RHINELANDER - Most schools have to deal with tight budgets. Often extracurricular needs get put on hold for other areas that need funding.
But the Rhinelander School District says they can't put off upgrades for the athletic facilities any longer.
Mike Webster stadium is home to the Hodags. The track has fallen into disrepair, and things like the bathrooms and field lights have become outdated.
The track is so bad, other schools refuse to come to Rhinelander.
"Right now no schools will come to a track meet here to run on this track because it's in such bad shape. They don't want their athletes to get hurt. Other things we've heard, when Special Olympics uses the track they don't allow their athletes to run on the first two lanes," says Mike Roberts, from the Capital Projects Committee.
The district puts curricular needs first when it comes to the budget. But when the track became a safety issue for kids in gym class, it's not just about sporting events anymore.
There are also benefits the district and the city can expect from the upgrade. When the school upgraded the tennis courts, other districts started bringing conference matches to Rhinelander.
"That's a big deal. That means that athletes from all over our region are coming to Rhinelander; their families are coming, they're eating in our restaurants, sometimes spending the night," says Superintendent Kelli Jacobi.
The district already had money in the budget earmarked for track resurfacing, but have put off doing it. If the school board agrees to commit to spending that money on the track, the Hodag Schools Foundation will commit to raising money to help with all the other upgrades.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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