Phillips Headlines

Student helps lake association in zooplankton study

As outdoor sporting groups across northern Wisconsin are struggling to engage and attract young members, one Price County lake association is working hard to improve their lake and at the same time bring youth into the outdoors – one person at a time.

The Solberg Lake Association has been endeavoring to improve the number of walleye in the lake for several years and this spring they worked with Phillips High School student Elise Ertl, who gave them a very welcome helping hand in their zooplankton study.

“Elise was a very critical path to getting the work we needed done,” said Jan Huml, president of the Solberg Lake Association. “I feel it is important for our youth to be involved in the outdoors to understand the importance of how our ecosystem affects us on a daily basis. Working with the lake associations is great avenue for youth to see firsthand how association membership has a strong connection to ensure our natural resources are protected.”

Read more: Price County Review

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Park Falls downtown streetscape plans given the nod

Every so often, city leaders call upon themselves to stop and take a good look around.

It seems they feel a responsibility to hold their city up to the light and see if there aren’t some areas that need improvement, some changes that could make the place a bit more inviting.

Back in 2009, the Park Falls Downtown Revitalization Advisory Committee did just that. The group was formed and began to work on a conceptual design for improving the downtown area that struggles to remain vital.

Read more: Price County Review

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16-U Dusters edged in extra innings

The Park Falls Girls' Softball Club's 16-U Diamond Dusters battled back-and-forth with Three Lakes on Thursday, July 9, at the Park Falls Athletic Complex, going three extra innings in a 7-6 loss.

The Dusters erased a 1-0 deficit with a three-run second inning with Maggie Miller leading off with a single, Hope Grubb drawing a walk and Kylie Sales and Tess Richard driving in runs with hits. Three Lakes scored once in the fourth and two times in the fifth to pull ahead 4-3 in the scheduled five-inning game. Mackenzie Dane walked and Kayla Herbst singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, with Dane scoring to send the game to extra innings.

After a scoreless sixth, Three Lakes tallied in the top of the seventh and the Dusters answered in the bottom half with Dane doubling and scoring on an RBI single by Korrie Herbst. The Dusters had two on with no outs, but couldn't push across the winning run.

Read More: Price County Review

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Study indicates area is facing skills gap

According to a recent study, northwest Wisconsin – including Price County – is facing a critical skills gap that could reach a critical tipping point in five years if left unaddressed.

The study was sponsored by three groups: Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board, Visions Northwest Regional Economic Development Group, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. It focused on 10 northwestern Wisconsin counties in an effort to determine if the region is experiencing a skills gap (Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, Price, Rusk and Taylor).

“We were hearing a lot of anecdotal stories from employers who felt they were experiencing a skills gap, and we wanted to know if that was in fact correct, and if there was, what was causing it,” said Mari Kay-Nabozny, chief executive officer for NWWIB. “We wanted simply to find out if there was a skills gap in the region.”

Read more: Price County Review

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Pegged Right: Summertime and the living is easy

I know that I don’t have a very long memory anymore - or even much of a short term memory either - but it seems to me that this is the nicest summer maybe ever.

Sure, we’ve had a lot of rain, but really not too much and despite the rain, we in the Northwoods have very few mosquitoes. There has been one perfect day marching in right after another. It makes it hard to stay in the house and attend to my writing chores.

The summer of 2015 is going down in my personal record book as a stellar example of a great season.

Read more: Price County Review

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Compumold Tool and Design, Inc. named NWWIB’s Business of the Year

The Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board, Inc. (NWWIB) recently presented Compumold Tool and Design, Inc. with the Business of the Year award.

Compumold Tool & Design Inc., based in Phillips, is a comprehensive mold manufacturing company that is committed to meeting or exceeding customer’s expectations. These expectations include delivering a quality mold with the shortest lead-times at a competitive price. The quality molds are produced by a highly skilled workforce, which has given the company the ability to take on a variety of projects. Compumold specializes in small to medium sized molds for the automotive, medical, consumer, industrial, and electronic markets. In 2010, the company was purchased by three local men. The three business partners build off of each other’s strengths and skills to deliver high quality products, provide outstanding customer service, and create a positive and productive work environment for their employees.

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Possible one-half percent sales tax floated at county level

When one makes any purchase in Price County there is a five percent sales tax added on to the cost – plus a one half percent for the county. Now the possibility of bumping that half percent up to one percent is being discussed – in the interest of funding repair and replacement of area roads.

The question of tacking a new half-percent to make it a six percent sales tax was discussed at a recent Price County Board meeting and although some thought it was a necessary evil as an alternative for excessive long term borrowing and paying related interest, it was still not exactly greeted warmly.

The issue of funding roads is a hot topic in Wisconsin currently with Governor Scott Walker saying that he does not want to boost the state’s gas tax or the license registration fees, but would rather borrow and bond for $1.3 billion to cover the state’s road budget.

Read more: Price County Review

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US 8 improvements scheduled to begin next week in Price County

Work to resurface US 8 between the Rusk County line and the Jump River bridge in Price County is scheduled to begin Tuesday, July 14.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is conducting a construction information meeting to discuss the contractor’s schedule and traffic impacts for the project. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, from 10 to 11 a.m., at the Village of Catawba Hall, W9242 US 8, Catawba.

American Asphalt is the prime contractor for the $3.5 million project. Crews will resurface US 8 and replace the guardrail.

Read more: Price County Review

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Phillips Chain of Lakes Triathlon will be this Saturday

Power pedalers, wave-busting swimmers, trail-tested runners and triple threats will all have a place in the 2015 Zing Zang Phillips Chain of Lakes Triathlon, returning to Phillips Saturday, July 11 at 9 a.m.

This annual bike, swim, and run showdown got its start as a sprint triathlon back in 2008.

Annie Knudson, one director of the race, observed that the event has grown since that first year.

Read more: Price County Review

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Antique and Tractor Expo back July 11

Folks can once again get an up-close glimpse at the tools, machinery and household items defining life in an earlier era at the Price County Antique Association (PCAA) Ltd.’s seventh annual Antique and Tractor Expo.

The event is set to take place at the Price County Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 11 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This year the association will memorialize long-time member and Phillips area resident Ken Bubenic at the Expo. Ken passed away in July of 2014. The association is honoring Ken for all his help and support of the antique association over the years. Ken was on the Board of Directors and the artifact acceptance and artifact valuation committees. Like last year’s honoree Jim Polacek, Ken was a wonderful mechanic who could fix or make a part for anything.

Read more: Price County Review

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Injured firefighter welcomed home

A firefighter who had fallen off of a ladder and injured his neck while fighting a house fire in Park Falls June 29 was welcomed home in a big way Thursday, July 2 when crowds gathered outside his residence to greet him.

On June 30, the department announced that that firefighter, Mike Bush, had made it through surgery successfully with his injuries repaired using a set of hardware and bone from an organ and tissue donor.

“It’s just a matter of healing up now,” Park Falls Fire Chief Larry Reas said.

Read more: Price County Review

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Adventures Out There: The art of getting lost

“We are so interested in ourselves that we don't see what's around us.”

Those words came from the mouth of a very small person who has spent all of nine years on this earth.

He was right; it is incredibly easy to loose a sense of what really surrounds us. It's also easy to blame the speed of modern-day living, but really, how hard is it to notice what surrounds us every day? It is so deceptively simple to slip into the rut of taking it for granted.

Read more: Price County Review

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Kennan truck pull results in

The truck pull held as part of a larger 4th of July celebration in Kennan saw 13 truck entries make a total of 37 pulls.

Here are the results:

Class A-Showroom Stock under 5500 pounds: first place-Wayne Houle of Merrill with a pull of 300 feet; second place-Sadie Drew of Gleason with a pull of 261 feet 4 inches

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An Outdoorsman’s Journal: The best week of the year

Hello friends,

So here is the scenario! It is a Monday in mid-June; seven close family members and friends were flown into the Canadian bush via floatplane two days earlier.

The goal of each member of the “Canada Gang” is to catch up on a years worth of long-term fatigue and just as importantly, have as much fun as possible.

Read more: Price County Review

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GOP lawmakers slash $450M from transportation budget

Republican state lawmakers have approved a plan that would cut $450 million from Gov. Scott Walker’s transportation budget, but would still increase transportation debt to an all-time high.

Despite a substantial cut to the governor's transportation budget, the plan that Republican lawmakers approved on Thursday night would still borrow $850 million for roads and leave the state spending nearly 21 cents of every transportation dollar on debt service.

State Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, told Republicans that they punted on this issue.

Read more: Price County Review

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CSD Fitness Centers open to all soon

It has come to the end and yet it is really just beginning.

The 2012 three-year grant known as “PEP” or “Physical Education Program” has officially come to an end. Now, the benefits of the PEP grant which has been focused on the students of the Chequamegon School District will also begin to benefit the members of the community.

The prestigious CSD grant was one of 56 grants given that year which totaled $369,350 for the promotion of good health habits for district students and has brought in some outstanding athletic equipment which will now be opened for public use.

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Bookworm Sez: "Beneath the Bonfire"

Your neighbors are always quick with a “hello.”

You’ve spent many nights atop their deck and under the stars, enjoying a roaring firepit and hoisting a few. Your kids babysit their kids. Their kids bring you vegetables from the garden. But once you’ve read “Beneath the Bonfire” by Nickolas Butler, you may start looking askance at them.

You share recipes and parking spots, gossip and news. What goes on behind closed doors in your neighborhood (and in these ten short stories) could, however, surprise you.

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Education key in keeping kids safe from predators

While it may not be the easiest topic to broach with children, teaching youngsters how to protect themselves from potential predators is a crucial step in keeping the community’s youth safe.

Becky Steinbach, sexual assault program coordinator for TimeOut, said that when advocates discuss protection from sexual assault with younger age groups, they’re approaching it just like any other safety topic, for example crossing the road or fire or car safety.

“I like to address this as ‘body safety,’” Steinbach said.

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Natural Connections: Clay-colored sparrow returns

A light rain was just starting to taper off as we crashed through the brush. The spicy fragrance of crushed sweet fern tickled our noses pleasantly. Birds sang all around us. Pushing through the clumps of head-high, stump-spouting scrub oak and red maple, we stepped carefully over the sooty remains of trees. Coming up on a long, narrow open area, a tall metal pole appeared out of nowhere – like finding the lamppost in Narnia.

With a little squinting, we soon noticed some filmy, black netting strung from the pole, 30 feet through the open area, and hitched to a matching pole. A few raindrops sparkled on the web. Here, our small group of Wisconsin Master Naturalist students gathered around Jim Bryce, a retired biologist with the USDA Forest Service and National Park Service, and long-time bird bander.

Briefly, Jim explained how the mist net works. The fine black threads are nearly invisible, and they are strung to form long, floppy pockets. When an unsuspecting bird flies into the net, it drops into a pocket, and gets tangled in the net. Then a bander can carefully extricate the bird for processing.

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Relay for Life works to combat cancer

This year’s Relay for Life-Price County event held Friday, June 26 at the Park Falls Athletic Complex drew in a total of 11 teams with two of them new to the fundraiser.

Laurie Pieper, a member of the planning committee and team captain of the Powerful Pacers, noted that Relay organizers are always seeking new teams.

The fundraising goal for 2015 was set at $28,000. As of Tuesday, total funds brought in by the event sat at $20,850.

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Tight budget shrinks recreation areas in Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest

A drop in federal funding and in the number of users of the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest over the past few years is now translating to trimmed back recreational services and facilities, according to a recent news announcement from the CNNF.

The majority of the recreation sites in the Forest will remain open at the usual full service levels; however, there will be closures or a reduction of services at more than 30 others, including some local sites.

Hilary Markin spokesperson for the CNNF said that the reductions were necessary to balance the budget shortfall as the decreasing number of visitors had tipped the revenue versus expenses scale out of balance.

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State budget effects on northern Wisconsin discussed at NWRPC meeting

With the state budget under discussion, many of the topics at the Northwest Regional Planning Commission’s annual meeting in Hayward June 24 revolved around how it would affect northwestern Wisconsin.

Transportation funding was one such topic. Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) Systems Planning Chief Tom Beekman said that the current debate in the legislature isn’t over the size of the transportation under the governor’s budget proposal but rather how much of that budget should be funded by bonding. Beekman said that according to reports in the press, the legislature is considering budget reductions anywhere from $300-$800 million in the transportation budget as a means to minimize the bonding. However, it remains to be seen where that type of reduction would be applied within the overall transportation budget.

“[There] is a wide array of choices that the legislature could take to cut that reduction,” Beekman said.

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New scheduling system at Phillips High School

The June 15 meeting of the Phillips School Board wrapped up last school year and introduced the coming school year. Testing has concluded, with district administrator Rick Morgan saying that the district is overall very pleased with the results they have in hand. The district has still not received the district-wide ACT test results, although students are able to access their individual results. Results from the Badger exam test should be received at the district by mid-summer.

Changes will be coming for high school students this fall with the implementation of a new scheduling system, which returns students to a five-period day. For the past three years, the high school has been using an eight-period day, which was instituted more because of cuts and reductions than because it would be a good fit with Phillips students, according to principal Colin Hoogland. In the interest of using their resources to the best of their abilities, PHS staff felt the eight-hour days were ineffective and unproductive.

The schedule that will be implemented during the 2015-16 school year has been in development since August 2014 when a committee was formed with the end goal of creating a schedule that would work long-term for the district. “Our kids are involved in so much – extra curriculars, sports – we needed something that works for them,” Hoogland added.

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DNR plans environmental study of proposed northern Wisconsin hog farm

The state of Wisconsin will conduct an environmental review of a proposed hog farm near Lake Superior that would be the largest in the state if built.

According to Reicks View Farms, construction of the Badgerwood farm would be a $15 million undertaking that would result in a facility with roughly 26,000 hogs in Bayfield County, replacing herds in Iowa. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is calling for an environmental impact study of the project.

Reicks View Farms Manager Gene Noem said they also want the study.

Read more: Price County Review

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School District business takes no vacation

It may be “school’s out” for the rest of the Chequamegon School District, but the business end of things goes on as usual throughout the summer. The school board met last week at the Glidden campus and although there were no members of the public in attendance, the usual reports and communications were presented.

It appears that next year’s district budget remains on tender hooks until which time the state budget is signed, sealed and delivered – hopefully by the end of this week.

A written report from district administrator Dave Anderson stated that the state Joint Finance Committee had finally recognized the financial challenges faced by school districts coming out of consolidation. A motion was authored in regard to resetting revenue limits to ease those challenges; however the motion included only the district of Chetek-Weyerhaeuser and excluded the consolidated Chequamegon (Glidden/Park Falls) district.

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ATV traffic open on county highways

There were distinct sides drawn at the Price County Board meeting last week as the agenda asked for more discussion by board members concerning the recent vote to keep the ATV/UTV ordinances as originally written, followed by a second vote by the Highway and Transportation Committee to open the driving lanes of all county highways for the popular recreational machines.

Board Chairman Bob Kopisch said he’d added the topic to the agenda because given the number of phone calls he’d had from concerned constituents, he thought the board should have a more extensive discussion on the controversial idea of opening the county highways.

Speaking before the board comments, Price County ATV Association President Dale Tenut was present to clarify information concerning the age of the youngest riders, which had been reported as 12-years old.

Read more: Price County Review

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Music students go on ‘trip of a lifetime’

Band students from the Prentice and Phillips High School traveled to Boston earlier this year, where they had the opportunity to experience a different world of musical highlights and historical sites.

Justin Lindgren, Phillips band director, and Andrea Cress, Prentice band director, accompanied the students on the trip. “Justin Lindgren asked if I would be interested in taking any of my band students on a trip to Boston with his group,” said Cress of the trip, which included Prentice students for the first time. Some of the students on the trip had never been out of the state of Wisconsin, and this offered a great opportunity for them to experience different areas of the country.

Prentice ninth graders, Tyler Andreae and Carolyn Bauer, gave a presentation on the class trip to school board members at a recent meeting. “We really want to share our activities with you,” said Bauer, “because you are the ones that made this all possible.”

Full story: Price County Review

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Czech-Slovak Community Festival a big hit

The 32nd Annual Czech-Slovak Community Festival, held Friday, June 19-Sunday, June 21 at the Phillips High School and other destinations across the city, was a great success, according to Festival Chairman Bill Moravek.

Moravek noted that despite the rain seen Saturday morning, cars continually packed the parking lot and great crowds of folks were seen chatting with friends, family members, and visitors from outside the local community.

An estimated 2,000-3,000 people took part in some portion of the three-day festival.

Full story: Price County Review

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Family Dollar opens doors to new Park Falls store

On May 25, Family Dollar officially welcomed customers into a newly constructed store on Park Falls’ Highway 13, moving local retail operations of the merchandiser from the city’s downtown.

The physical relocation process kicked off last fall with the demolition of the old Hardee’s building on the property where the new shop was set to go up.

“Our goal was to locate the store closer to where our customers live, as our stores are rooted in value and convenience,” stated Cliff Cermak, community affairs specialist for Family Dollar. “We’re very pleased with our new location.”

Full story: Price County Review

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Adventures Out There: Northern Wisconsin

From the outside looking in, people tell me Wisconsin is an inconspicuous state. They know it has something to do with cows, and humans who survive on a diet of cheese, beer, and brats, and all go by the name Bubba. Corn fields and hayfields and tractors galore, these are the things Wisconsin's known for. But there's a darker side to the state that they keep mostly north, too far for any but the most determined tourists to travel.

For here, along with all the aforementioned, we also have mosquitoes and horseflies and ticks. Our hayfields are lined with quaint rock fences, made by clawing up the countless thousands of rocks that magically appear in the fields each spring. We also have bears, bobcats, and wolves, which seem to send cold chills down tourists' backs as they envision us northerners hiking Indiana Jones-style through these ferocious predators. For us, the reality is more along the lines of getting up at 2 a.m. to heave a rubber boot at a bear stuffing itself on birdseed and sugar water. Our lakes, while splashing over with muskies and panfish, also contain snapping turtles in great, hungry numbers.

We up here have grudgingly accepted this as the Land of the Great Mosquito, and its lakes are hatcheries. Our lives are dictated by two things: weather and insects. If it isn't 40 below, you have to becoming an unwilling blood donor every time you step out the front door.

Read more: Price County Review

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