It's report card time for public school districts across the state, with the Nov. 12 release of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction summaries from the 2018-19 school year.
The districtwide score, noted as Rice Lake Area, dropped to 72.6, which ranks in the Meets Expectations category. It is down from 76.2 in the Exceeds Expectations category from last year. Scores were based on its 2,276 enrollment of students in Grades 4K-12.
In addition to the district-wide score, each school in the district also received a DPI report card grade.
Tainter Elementary, with an enrollment of 484 students, scored the best, at 83.0, which is in the Significantly Exceeds Expectations category. That remained about the same as its 83.8 score last year.
Hilltop Elementary, with an enrollment of 265 students, scored just a point lower, at 82.0, which dropped it to the Exceeds Expectations category. That is down from 84.3 last year.
Haugen Elementary, with an enrollment of 87 students, scored 81.5, also in the Exceeds Expectations category. That is up from 79.6 last year.
Rice Lake Middle School, with an enrollment of 657, scored 74.3, qualifying it for the Exceeds Expectations category. That is down from 77.1 last year.
Rice Lake High School, with an enrollment of 691, scored 71.0, which ranks in the Meets
Expectations category. That is up from 66.2 last year.
Northern Lakes Regional Academy, with an enrollment of 32, scored 65.6, also in the Meets Expectations category. That academy is no longer in operation.
At the Nov. 25 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Randy Drost said, "All of the elementaries scored very strong, either Exceeds or Significantly Exceeds."
Drost said he was confused why the overall district score dropped when the schools, for the most part, are trending up.
"Overall, there are a lot of pieces to celebrate, and we will work hard to try to get better," he said. "There are a lot of things going well in the district."
The report card grades on four priorities: Stu dent Achievement and District Growth in English/Language Arts and Mathematics; Closing Gaps, in the above two and graduation rate; and On-track and Postsecondary readiness, that includes graduation and attendance rates, third grade E/LA and eighthgrade mathematics.
Drost said Rice Lake was among 2,434 schools in 421 districts receiving the DPI report cards. More details are available at dpi.wi.gov/reportcards.
A Rice Lake man was officially charged in Barron County Circuit Court last week with what would be his 15th operating while intoxicated offense.
Mark A. Johnson of 6 E. Eau Claire St. #222 was charged on Nov. 22 with tenth offense or more OWI and misdemeanor operating while revoked.
Barron County deputies arrived to the intersection of Hwys. A and 25 on Nov. 18 at approximately 8:30 p.m. for a report of a one-vehicle crash.
Johnson's gray 1994 Chevrolet pickup truck was in the ditch and appeared to have been driven through the stop sign and through the T-intersection, according to court records.
The criminal complaint states that an officer noticed signs of impairment while talking to Johnson, including difficult to understand speech and unsteadiness.
Johnson was brought to Barron Mayo Hospital where he was treated for cuts to his face.
He told police he had two glasses of wine at a restaurant and then stopped at a liquor store and bought a 12-ounce can of beer that he'd quickly drank. Johnson consented to a preliminary breath test, which registered a .147, according to the complaint.
At the crash site, witnesses told police that Johnson did not appear to have hit the brakes while going through the intersection at about 40-45 mph.
Another witness told police she had seen Johnson removing objects from the truck's cab and putting them into a toolbox in the bed of the truck. Police located seven 12-ounce cans of Miller Lite in the truck bed.
Court records state Johnson has 14 previous suspensions, revocations and other convictions pertaining to OWI laws. The first 11 happened from 1990-2000 in Minnesota. Two happened in 2001-2002 in Dunn County and the 14th occurred in 2005 in Fond du Lac County.
Johnson is being held on a $15,000 cash bond, and a preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 29.
Three people were injured, with two air-lifted to hospitals, after a traffic crash that sent vehicles careening into the Country Inn parking lot north of Rice Lake on Saturday night, according to the Barron County Sheriff's Department.
Two SUVs collided at the intersection of Hwys. B and SS shortly after 6 p.m. Both cars then careened into the parking lot of the busy restaurant, crashing into parked vehicles, one of which then crashed into the side of the building.
The official crash report indicates that a Chevy Suburban driven by Brent Burns, of Rice Lake, was eastbound on Hwy. B and failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection with Hwy. SS. The Suburban then struck a southbound Chevy Equinox driven by Dillen Metheny, of Springbrook. The impact sent both cars into the Country Inn parking lot, where four parked vehicles were hit and a fifth was damaged by flying debris.
A passenger in the Equinox, Justin Metheny, of Springbrook, was flown to St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth hospital with serious injuries. Dillen Metheny and Burns were taken to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
Four people were in one of the parked vehicles involved in the crash. All were checked at the scene and needed no further medical attention.
One person in the building received minor injuries from debris when the building was struck.
Five vehicles were towed from the scene.
Alcohol was not a factor in the crash, said Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald.
Assisting at the scene were Barron County Sheriff's Department deputies, Rice Lake Fire Department, Bear Lake Haugen Fire Department, Lakeview Medical Center Ambulance, Chetek Ambulance, Cumberland Ambulance, Life Link and North Memorial helicopters.
Country Inn repairs
"It sounded like a bomb went off in the restaurant," said Monty Mouw, owner of the Country Inn.
After seeing a series of wrecked vehicles in the parking lot, the staff called 911 right away and did its best to continue serving customers, he said.
But any chance of a relaxed dining experience was gone.
"People in the restaurant were nervous," said Mouw. "People who had ordered food left. Those who planned on coming had to turn around."
Others, no longer having functioning vehicles to drive home, just finished their meals while waiting for a ride.
But thankfully, only one patron was injured, and it was only minor scratches. It was a woman in the woman's bathroom, which was the point of impact to the building.
"The bathroom is pretty much totaled," said Mouw, estimating thousands of dollars worth of damage.
He said he is hoping to reopen the restaurant later this week with one unisex bathroom, if health codes allow for it. Otherwise, the delay in reopening may be longer.
"We're sorry for any inconvenience," said Mouw.