, Wisconsin has 359,400 public school district students who are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals out of enrollment of 829,394 in the 413 school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program.
There are now 117 school districts that have 50% or more students eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, including the state's five largest districts: Milwaukee Public Schools, 82%%; Madison Metropolitan, 54%; Kenosha Unified, 55%; Green Bay Area Public, 58%; and Racine Unified, 63%.
The highest incident of free or reduced cost school meals was in the Lac du Flambeau District at 96.4% and Menominee Indian District, 85.7%.
The lowest percentages ...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Stanley rail transload proposal pulled after residents oppose
A re-zoning request to allow for a rail transloading site near Cameron has been withdrawn after receiving opposition from the Town of Stanley planning commission and dozens of residents at a meeting Thursday, June 5.
Dwain Trowbridge, a New Auburn area native and owner of nine Bridge Stop gas stations, requested the re-zoning of 33.6 acres just east of Cameron and west of 21-1/2 Street on the Canadian National railroad so a transloading site for liquid propane, fertilizer, frac sand and other minerals could be constructed.
More than 70 citizens attended the meeting, some watching through windows after the small town hall reached capacity. None vocally supported Trowbridge's proposal.
The commission's vote against the re-zoning was an unanimous 5-0.
"I have nothing against the silica itself; I am against the location," said commission member Jim Hessel.
Fellow commission member Arlen Mortensen quoted from the town's comprehensive plan: "The town will be a peaceful place to live, with clean, safe neighborhoods, well-maintained properties and friendly neighbors."
Many in attendance ...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Aquafest marks 50th year
For the past 50 years, residents of Rice Lake and surrounding areas, and tourists visiting for the season, have enjoyed food, music, games and family fun during Aquafest.
Starting small but growing bigger throughout the years, the celebration brings people from far and wide to the many events that are planned and carried out by numerous hard-working, enthusiastic volunteers.
The first Aquafest in 1964 was only 3 days long ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Aquafestivities get under way
The 50th annual Aquafest starts Thursday and runs through Sunday, June 15. A preview of the first week of activities and other highlights follow.
• Thursday, June 5: 6:30 p.m., Flag Day ceremony at City Park Band Shell, sponsored by the Rice Lake Elks Lodge. 7 p.m., Music in the Park concert featuring the Rice Lake Municipal Band.
• Friday, June 6: At 10:30 a.m., RCU Aquabug clues begin. Daily clues given at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on WJMC, WAQE and WKFX radio stations. Finder receives $2,000 savings bond or $1,000 cash if wearing an Aquafest button. Clues continue until found.
At 2-3 p.m., Read-A-Palooza at Rice Lake Public Library. Call 715-234-4861 for information.
At 5-8 p.m., Aquafest Night of Family Fun at City Park. Games. Hot dogs and root beer, $1.
At 5-9 p.m., Aquaskate at Skate City. Buy one admission for $6, get one free.
At 6 p.m., Aquafest slowpitch softball tournament at Clanton Park.
At 7:30 p.m. is a performance of "Don't Hug Me I'm Pregnant" at the Red Barn Theatre. Call 715-234-8301 for reservations.
• Saturday, June 7: The slowpitch softball tournament at Clanton Park and Aquabug clues continue.
At 9:30 a.m., 50 in the Streets ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
County farm production topped $343 million in 2012
Fewer farmers, fewer farms and fewer acres being farmed. Those are some of the expected findings about the state of agriculture in Barron County gleaned from the recently released data for the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture.
Yet those declining numbers are deceptive. Overall ...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
School leaders unimpressed by task force report
A state task force on rural schools recently released final reports outlining steps to address teacher shortages, inadequate funding and other problems in small school districts.
But the task force recommendations are by no means a blueprint for the next Legislature. Democrats and Republicans issued dissenting reports, and local school superintendents remain skeptical about how far the Legislature and governor are willing to go.
"Expect the Legislature to tighten the money spigot, not loosen it. Without more funding or providing more flexibility in meeting requirements, the rural schools task force report is a cold fall wind blowing through a standing cornfield," said Randall Braun, superintendent of Cameron School District.
Task force chairman Bob Swearingen, R-Rhinelander, issued one report, while vice chairman Fred Clark, D-Baraboo, issued his own after the group held six public hearings throughout the state.
Clark said he released his own after Swearingen's report did not address fair funding, declining enrollment and threats posed by the private voucher program.
Barron School District superintendent Craig Broeren said both reports came up short on key issues.
"The single biggest shortcoming . . .

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


 





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