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PARENTS HAVE CONCERNS WITH IEPS, ALLEGED LACK OF COMMUNICATION IN PHILLIPS - UPDATED


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-17-2024, 02:37 AM

   

A group of parents with students in the Phillips School District are reaching out to other parents with concerns they have presented to administration and other staff members.  They are inviting other parents who may have similar concerns to attend the May 20, 2024 school board meeting to bring light to their concerns.

The main issue for these parents is that they feel some members of the school are not properly implementing and over-looking the details of the Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for their children.  Two of those parents gave us more details regarding their concerns.

Carol Noftz has been a foster parent for a number of years, fostering 26 children, the majority of who had IEPs over the last twelve years.  Carol stated she noticed changes in the 2022-23 school year.  Carol has a son that was at the third-grade level last year.  She stated they pulled him out of his special education class and put him in a mainstream sixth grade class.  "He was so lost and causing behaviors and problems," Carol shared, "not only for himself, but for all the kids in his class.  It's not right to throw a child three grades ahead and expect them to be able to do it."  Carol said it took her about six weeks to get that situation resolved, which included going all the way up the ladder, from case manager to pupil services to the superintendent, which was the position held by Rick Morgan last year.  She felt she got nowhere and had to demand an IEP meeting and that her son be pulled out of sixth grade math.

Carol stated that she feels this year her other son, who is in first grade, is not getting the education program he needs.  She feels they don't write what is discussed in his IEP, and she feels they do whatever they want instead of following the program.  "The principal and his teacher have been trying to work with me, but his case manager just does what she wants and does not follow what I am asking them to do," Carol shared.

"My son's first grade teacher and the principal have been phenomenal through this whole experience.  They are now trying to help my son without using the special education teacher because she refuses to follow the IEP, and they are doing great.  I have talked to the superintendent [a position now held by Rachel Hoffman] about trying to correct this, and she says she is working on it, but I just don't see it," Carol stated.  "I loved this school five years ago when I moved here.  Just the last two years have been a major struggle for me with a few people who don't believe they have to follow the rules.  I have been fighting with them for the last two years, trying to get justice."

Carol said she has talked with the superintendent and members of the school board but added, "Most of the school board did not have any idea that any of this was going on."  Carol understands that the superintendent wants the issues to be brought up to her so she can handle it.  Carol added, "But, in my case, she is not handling much of anything.  She does try a little bit but probably 3/4 of the time does not even respond to the issues.  I have gone in front of her and brought many things to her attention and have not always gotten answers."

Carol stated that the Director of Pupil Services, Kate Peterson, is working to get students back in mainstream classrooms.  She said, "Putting kids all back in mainstream classes, that are years behind, is just not going to work."  Carol feels the school is not meeting the state's requirements.

Carol is asking other parents with concerns to attend the May 20th school board meeting.  "Three years ago, this school district cared about all of the children and helped all of the children,...but with this management, we will never have it.  We need to stand up for our kids and bring our caring school back," Carol advised.

"I would like to encourage all parents to go and tell the board what problems they are having with their child's education....Everybody needs to look into their children and see exactly what is going on with their kids so that their children can get the education that they deserve, not what the state thinks they need," Carol stated.  "Unfortunately, I know that so many of the community are tied to the school in some way, shape, or form."  Carol feels people may be scared about losing their jobs or how their children will be impacted if they speak up.  She added, "I am one of them that are dealing with that right now.  I am a paraprofessional at school....Thank God for me that my children are much more important than my job, and I can go anywhere and get a job, but my kids cannot go anywhere and get a different education."

Another parent, Wendy Marie Watkins, has a son in 4th grade with autism, sensory disorder, and dyspraxia.  Given her son's medical needs, it was recommended that he take his schooling virtually.  Wendy said, "We tried so many different ways to get my son the schooling he needed, but, in that process, the school fought me on every single angle all the way from kindergarten to now.  We’ve battled and battled and no change.

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"Last year, as a third grader, my son was virtual but still enrolled through Phillips School with a specific IEP and direction of instruction.  My son's teacher was to log in for 45 minutes to an hour daily at exact, specific timing.  That teacher never logged in and many times I had reached out to Kate Peterson who kept telling me she would be sure things changed and his IEP could be followed.  Days went by to weeks to months and still no change.  With many ignored e-mails and phone calls, I had enough.  I finished out the year teaching my son on my own.  Fast forward to this year for 4th grade, we had yet another IEP meeting to set ground expectations of what my child’s schooling would look like."  However, Wendy feels his IEP was again not followed and she feels excuses were made when she reached out to the director of pupil services and the superintendent.  She also said she recently found out her son was never tested with the Woodcock-Johnson Test for him to have an IEP to determine his cognitive needs, so he was given that test recently.  With the difficulties she has felt in getting her son the education he needs and deserves, she said they decided to fully pull their son out of the district due to lack of communication and results. 

Wendy explained that they needed a final IEP meeting with the school to determine what her son's school day would look like if he was re-enrolled into the district in 2024-25.  Due to Wendy's work schedule, she e-mailed the school stating the meeting would need to be rescheduled, but she says she never heard back with a new meeting date.  She stated she asked Superintendent Rachel Hoffman about the meeting and was told they had the IEP meeting without her and finalized it on their own, but Wendy says a parent is supposed to be present for IEP finalization.

"We did get some relief when Nicki Kaufman, [special education teacher], got involved, and my son was doing very well working with her daily for 45 minutes, and then he would come home," Wendy said.  "Rachel Hoffman then stepped in and stated my son would have to be in the district in regular classrooms for eight hours a day, but that’s not possible with everything he’s got going on, and so here we are home schooling our son due to the district not making efforts to fix the problem or correct their wrongdoings."

Last year, a school board member told Wendy to write a letter to explain her concerns, so Wendy wrote a letter, but she said she never heard back from the school board.

She further said, "I feel our district doesn’t have enough professional teachers to do the job for all the students who have IEPs in our district.  I feel all paraprofessionals and teachers should be aware of every child that’s in the school and their conditions.  There should be someone else other than one person to reach out to when things aren’t being followed.  I could go on for days about many things we’ve struggled with, but it would be like writing a book."

Wendy added, "My advice for other parents who are attending [the school board meeting] or who happen to read this article, please step up and come forward if you're going through any of these same struggles.  So many parents have spoken up and something has to change.  Our children deserve a good education where they are safe, and they have their direct IEPs followed."

In an attempt to have all viewpoints represented, we reached out to Superintendent Rachel Hoffman and Phillips School Board President Jon Pesko, letting them know, "Some parents have reached out to us feeling that their children's IEPs are not getting followed.  They stated they plan to attend the upcoming school board meeting to voice their concerns, though they state they have made attempts to talk with two superintendents, a principal, the director of pupil services, some teachers, and some school board members.  They stated that the principal and two teachers are trying to help them.  They feel they are not getting much help beyond that.  While we realize you cannot comment on any one child specifically, please let me know if you want to provide any information about how the school handles IEPs or parent concerns or anything you would like to state about these situations in general."  We did not hear back from Rachel or Jon before the deadline we gave them.  If either of them shares information, we will update this article.  (Read the response from Superintendent Hoffman updated on 5-22-24, which can be found at the end of this article.)

The school board meeting will be held on May 20, 2024 at 6 p.m. in the Phillips High School Performing Arts Center (auditorium).  Any parents with concerns or community members who would like to support either these parents or the school are encouraged to attend the meeting for public comment.

UPDATED 5-20-24:  Four people spoke during public comment regarding this issue.  Since the topic was not on the agenda, no action was taken at this time, but the school board has been informed about the concerns.

SUPERINTENDENT RACHEL HOFFMAN REPLIES ABOUT IEPS AND PARENTS' CONCERNS

UPDATED 5-22-24:  On May 22, 2024, Superintendent Rachel Hoffman replied to our request for comments about IEPs and the concerns of parents.  She stated she was out of the office early in the week and appreciated our patience with her response time.

Regarding IEPs, she stated, "As you noted, I can't speak to any particular student or individual case, but I can share about the process that the district uses when working with students who need IEPs.  We follow state guidelines and timelines in regards to the procedural aspects of completing the IEP process.  This includes creating and convening an IEP team that includes many people including the parents, school staff, and others that may provide information that's helpful in creating a program for each student.  This is a team process."

As for concerns of parents or students, the superintendent shared, "They can share those concerns with any of the following people for initial help:  case manager or special education teacher, regular education teacher, building principal, Director of Pupil Services, or myself.  If parents or students believe their concerns aren't being adequately addressed, then they can reach out to DPI for additional support.  I have met with families this year and provided that information to them which includes contact information at the DPI where they can request mediation, IEP facilitation, file a complaint, or request a due process hearing."

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POLICE REPORTS:  APRIL 2024


News: Countywide    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-17-2024, 02:10 AM

   

Reports received by the police departments in Price County for the month have been condensed and summarized.

PRICE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

The reports from the end of March were not received at the time of publication last month, so an overview has been included with this month's summary

3-25-24:  A man and woman reported their vehicle was off the roadway and into the ditch.  They did not believe there was damage, and there were no injuries.

3-26-24:  An anonymous caller reported a child screaming for the past few days and a female that seemed to be screaming at the child.  The caller found the screaming to be disturbing.

3-28-24:  A Catawba man reported his Google business listing was listed as being "closed."  Also, someone created a Facebook profile that spoofed his own profile.  A woman in Rhinelander accused him of cheating and was posting about the alleged cheating.  There were comments made on the post about making the man leave the area.  He stated his girlfriend was also being harassed with fake Snapchat accounts.

3-29-24:  Possible child abuse was reported in Prentice.

3-30-24:  A Brantwood man reported a downed power line in the Township of Knox that was snapped by a semi-truck.

3-30-24:  A Brantwood man reported he and his wife had a fight and the woman left, taking their child with her.  The man was angry and swearing at dispatch.  He stated that dispatch better find his wife instead of him finding her because it would not end well.  Dispatch made contact with the wife.

3-31-24:  A Phillips woman stated her neighbor put a paw trap on her property to intentionally harm or kill her cat, and she was taking the cat to the vet.  She stated her neighbor has been trespassing on her property.

4-1-24:  A Fifield woman called stating a renter had been taking photographs of private parts and sending the photos to other renters.  The caller was informed she had 30 complaints filed with the sheriff's office accusing her of doing things, but she said she was only contacted about three of the complaints.

4-1-24:  A store in Prentice reported two thefts that occurred, one on March 15th and one on March 31, 2024.

4-2-24:  A Catawba woman reported she and her passenger were in a roll-over accident, and they were in their seatbelts and unable to get out of the vehicle.

4-5-24:  A Phillips woman said she received a scam call where a man named "Frank" said he was from Medicare and she owed $36,000 for a procedure.  Then "Frank" changed that to a doctor's appointment.  The woman could hear kids and traffic in the background and told the man she knew it was a scam.

4-6-24:  A man and woman found a six-year-old child walking near Bobcat Road.  The child knew his name and where he lived.  They brought the child to his home and a woman was walking down the driveway with a toddler.  She and the child looked dirty.  The couple felt the female did not seem concerned that the child was found on a highway.

4-6-24:  A Park Falls woman stated a woman was outside an apartment yelling and creating a disturbance.

4-7-24:  A man reported a male removed skirting from around his trailer.

4-8-24:  The Eau Claire Police Department advised they received a call from a male, who spoke in Broken English, stating, "I just killed my wife" and then hung up the phone.  The Eau Claire Police Department tried to call the number back, but it was no longer in service.  The sheriff, a lieutenant, and three deputies responded.  Central Price County Ambulance Service was paged to be on standby due to Prentice Ambulance Service being on another call.

4-9-24:  A FedEx driver was bitten by a dog in Price County and was at the medical center in Woodruff.

4-11-24:  A tenant at an apartment complex on Eyder Avenue reported a tenant slamming her door, yelling at the kids in the complex, and making a bunch of noise.

4-11-24:  A Phillips man reported vandalism at his property.

4-13-24:  A Brantwood man called to report someone broke into his home and stole a loaf of bread from his refrigerator.

4-13-24:  A Phillips woman called to report her son had a seizure and was not responsive.  Dispatch advised the woman to lay the child on a blanket or carpet; not put anything in his mouth; place a cold, wet washcloth under his neck; and to tilt the child on his side if he appeared to be choking.  The Central Price County Ambulance responded.

4-13-24:  A Park Falls man called 911 to report his male neighbor had shot his female neighbor in their front yard, and the female was not moving.  Police covered the area looking for the suspect.  See related story.

4-15-24:  A man turned himself in on a Price County warrant.

4-15-24:  A woman called stating she could hear a man and woman yelling at each other and possibly arguing about dogs and the female not grabbing the dog leash fast enough.  She also heard the woman crying and hitting the side of the camper while the man was inside.

4-15-24:  An Ogema man reported having issues with a farm in the Town of Ogema.

4-15-24:  A Park Falls woman reported her brother brought his horse onto her property when she was not home.  The horse defecated on the property, but her brother refused to clean it up.

4-16-24:  A man reported a tree that appeared to be cut 3/4 of the way through which was leaning over Shady Knoll Road.

4-16-24:  A Park Falls woman advised of a large package that was taken from her yard after being delivered that day.

4-18-24:  A man reported a two-vehicle accident in Park Falls.

4-21-24:  An Ogema woman reported her house was on fire.  Everyone appeared to be out of the house.  The woman believe it caught fire from a cigarette that was placed on a piece of cardboard up against the house.

4-22-24:  A Phillips woman reported a scam call where someone said he was her grandson and was in an accident and needed $16,000.  She said the information he had was incorrect about her grandson, and she did not give him any money.

4-23-24:  A Phillips man reported a vehicle rollover in Fifield.  He stated a logging truck rear-ended a vehicle and rolled over.  No injuries were reported.

4-24-24:  A Phillips business reported a chainsaw as being stolen.

4-25-24:  A student became very upset, started flipping out, and created a disturbance in the Prentice School District.  The student then left the school.

4-27-24:  An Ogema man reported cows on his property.

4-28-24:  A woman called reporting that her adult daughter was involved in a domestic incident, and the mother believed her daughter was being harmed.  She felt her daughter had been pinned down and drugged by a man.

4-28-24:  A woman reported several bags of used cat litter and a bottle of needles on her property line in Ogema.

4-28-24:  A woman reported her daughter was missing from a residence in Prentice.  The woman was going to pick up the daughter from a residence.  The girl allegedly went to say "good-bye" to the dog and never came back.  The woman stated they were in the woods looking for the girl, but she was not responding.  The daughter was located about 26 minutes later.

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PHILLIPS POLICE DEPARTMENT

4-1-24:  Spoke with an owner of a building in the alley behind the 100-block of Avon Avenue that was a safety concern due to the structure.  An officer set up a time for an inspection.

4-3-24:  Advised of two individuals yelling at each other in an apartment complex in the City of Phillips.  An officer arrived on scene and spoke with both individuals who stated they were arguing over an animal.  The officer was advised nothing physical occurred.

4-8-24:  Advised by Price County Animal Control of warning letters that were sent to address the violation of failure to register animals.

4-10-24:  Advised by a local school that a juvenile male student had damaged school property.  The property was able to be repaired.

4-11-24:  Received a report of an individual screaming and slamming doors at an apartment complex on Eyder Avenue.  A woman was issued a citation for disorderly conduct.

4-11-24:  Police were advised of people on the Elk Lake Park stage messing with property on the stage.  The individuals stated a Frisbee landed on the stage, and they were trying to locate it amongst the chairs.

4-11-24:  Police noticed people on South Lake Avenue at a retail store after hours.  The individuals said they were dumpster diving.  Police told them to leave the property, and this matter is under investigation.

4-13-24:  A 15-month-old child reportedly had a seizure and was breathing in a shallow manner on Flemings Rapids Road.  Police determined the child was breathing but not conscious.  An ambulance transported the child to the medical center.

4-14-24:  Police received information that a man who had an extraditable Illinois warrant was on Fairway Drive.  An officer arrested the man and transported him to the Price County Jail.

Please note:  For the third week of April 2024, reports from April 2023 were sent to My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin.  We requested the April 2024 file.  If it is received, we will add the summarized and condensed reports to this article.

4-23-24:  Police observed a vehicle drive off when the officer pulled up, leaving an adult male in the roadway.  The adult male, who appeared very intoxicated, stated that the driver asked if he needed a ride home.  The officer was able to make a traffic stop on the vehicle.  The two parties stated that they had a disagreement, and the adult male requested space.  The officer was able to determine that the two parties were having a family dispute.  The adult male was given a citation for open intoxicants in a motor vehicle.

4-24-24:  Police spoke with an individual that wanted to report an ongoing theft complaint on Depot Street.  The individual took matters into his own hands and created a disturbance.  Phillips Police issued a city ordinance citation for disorderly conduct.

4-24-24:  A woman on Flambeau Avenue was given citations for disorderly conduct and trespassing due to an altercation at a residence.

4-24-24:  A juvenile female student sent harassing electronic messages to an 18-year-old male.  An officer issued a verbal warning to the juvenile female.

4-24-24:  A juvenile female created a disturbance on the playground and was referred to Price County Human Services Department for disorderly conduct.

4-25-24:  A man reported his ex-significant other messaged him and tried calling him, which is against a domestic abuse order.  An officer arrested an adult female for violating a domestic abuse order and misdemeanor bail jumping.

4-26-24:  A domestic situation occurred on Minnow Lake Road.  Police responded and arrested a man for domestic disorderly conduct and battery.  Contraband was recovered and individuals were cited.

4-26-24:  A dump truck took down a power line while working on Fifield Street.  An officer discovered the line was not live.  The power company was contacted to repair the downed power line.

4-26-24:  Police were advised of a child abuse incident that occurred at a local restaurant on Lake Avenue.  An officer spoke with the child's father who advised the officer of incidents where the child's mother had abused the child.  An investigation is ongoing.

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PARK FALLS POLICE DEPARTMENT

4-4-24:  An officer requested a defendant be located and picked up for a warrant. Additionally, the subject was supposed to report for jail but did not. The defendant was located and turned over to a deputy.

4-5-24:  An officer received information regarding four intoxicated juveniles driving in a vehicle.  The vehicle was unable to be located.

4-5-24:  Officers responded for the report of a male suspect looking into a residential window.  An officer located two males running down street, one matching the suspect's description.  Two juveniles were warned for curfew, trespassing, and obstruction.

4-6-24:  An officer was dispatched for a domestic incident.  One male suspect was later arrested upon criminal charges.

4-7-24:  Officers assisted the Price County Sheriff's Office with the execution of a search warrant in the City of Park Falls.  One female was taken into custody upon drug charges.

4-7-24:  Received a report of a male individual removing trailer skirting from the victim's trailer.  A suspect was identified and arrested for theft and criminal damage to property.

4-9-24:  Received a request for a welfare check.  The caller was concerned about their cat, which has a chronic illness.  There were not enough pressing circumstances to enter the residence.

4-10-24:  A husband and wife reported being victims of a scam for the past three weeks.  Initially, they purchased a computer cleaning service from an online company for $30.  The company had remote access to their computer.  Then they received e-mails and mail for credit cards opened in their names.  Two withdrawals occurred for about $600.78.  The couple deactivated their computer, and it was being cleaned by a reputable company.

4-12-24:  Police responded to a store due to a complaint of a female attempting to use a stolen credit card.  An investigation is ongoing.

4-13-24:  Police conducted a traffic stop where a driver was operating with an expired driver's license.  The K9 unit alerted on vehicle.  A search of the vehicle produced methamphetamine, Fentanyl, and drug paraphernalia.  One suspect was arrested and taken to the Price County Jail.

4-21-24:  A concerned citizen notified police of two intoxicated males walking in the middle of traffic down South Hwy. 13.  The males were both located urinating in the middle of 1st Street North.  The subjects were identified and cited for public urination and then released.

4-24-24:  A squad car hit a mailbox.  There was no damage to the squad car and minimal damage to the mailbox.  The owner was not concerned.

4-27-24:  Juveniles were seen throwing dirt at passing vehicles.  A parent was contacted.

4-27-24:  There was an incident of illegal dumping of trash and other refuse at Nola Cemetery.

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SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILLIPS ANNOUNCES STUDENTS OF THE MONTH FOR MAY 2024


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-16-2024, 03:55 AM

   

The Phillips Middle School has announced the Students of the Month for May 2024.

Austin East, sixth grade, is the son of Terri East.  In his free time, Austin likes to draw, read, make things, and learn other languages.  He thinks he was chosen for this honor because he is always nice to people and never treats people wrong.  Austin loves seeing his friends at school and participating in all of the activities middle school has to offer.

Andrew Meyer, seventh grade, is the son of Stacy and Jim Meyer.  Andrew participates in E-Sports at school and enjoys playing “sandbox” games.  He also likes  woodworking, flying RC airplanes, and fishing in his spare time.  Andrew’s favorite part of middle school is the warm lunches, hands-on social studies projects, and playing with friends at recess.

Clara Weiler, eighth grade, is the daughter of Kelly and William Weiler.  Clara’s extracurricular activities include any kind of art.  She loves to read books, play softball, and play all sorts of games.  When asked why she thinks she was chosen as a Student of the Month, Clara said, “I think I was chosen because I try to be nice to people.  I also like to smile at people when I can and try to help my fellow classmates and teachers.”  Clara’s favorite thing about middle school is all the freedom they get in picking classes and the friendships she gains from fellow classmates.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT POSSIBLE CHANGES IN PHILLIPS


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    1 Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-14-2024, 02:12 PM

   
Image captured from a 3-second video of people waving and making a "woo" sound on the count of three, provided by Lyn Ludwig, Price County United Limited

Residents have asked My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin many questions about Price County United Limited's plans for Phillips if the approximately $20 million in grants is awarded later this month.  Some questions include who is on the board, which of the other five properties the grant will cover, if there are plans for the Fred Mueller Ford building to be demolished and the property be used for migrant housing, what happens to the Lionite building and Phillips if the grants are not received, and more.  We spoke with two members of the three-person board of directors.

Lynda (Lyn) Ludwig is the president of the board.  On the Price County United Limited (PCUL) website, she lists  her experience in the family business, as she is the daughter of Carl Marschke, who founded Marquip.  She states she has been a veterinarian for 24 years.

Blake Pluemer is the vice president of PCUL.  He works at BW Papersystems.  His listed experiences include 38 years in the packaging industry, field service engineer, vice president of sales, and vice president of operations at a manufacturing company.

Cheryl Moore is the secretary / treasurer for Price County United Limited.  She is listed as having 35 years in accounting and public finance having been an accounts payable supervisor for 30 years.  She is the current Village of Catawba president, a title she has held for over 20 years.

The website states, "We have joined together to shepherd Price County United Limited in our mission to support community & economic development through community engagement and our activities include but are not limited to the preservation of our historic culture and buildings, supporting public recreation trails, remediation of brownfield sites, and all aspects of work to combat community deterioration."

On April 26, 2024, we reached out to Price County United Limited with some questions.  Lyn Ludwig, president of PCUL, replied, "Thank you for your interest in the PCUL developments and for your follow-up questions.  Is this for a newspaper or online story??  We are doing another community engagement 5/1/24 that answers those questions.  Check out our website.  Thanks for seeking accurate reporting."

My Price County replied to Lyn but did not receive the answers to our questions after our reply, so we reached out to Blake Pluemer, vice president of Price County United Limited, on May 9, 2024.  He replied that Lyn Ludwig would get us the answers by our deadline.

Our questions, a number of which were submitted to us by community members, included:

1.  What are the five other properties that the grant will cover?  What is being proposed for those properties?  Does PCUL already own the properties, or are those properties in negotiations?

2.  Do you know if PCUL has secured the grants?  If not, when will PCUL know the grants have been secured?

3.  When will changes start taking place if PCUL receives the grants?

4.  What happens to Lionite and the plan for Phillips if PCUL doesn't receive the grants?

5.  Is the Fred Mueller Ford building going to be torn down and the property used for migrant housing?

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Lyn replied on May 13, 2024.  In answer to Question 2, she let us know that PCUL has not secured the grants yet but will know in the next couple weeks.  She stated, "We are actively pursuing grants to support our mission.  We are partnering with the City of Phillips to pursue grants for our "complete street" model and the EPA Community Change Grant.  We have applied but are awaiting announcement of our EPA Clean Up Grant for the local mill.  PCUL is the applicant.  We are anticipating hearing from EPA the next couple weeks to know if we have received the EPA Clean Up Grant for the 9.2 acres of mill buildings.  We have many avenues for solutions to resolve the challenges that our community faces."  She added that she will let My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin know when she hears about the issuance or denial of the EPA Clean Up Grant.

She further stated, "Price County United Limited is applying for a Community Change Grant that involves four gateway areas to downtown Phillips, Wisconsin and also some programs that will meet the objectives of the grant.  There are six objectives that we will use to help solve some of our most pressing challenges in the area.  The six objectives are listed in the survey found on our website.  The challenges are low income, poor health, and low life expectancy.  By strategically changing the built environment in key locations in our community, we are providing a solution for future resilience and sustainability.  Key take-aways are to create and preserve local wealth, improve the health of our community, attract youth and workforce while creating a vibrant and prosperous community, and preserving historic character."

We did not receive answers to Questions 1, 3, 4, and 5 regarding which buildings will be affected, when changes may start taking place in Phillips, what will happen if the grants are not awarded, and if there will be migrant housing in downtown Phillips.  On May 13, 2024, we requested the information again from Lyn and Blake, and we will update this article when we receive more information to answer the community's questions.

At meetings with the Phillips Planning Commission, county board, and library board, Lyn has mentioned various buildings, such as Hilgy's LP Gas at 225 South Lake Avenue, Gowey Abstract & Title Company at 215 South Lake Avenue, Express Mart at 235 North Lake Avenue, Fred Mueller Ford at 175 North Avon Avenue, and Lionite at 115 Depot Street.  However, according to the Register of Deeds, as of the time of publication, the only one listed as being owned by PCUL is the Lionite property, which came into PCUL ownership on April 1, 2024.

At those meetings, information and documents were shared by Lyn.  My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin published the following information on March 31, 2024 at this link:  "At the library board meeting in early March, she [Lyn] discussed the possibility of moving the library to a new location.  Some additional proposed changes were presented to the Planning Commission.  One change includes relocating the gas company that is currently downtown.  That area would be replaced with a recreation center and new Chamber of Commerce, along with a parking lot.  There is also a proposed network of trails for outdoor recreation, such as biking, running, and walking.  Downtown parking and sidewalk proposals were also submitted with ideas for possible bump-outs, bike lanes, green spaces, diagonal parking, back-in angle parking, and other possible ideas.  The former Lionite property would include two duplexes for a total of four new residential units in the area where the collapsed portion is currently being removed, plus there would be a parking lot and a boathouse where the current Lionite building is located.  The former Ford building at 175 North Avon Avenue, which is still owned by American Eagle of Phillips, LLC, is being proposed as a "mixed commercial housing development."  There are also recommendations for cleaning up brownfield sites."

Lyn stated there is a survey on the PCUL website and also directed us to review the website for more information.  However, when clicking on "Community Boat & Rec Center," "Phillips Mainstreet Redesign," and "Brownfield Sites," the website stays on the home page.  "Visioning," "Take the Survey," and "Designs" all take a website guest to the survey, so there was no information that we could find to answer our unanswered questions.  If PCUL provides us with answers to the questions we posed, we will update this article at that time.

The PCUL website states someone from PCUL will be at the meeting of the Phillips Common Council on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 at the city hall in Phillips starting at 5 p.m.  The public can attend this meeting.  PCUL is trying to get their plans listed in the comprehensive plan that the city must revise every ten years.  The third item on the meeting's agenda is "Discussion/Action regarding the 2024 City of Phillips Comprehensive Plan."  PCUL's plans are in the draft document, according to PCUL.

The current clean-up of the collapsed portion of Lionite was arranged by the previous owner, Sanjay Patel; the City of Phillips; and Bennish Scrap and Transport, who approached the Committee of the Whole in December 2023 asking to clean up the property and take the scrap metal.  This clean-up is almost complete.

   

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PHILLIPS: WELDER/FABRICATOR


Help Wanted    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-10-2024, 07:07 PM

Welding experience or 1 - 2 years of technical school welding education preferred; will train.

All positions are full-time and offer competitive salary (based on experience), 401K, health, vision, and dental insurance, 11 paid holidays, and paid vacation.  Uniform rental is available.

Applications can be completed at:

IAP, Inc.
W6905 Paradise Lane
Phillips, WI  54555


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PHILLIPS: GENERAL LABORER, ASSEMBLY


Help Wanted    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-10-2024, 07:07 PM

GENERAL LABORER, ASSEMBLY, ETC.

No experience necessary; will train.

All positions are full-time and offer competitive salary (based on experience), 401K, health, vision, and dental insurance, 11 paid holidays, and paid vacation.  Uniform rental is available.

Applications can be completed at:

IAP, Inc.
W6905 Paradise Lane
Phillips, WI  54555


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MEET KEITH CRISPELL, INCOMING PRENTICE SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT


News: Prentice and Ogema    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-09-2024, 02:23 AM

   
Keith, Hunter (son), Michele (wife), Kristi (daughter-in-law), & Jared (son).  Submitted photo.

Keith Crispell did branch out west for a few years, but his roots are in Wisconsin.  He is making the move back to the Badger State and will take the position of superintendent in the Prentice School District for the 2024-2025 school year.

Keith grew up in Necedah, Wisconsin, just over an hour north of Madison.  His parents are Arlene Siegler-Robinson and the late Lester Crispell.  His dad and grandfather had businesses in the area, and he believes that is where he learned his work ethic.

"My dad was phenomenal; he worked 364 days a year, and that is no joke.  He took off Christmas, and that was it.  But he still found time for his family," Keith said, noting he was a great father to him and his sister, Kim.  "My dad worked in the restaurant business, and he knew everybody.  He could talk to anyone about anything, which is just phenomenal."  Keith expressed that he is striving to walk in his dad's footsteps in that regard.

After high school graduation, he and his sister both pursued degrees in education.  Keith graduated from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse with bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education.

After college, Keith married Michele.  They have two sons, Jared and Hunter.  During this time, Keith furthered his education, obtaining his principal's license through Viterbo University.  He received his superintendent education through the University of Edgewood and is currently working toward his doctorate with that same university.

Family life is important to Keith, so the Crispell's stayed in Wisconsin while their sons were growing up.  The family really embraced the outdoors.  For all his life, Keith has enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor adventures.  His family used to have a cabin on the Chetek chain of lakes, and it's no secret that Keith loves to fish and be outdoors.  "When I’m not chasing whitetails or walleyes, I enjoy a variety of do-it-yourself challenges which include making my own fishing lures, building rustic furniture, and constructing off-the-grid log cabins," Keith shared.  He also has season tickets in the northern end zone for the Packers games at Lambeau Field.  He has fully embraced the Wisconsin lifestyle.

While living that Wisconsin lifestyle, both Jared and Hunter grew up, as children do.  Now adults, they currently live in Southern Wisconsin and work as strategic pricing analysts at two different companies.  Keith stated he and his wife are both impressed with and really proud of their sons.

However, since their sons were well-established, Keith and Michele thought it was a good time to try something new.  He said they realized, "There's more out there than what we are experiencing.  Let's go on a little adventure!"  At the time, Keith was wanting to get into administration.  A friend of his had moved out to the Creede, Colorado area, and he told Keith about a position that opened up there.  "I was hired as an elementary principal and a K-12 Dean of Students.  The plan was for me to replace the current principal.  He was ready to retire after being with the district for over 40 years, but I was approached by the board president to see if I could apply for the superintendent position and happenstance put me in that role."  Keith explained he started his initial administrative position in Creede right around the time COVID-19 hit, so there was a lot of chaos for all schools and a lot of adjustments needed to be made, but he was up to the challenge.

(Article continues after promotional image)
[Image: lakeparkpinevillage.jpg]
SPONSOR OF FREE NEWS AND COMMUNITY EVENTS:  Pine Village in Prentice offers affordable, active living in a wooded setting for those 50+ and disabled persons.  Rent is based on 30% Adjusted Gross Income.  Small pets under 30 pounds are welcome.  Contact Pine Village at 715-428-2300.

While there, he got used to the small town vibe.  According to the Internet, Creede, Colorado has a population of 276, but Keith said the locals would say it is closer to 390.  He said, with laughter in his voice, that they do not put the population numbers on town signs in Colorado; instead, they give the elevation of the land.  He is currently living at about 9,000 feet above sea level with amazing mountain views.  Given Prentice has about 567 people, according to the Internet, Keith will be moving to a bit larger area with a much lower elevation.

Keith said while he enjoys the beautiful views of the water and mountains in Colorado, he added, "I can only catch trout so long.  I need to get back to walleye fishing."  He said Lake Superior is one of his favorite spots [in Wisconsin] so he enjoys going up to Ashland to fish.  "I have taken a lot of kids, from my previous school, out to Lake Michigan, and I'm hoping to do something like that to give those kids who haven't had that experience the opportunity."

Beyond the outdoor enthusiast opportunities, the biggest draw to Wisconsin was to be back with family.  "We wanted to get back, to be next to family.  It's tough when you can only see your kids on Thanksgiving or Christmas or an event like that."  The drive is about 21 hours, so with the move to Prentice they will only have half a day's drive for Michele and him to see family.

The icing on the cake is how he feels about the Prentice School District.  Keith said he had an "instant connection" to the board at the Prentice School District, which really sold him on the school.  "I have that connection right now [in Creede], and when I had to tell them that I was moving on, it was hard, very hard."  Keith got a little choked up thinking about his current staff, what they accomplished, and how he will miss them.  "Having that group of people that will stand behind you in those difficult times, like the pandemic, is really important.  I felt that same thing when I was able to talk with the board president in Prentice and other school officials, so it makes me excited about this new adventure."  He said he is looking forward to meeting the entire staff and members of the community.

He says he has some ideas for Prentice, but he wants to hear from other people about their ideas before talking about his own thoughts.  "I don't want to project myself onto them until I know what is valuable and what is important to Prentice."  He feels he can take that information and his ideas and create a blended experience to benefit the school district and create remarkable educational experiences.

With thirty years of educational experience at multiple grade levels at various-sized schools, Keith has had many remarkable experiences as an educator and administrator.  "There were so many great things.  It's hard to pin down one."  Overall, he loves being in the classroom.  As an administrator, he said, "I don't feel like I should be tethered to my desk, so I remind myself to go down into the classrooms to see what they are doing there."  When he can see what is going on in the classrooms, it can help guide him when talking with the school board about his recommendations for the best course of action for the students and school.  He remarked about being in the classroom with a creative design class at Creede.  "One of the high school kids recently got their design accepted by a local business outside the county.  They printed the design on about 1,000 t-shirts, which is awesome they would think to tap into our school district, and this student was doing so well, and so I am going to share that with the board to celebrate and honor what the kids do in the classroom, so it's something I like to do to get back in the classroom and see what is happening."

Keith said it is important to show students, who want to stay in Price County, the opportunities that abound.  "When I went to school, the concept was to get ready for college.  Now, college is not the set be-all formula for everybody, so I like to implement ideas by asking what a kid's interests are and what the kids are wanting to tailor our education to them."

He added, "I've been working with the other superintendents in Colorado and we were trying to do a build-your-own program, because there is a teacher shortage, and we see a need for sustainability to get people to stay in the communities and work on that for not just teaching but also paraprofessionals or to get people the training for electrical, plumbing, HVAC systems so students are able to pursue that."  He said they have apprenticeships at the schools, which are beneficial to apply concepts to real-world work situations.  "I agree we want to keep our kids that are wanting to be there [in Price County] and offer them some options that they can do.  It's not just one-size fits all.  We have to be flexible.  There are a lot of different jobs out there, some that haven't even been created yet, and with today's technology, people are able to work remotely, as well.  There are options we can provide for our students.  I have to see what the needs are and see what things are available and try to do something that will benefit everybody to keep our kids if we can."

Keith and Michele will be in the area sometime in June, and they are looking forward to meeting the residents and getting involved with the community.

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JOB OPPORTUNITY IN PRICE COUNTY:  The Phillips Public Library seeks an enthusiastic, empathetic, and organized Youth Services Librarian.  Learn more.


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PRICE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE DELIVERS PUBLIC NOTICE - SEX OFFENDER RELEASE


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-07-2024, 03:59 AM

   
Photo of John Nolan
Submitted by:  Price County Sheriff's Office

Price County Sheriff Brian Schmidt announced an update for John G. Nolan.  According to the sheriff's office, "Nolan was convicted of First-Degree Sexual Assault of a Child, Second-Degree Sexual Assault of a Child, and Repeated Acts of Sexual Assault Against Same Child on March 31, 2004.  Nolan was released on April 30, 2024, after serving the maximum time allowed by the court of conviction.  Nolan is under the supervision of local probation agents or the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

"Nolan is a lifetime registrant of the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registration Program.  The public is encouraged to visit the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry online as a means for monitoring and tracking an offender’s whereabouts. The purpose of the registry is to promote public safety and help detect and prevent crime."  The registry is located at http://appsdoc.wi.gov/public.

Nolan is now residing on State Highway 111 in Catawba in the Township of Harmony close to Lake Ten.  He is a 5'9", 242-pound white male who is 87 years old with gray/blue eyes.

This article can be shared from our public Facebook page at this link.

Source:  Price County Sheriff's Office


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4TH ANNUAL COMMUNITY-WIDE GARAGE SALE EVENT COMING TO PHILLIPS IN JUNE 2024


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-06-2024, 04:42 PM

   

The 4th annual community-wide garage sale event will take place on June 6, 7, 8, and 9, 2024 for anyone with a Phillips address, both in the city limits and in the country.

"The number of participants, both shoppers and people having sales, has grown each year," said Lynne Bohn, event organizer.  "For anyone wanting to have a sale, the listing is free.  My Price County promotes the event and the list of sales, so getting on the list should greatly increase traffic to each sale.  We have had people remark that the community-wide garage sale weekend brings them the most shoppers they see all year at their sales."

My Price County is offering free advertising to residents who would like to have a garage sale on that weekend.  To participate, reserve your ad spot by submitting your first and last name, full address of your garage sale location, the days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday) and the times you set for your garage sale, along with a short list (25 words or less) of some of the items that will be at your garage sale.  Either message My Price County on Facebook or send an e-mail to Contact@MyPriceCounty.com with "Garage Sale" in the subject line.  While getting the garage sales sent via e-mail is preferred, you can call 715-339-6677 if you do not have access to Messenger or e-mail.  My Price County will confirm receipt of all messages and e-mails.  The deadline for submitting your garage sale is June 1, 2024.  Please note, you will need to place your own garage sales signs and do any additional advertising that you choose.

"The busiest days are Friday and Saturday," Lynne added, "but we will accept sales for Thursday and Sunday, as well, because some people like to run three- or four- day sales.  Anyone who hosts a garage sale can choose their days and times; no one has to host a sale on all four days unless they want to."

The community-wide garage sale event is being held to help promote the community.  Please help us make others aware of this event by sharing this article's link or the Facebook post.  You can also follow and invite your friends to the Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/347302087815026.
Sales will be posted by the morning of June 6, 2024 at https://www.mypricecounty.com/sales.html.  Save that link but realize there are no current sales listed there yet, and the full list won't be published until June 6, 2024.

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SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILLIPS ANNOUNCES APRIL'S STUDENTS OF THE MONTH


News: Phillips, Kennan, and Catawba    No Replies

My Northern Wisconsin, 05-02-2024, 02:44 AM

   

The Phillips Middle School has announced the Students of the Month for April 2024.

Claryse Johnson, sixth grade, is the daughter of Amy and Lance Johnson.  She has participated in cross country, swim team, and track this year.  When asked why she thought she was chosen, Claryse said, “Hmmm...probably because I’m helpful.  Otherwise, I don’t know!”  Claryse’s favorite parts of middle school are recess, band, gym, and lunch.

Luke Gryznowicz, sixth grade, son of Ann and Matt Gryznowicz, loves playing baseball and basketball with his friends and also enjoys going fishing with his dad.  Luke thinks he was chosen for this honor because he tries his best and is willing to help anyone if they don’t understand something.  Luke's favorite things about middle school include hanging out with his friends at recess, lunch, and Logger Time.

Matthew Novak, seventh grade, is the son of Annamarie and Tim Novak.  Matthew enjoys basketball, recess, talking, eating, and playing with friends.  When asked why he thought he was chosen as Student of the Month, Matthew responded with, “I’m funny.”  Matthew’s favorite parts of middle school are friends and sports.

Brianna Quinnell, eighth grade, is the daughter of Jen and Nick Quinnell.  Brianna enjoys hanging out with her cows, playing dodgeball in gym class, writing, and drawing.  Brianna  thinks she was chosen as Student of the Month because she is nice to everybody and is just a fun person to be around.  When asked what her favorite part of middle school is, Brianna said, “Hanging out with friends and being able to put a smile on someone’s face.”

   
SPONSOR OF FREE NEWS AND COMMUNITY EVENTS.  Robin McCallie is a new florist in Phillips with her shop located at 161 North Lake Avenue.  She talked with My Price County about how friends and family members encouraged her to turn her hobby into a career, the emotions she felt when the first truckload of flowers was in her new shop, information about a powerlifting fundraiser and her grand opening event set for May 11, 2024, and the types of products and services she offers in her shop.  Read more.


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