WIAA Board Approves Basketball Shot Clock, Two Divisions in Boys Hockey Published on 06/23/2017 under Sports STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control reviewed and approved a number of committee recommendations impacting winter sports, gave initial review and consideration of a newly conceived divisional placement plan for basketball, and engaged in robust membership-related discussions at its June meeting today.


Following a lengthy discussion, the Board voted to implement the use of a 35-second shot clock in basketball for varsity games only to begin with the 2019-20 season.


In other basketball-related action, coaches qualifying for the Sate Tournament will determine the seeds for the four qualifying teams in each of the five divisions with a Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association representative breaking any ties that may occur beginning in 2017-18.


Three other basketball recommendations received approval from the Board. If schools choose to play only one half of a junior varsity game and a full varsity game, players will be allowed to play in only two halves. Also approved was extending the coaching box to 28 feet from 14 feet for all levels. In addition, the number of players per team allowed to dress during the Tournament Series will increase to 18 while maintaining the maximum party limit of 22.


The Board also voted to convene the basketball coaches advisory committee following the 2017 Area Meetings to discuss the merits of a newly created basketball tournament placement model. Details of the plan will be shared and discussed at the Area Meetings and at each level of the committee process to be presented to the Board at its Jan. 31, 2018 meeting. General details of the plan is provided below.


The Board supported an amended recommendation for a two-year experiment on sponsoring two divisions in boys hockey beginning with the 2020 State Tournament. The tournament format will feature four teams in Division 1 and four in Division 2 with the smallest 32 programs by enrollment assigned to Division 2.


Another action item in hockey was the approval of the procedure for seeding the State Tournament. The WIAA will conduct a conference call with coaches of qualifying teams to determine the top four seeds, and the remaining four teams will be randomly drawn as opponents of the seeded teams in the brackets. The guidelines for seeding will replicate those for the regional and sectional levels.

Beginning next season, the State Tournament in team wrestling will also be seeded by coaches of qualifying teams. The process will replicate the procedure approved in boys hockey. Another wrestling recommendation approved for 2017-18 increases the total number of medals awarded to 28 at the State Team Tournament, which equals the number of eligible athletes. In other wrestling-related discussions, the Board was informed of a change in the Feb. 1, one-pound growth allowance to take effect on the date of the first regional competition.

The lone gymnastics coaches' recommendation received approval. It requires the final average score of a routine to be posted during meets throughout the season.

The Board also ratified spring cooperative programs for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, general fund financial statements and payments and a spending resolution during development of the 2017-18 operational budget.

Among the additional discussions were a review of the 2017 spring State Tournaments, updates on Assembly Bill 260/Senate Bill 232, the 2017 New Athletic Director Workshop, possible 2017 Area Meeting topics, and potential Constitution items for the 2018 Annual Meeting.

The Board also received liaison reports from John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Peggy Seegers-Braun of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.

The WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 511 senior high schools and 41 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It sponsors 27 championship tournament series. For more information, please contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.


In Other News

Northern National Art Competition Gallery Opens on Nicolet Campus
Published on 09/21/2017 under News This past weekend Nicolet College held a reception opening one of the premier art exhibits in the region. Over the next month, the Nicolet Gallery will host the Northern National Art Competition exhibit, now in its 30th year. Katy Ralph, the gallery director said, "Every year the exhibit features an amazing collection of pieces and this year, again, meets that high standard." As for the competition, they were judged by Gary Freeburg, a professor of art at James Madison University. He was tasked with reviewing 448 entries and selecting just 90 pieces for the exhibit. The artists in that initial pool represented 24 different states and shared in more than $8,000 in prize money. After last weekend's reception, the gallery is now open to the public, with free admission. It's open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm. It will remain through October 20.
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DoT Planning Highway 45 Project in Langlade County Starting Monday
Published on 09/21/2017 under News The Department of Transportation is planning a road project on Highway 45 in Langlade County starting next week. They'll have an informational meeting on the project today. As for the project, crews will be resurfacing the Highway south of Antigo. Other improvements include: culvert replacements, rumble strips and new beam guards. American Asphalt was selected as the contractor for the $1.1 million dollar project. It is being funded by federal and state dollars on an 80/20 split. The Highway will remain open throughout construction with some temporary lane closures and flagging. Work is scheduled for completion by November. The DoT will be hold an informational meeting this morning in Antigo. The contractor will be available to answer questions regarding the activities and traffic management. It'll be held at Antigo City Hall from 9:30 to 10:30.
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Hunters Can Pursue Collared or Ear-Tagged Deer
Published on 09/21/2017 under News While out in the field, hunters may observe a collared or ear-tagged deer. The DNR is reminding hunters to treat these animals like any other when pursuing game. Many of the animals, particularly in Southwestern portions of the state, were tagged as part of an study into deer mortality. Dan Storm, a DNR ungulate research ecologist says, "The most important thing for hunters to know is that collared and tagged deer and coyotes should be treated just like the rest of the animals in the area. He says "Collared and tagged deer are absolutely fine to harvest, so if you would otherwise harvest that deer, go ahead and take it. If you would normally let it pass by, do so," While the study is geared towards chronic wasting, Storm noted the animals were randomly collared and it does not indicate anything about any particular animal's health. Normal licensing and harvest regulations apply, however hunters harvesting a collared deer should also call the number listed on the collar, so DNR staff can retrieve each collar.
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Rhinelander Man Charged in Toddler's Death
Published on 09/21/2017 under News The father of a Rhinelander toddler who died last spring is now facing charges. Trung Tran made his initial appearance in Oneida County Court yesterday. According to court records he is being charged with two felonies, child neglect resulting in death and failure to prevent bodily harm to a child. The charges are the result of an investigation into the death of Tran's 20 month old child. The investigation has previously resulted in reckless homicide charges against his wife Ellen, also the child's stepmother. The child died of blunt force trauma to the head back in April, while under Ellen Tran's care. At yesterday's hearing, Trung Tran was held on a $10,000 bond. A preliminary hearing has been set for October 24.
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Preparedness Month: Plan for Communication During Emergencies
Published on 09/21/2017 under News As we have been covering over the past few weeks, September is Preparedness Month here in the state of Wisconsin and local officials are partnering with state agencies in making sure residents are prepared. The theme for this year is 'disasters don't plan ahead, but you can.' In the event of a disaster, Ready Wisconsin says that a plan is important and that includes communication. Depending on the type of emergency, communication can become difficult with wide spread power outages. Ready Wisconsin notes that phone service may also be overwhelmed or simply unavailable. They note that text messages use less bandwidth and may be a more reliable way to communicate. The agency also says that calling outside the area may be better than a local call. They recommend designating a friend or family member from outside of the area to be an "out of town' contact. During an emergency situation that person can more easily serve as a check-in and relay any messages.
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Rhinelander Church Launches Hurricane Relief Collection
Published on 09/21/2017 under News Here in Tomahawk, we've already seen the generosity of the Northwoods in collecting for Hurricane relief. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Tomahawk natives and current Texas residents Nick and Amanda Glaeser lead a local drive that resulted in several truckloads of supplies being collected for the Houston area. Over in Rhinelander, the First United Methodist Church is hoping to do the same. This week, they've announced a collection effort held in partnership with a larger effort lead by Midwest Mission Distribution Center. They noted that the items will benefit the victims of both Harvey and Irma. According to the announcement, the 'critical need' items include: liquid laundry detergent, liquid household cleaner, liquid dish soap, deodorant and insect repellant. The church has a full list of need items on their website. We'll include a link in the online version of this story. http://rhinelanderumc.org/hurricane-relief-list/ The Church has a drop off location on their grounds on Arbutus Street. The collection effort got underway on Monday and will run through Sunday October 6.
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Tomahawk Volleyball Team Hosting Quad
Published on 09/21/2017 under Sports The Tomahawk Hatchet Varsity Volleyball Team is hosting a Quad on Thursday at the Fieldhouse. The Hatchets are hosting Athens, Stevens Point and Wittenberg-Birnamwood, with the opening matches at 5:00 pm.
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Lincoln County Board Green Lights 'Wheel Tax'
Published on 09/20/2017 under News With the passage of a vehicle registration fee last night, the Lincoln County Board hopes to close a shortfall in their upcoming budget. The vehicle registration fee is commonly referred to as a wheel tax. After lengthy discussions during a nearly 3 hour meeting, the board ultimately voted 11-7 to approve a $20 fee for one year, revisiting the topic again next year if they choose to continue. According to the literature accompanying the ordinance, numerous municipalities and counties have turned to wheel taxes ranging from $10 to $30. Our neighbors to the south in Marathon County currently have a $25 vehicle registration fee. With 27,045 registered vehicles in Lincoln County, a $20 fee would provide $536,000. The money would cover the shortfall while freeing up additional dollars for capitol improvement and road funding. Prior to its approval, 2 amendments raising the fee to $25 and $23 respectively were defeated, as was a motion to lay over the topic to next meeting. The proposal was supported by Finance Director Dan Leydet, as well as County Administrator Randy Scholz. During the discussion several supervisors noted their reluctant support, not wanting to raise costs, but also wanting to preserve the services provided by the county.
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Lincoln County Board Hears Presentation/Discusses Budget Shortfall
Published on 09/20/2017 under News Prior to a vote creating a vehicle registration fee, the Lincoln County Board spent several hours discussing the upcoming budget. One of the first items on the agenda at last night's meeting was the longest as finance director Dan Leydet walked the board through a half hour presentation, followed by more than an hour of discussion. That initial discussion include a history of levy limits and the desire to avoid pushing shortfall's down the road. The item at hand was the shortfall in the preliminary budget. Leydet explained that the initial proposals from department heads came in $800,000 high. Through various cuts and adjustments the figure was reduced to $231,000. As the discussion continued supervisors weighed in as did department heads including the Sheriff and Highway Commissioner on how further cuts would affect their departments. Several supervisor spoke in metaphor, noting that the fat has already been cut, and future actions would be to the meat. During that conversation, Supervisor Loretta Baughan made a motion to require a 4.2% cut from all departments receiving levy dollars. That was defeated handily after discussions noting that task is not as simple as it seems due to the way various departments are revenue producers (the forestry department) or grant/service dependent (land services) Ultimately the decision came down to deeper cuts into county services or alternative revenue sources which came in the form of that wheel tax later in the meeting.
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Lincoln County Board Recap
Published on 09/20/2017 under News With nearly all of the meeting time devoted to the budget and vehicle registration fee, the remainder of last night's Lincoln County Board meeting went fairly quickly. As always the board recognized service to the county: 10 years-Daniel Kainz-Highway Department; 15 years-Christine Turner-Sheriff's Office; 20 years-Michelle Sczygelski-Lincoln Industries; and 25 years- Brian Kinglsey-Sheriff's Office. The board approved a request for work on a storm water retention system to alleviate flooding of the Social Service building. That flooding was the result of an old storm sewer that was not marked on any plans. It was discovered during the Pinecrest project. The board approved an update to the Land Services software system. Administrator Matt Bremer noted that that previous system is more than 20 years old and has served them well, but it is time to modernize the system to the 21st century. A pair of land transfers were approved with minimal discussion. The first was a 100 foot swath of land along the property owners lot line. It was previously held by the county for the potential development of a road which is no longer likely. The second request would allow the completion of a Town of Merrill property being annexed by the City of Merrill. Finally, there were two re-zoning requests, one was withdrawn prior to the meeting, the other was approved with minimal discussion. A motion to waive the fee was voted down.
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