Two Chicago men drowned when their kayaks capsized in Little Sissabagama Lake, south of Stone Lake Sunday evening, May 16, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Sawyer County coroner John Froemel identified the victims as half-brothers in their 30s from Chicago: John Washington and Derrick Chandler. An autopsy is being performed on Chandler to determine the cause of death, Froemel said.
DNR Safety Warden Adam Stennett told the Record that just after 7 p.m. Sunday, DNR wardens, Sawyer County sheriff's deputies, local fire department first responders and EMS, the Sawyer County dive team and airboat crew responded to a call of people in the water on Little Sissabagama Lake, about six miles south of Stone Lake in the Town of Edgewater.
When they arrived, responders found one man had been pulled from the water before their arrival and was deceased, Stennett said.
Another man was found by responders in the water a short time later and was also deceased.
Initial investigation showed both parties were in small kayaks, not wearing life jackets and had capsized, Stennett said. The weather at the time was sunny with temperatures in the 60s and a breeze of 3-5 mph.
Coroner Froemel said the water in the location is 8 to 10 feet deep and there is a sandy bottom.
The Wisconsin DNR is investigating the incident.
After hearing emotional testimony from several parents who said the school district's face covering mandate is hurting their children's health, the Hayward Community School Board voted 4-3 Monday, May 17, to make face coverings optional for the remainder of the school year for students and staff.
The board also made face coverings optional for students and staff during the Canes Camp summer school, which is scheduled for June 7-24. However, visitors to the schools through June still will be required to wear face coverings.
The face covering mandate has been in place throughout the school year until now (May 18) for students, staff and other persons in the school buildings. Families have had the option of having their kids attend school in person four days a week, with Fridays as a virtual instruction day, or have kids learn Monday through Friday via a virtual connection with their Hayward teachers.
The board's re-evaluation of its face coverings requirement this week came after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated May 13 that people who have been fully vaccinated do not have to wear face coverings any longer in public except for crowded spaces.
During the public comment portion of Monday's meeting, parent Traci Yackel said the board's masking mandate is unconstitutional, according to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
A woman with a daughter in the second grade said masks are "seriously affecting these kids, tearing them apart. They're not the same kids they were 1 1/2 years ago. It's not good for their mental health, their social lives. They should not be put through this extra stress."
Aaron Halberg said, "We've all been tested in the past year. You (the board) did not do as good of a job for our kids and our school as you should have."
Halberg added that at last month's meeting, the board "took 70 seconds to vote to continue the mask mandate" for the remainder of the school year without discussion, and the recommendation for the continuance "didn't come from a committee."
Board President Linda Plante responded that the board's action to immediately call for a vote on the issue without discussion "was an error."
Halberg said that "as concerned parents, you've violated our trust. You have been comfortable with 'If it's not broke, don't fix it,' but our families, our kids are breaking and it's time to move on."
"You turned a public health officer's recommendation (for masking) into a mandate," Halberg said. "You should not make your own laws; try to keep it local."
Another man said, "Please do better for our kids and our families. Stop being a political arm for the CDC."
Supt. Craig Olson said that on Monday he received a letter from Hayward Area Memorial Hospital physicians "strongly recommending" that the district continue its face coverings mandate. He said Sawyer County Public Health Officer Julia Lyons, as well as the district's insurance company and attorney, are recommending keeping the face coverings requirement.
Olson sad fewer than 80 persons in the Hayward Community Schools have been diagnosed with COVID-19 this school year, including in-person students, staff and virtual students.
The district surveyed 249 parents about face covering policy during the upcoming 2021 summer school. Of those, 40 people recommended requiring face coverings and 113 said to make it optional.
Dr. Harry Malcolm said that unlike many school districts who "went virtual" for the 2020-21 school year, the Hayward board voted last August to have in-school instruction for those families who desired it for their kids, four days per week, with the fifth day being virtual.
At that time, the impact of COVID-19 was "unknown," Malcolm said. The board voted to make face coverings mandatory "to protect the health of the kids and their families and teachers. Also, most of our substitute teachers are older people," and if enough staff were quarantined, "we would have to close down," he added.
Last October through December, "we were at the breaking point medically" due to COVID cases, mostly among elderly people, Malcolm added. "Our hospital was full."
Vaccines arrived early this year, he noted. "We are still seeing COVID, including kids 15 and under. We are still seeing people sick, but not intensive-care sick."
Malcolm added that "I haven't seen any ill children (with COVID) under 17 years of age. We're to the point that we have immunized most of the vulnerable people (older people) and the kids aren't getting that sick." He added that he's in favor of keeping masks mandatory the rest of this year and optional beginning next fall.
Board member Derek Hand said, "We have given up some safety with masks; we don't know what a lot of the masks are made of, and don't know if they're washed."
Linda Plante said the administration and board have given students a choice of attending school in person or virtually, a choice that many districts have not given their students this year.
Voting to make face coverings optional for students and staff the remainder of the school year and for summer school were Derek Hand, Lynell Swenson, Stacey Hessel and Mike Kelsey.
Voting in favor of continuing the mask mandate were Jim Ahrens, Plante and Malcolm.
Other board action
The board unanimously re-elected their officers at Monday's meeting: Linda Plante as president, Derek Hand as vice-president, Lynell Swenson as clerk and Dr. Harry Malcolm as treasurer.
In other action, the board:
• After holding a public hearing, resolved to ask the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to waive the normal requirements for instructional hours and Educational Effectiveness for the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Approved an annual renewal contract with Chartwells to provide food service to the schools for a 2.9% increase in the management fee. The cost will go from 15.2 cents to 15.9 cents per meal served.
• Voted to leave lunch prices for students the same for 2020-21. Lunches for adults will increase from $3.65 to $3.80. Free breakfast and free lunch will continue to be available for students. If a student wants a second serving, he/she will pay the regular price, which is $2.40 for grades K-5, $2.60 for grades 6-8 and $2.70 for grades 9-12.
A Chartwells representative said 103,067 lunches and 66,727 breakfasts have been served this school year through April 30. Forty-six families with 219 students who learn virtually were served through weekly pick-up.
• Voted to apply for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant of $2,153,431 to pay for the construction of a new gym addition to the primary school to serve as a community emergency shelter. The local match for this project would be 19.5% ($505,478). The anticipated award date for the grant is December 2022.
The board will pay a retainer fee of $9,500 to JBAD Solutions LLC for grant work and if a grant is awarded, pay 1.5% to the consultant for work throughout the project.
• Approved an easement for WE Energies to construct a gas line through school district property to serve the new Element Church being built off Greenwood Lane, behind the Marshfield Clinic.
• Approved the renewal of employee dental insurance through Northern School District Co-op (Delta Dental of Wisconsin). The cost is $41.98 per month for the single plan and $120.01 for the family plan.
• Approved the renewal of property, general liability, school board, crime, terrorism, cyber enhancement, school board liability and back wages insurance for a premium of $210,373, which is a 10% increase over the current annual premium. Workers Compensation premium is increasing 14%.
• Approved a memorandum of agreement with Lac Courte Oreilles Head Start for the Hayward school district to provide a 4K all-day instructional program at the primary school, a "wrap-around," for about 30 children. The LCO Tribe will pay the cost for their children who participate.
• Voted to transfer Katherine Walker to a vacant eighth grade English Language Arts (ELA) teacher position; hired Noah LeBlanc as head football coach (see separate story); hired Erin Vaara as early childhood special education teacher, Ryan Dunnigan as high school special education teacher, Sam Yoder as fifth grade teacher, Lisa Clemens as middle school and high school Ojibwe culture teacher; and approved the transfers of Wendy Lamoureux to K-2 reading coach and Natalie Heath to second grade teacher.
The board also approved the resignation of Matt Albrecht as head coach for the Hurricanes boys basketball team.
The Hayward Foundation for Educational Enrichment (HFEE) presented four grants to the schools during Monday's meeting. (See separate story in this issue). Staff demonstrated the projects that were funded.
The board took note of two recent donations to the district:
• Eight boxes of Easter holiday supplies from Walmart to the primary school, which can be used for crafts.
• $2,600 from Northland Area Builders Association (NABA) to the high school technology education program.
Hayward's "Famous Dave" Anderson, a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe, has been named to the 2021 class of inductees of the National Native American Hall of Fame, an honor given to people who have made significant contributions across a range of categories that include government, leadership and advocacy, literary arts, business, language, culture and health.
The National Native American Hall of Fame was founded in 2016 and held its first induction ceremony in 2018 at the site of the former Phoenix Indian boarding school in Phoenix, Arizona. The second such ceremony was held in 2019 at the Hard Rock Cafe/Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Due to COVID-19 there was no ceremony in 2020.) This year's ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 6 at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, which will be opening September 2021 and will be home to the National Native American Hall of Fame.
Anderson, long-known to the Hayward area for his genius in creating and establishing barbecue restaurants and franchises — most notably Famous Dave's Barbeque and Old Southern BBQ — has a range of accomplishments, including Head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, CEO of the Lac Courte Oreilles tribal enterprises, served on the Wisconsin Council on Tourism, Wisconsin's Council on Minority Business Development, the National Task Force on Reservation Gambling, the Advisory Council for Tribal Colleges and Universities and the American Indian Education Foundation.
Anderson was also awarded a grant in 2002 by Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network for his LifeSkills Center for Leadership. He was named a Bush Leadership Fellow, Minnesota and Dakota's Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, NASDAQ and USA Today, and was named Restaurateur of the Year in 1988 by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine.
"I was very humbled and honored, knowing previous recognitions included some very notable names like Olympians Jim Thorpe of the Sac & Fox Nation and Billy Mills of the Oglala Lakota Sioux," Anderson said. "And some of our greatest advocates for Indian rights and self-governance: Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee; and Ada Deer, Menominee. Also, Maria Tallchief, Osage Nation, and America's first major prima ballerina. Just to name a few.
"So, for me this induction was very humbling for someone like myself that has had to overcome many of life's toughest challenges. I think the real significance of this recognition isn't so much this initial induction and the ceremony, but the legacy that my story will be captured on video and also put in a learning curriculum that will be used in schools for inspiration as a Native American role model."
James Parker Shield, Founder and CEO of the National Native American Hall of Fame, said, "Dave Anderson is a great inspirational story. He came from humble beginnings. As a youth he learned to cook and work hard by helping his parents work at a roadside Indian fry-bread stand. Years later he opens a small BBQ shack in Hayward, Wisconsin, and grows it into one of the most recognizable restaurant chains in America, known as 'Famous Dave's.'"
"That is not only the American Dream," Parker said, "it's the American Indian dream!"
Anderson said, "As much as I think being 'Famous Dave' and the national reputation my barbeque has achieved, I am believing that the work my family does with at-risk Native youth is the real reason why my story stands out. I believe more than anything that giving back and sharing the street smarts that I've learned the hard way and teaching life skills to our youth is really what my life is about these days."
Other 2021 inductees include: Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Northern Cheyenne; poet Joy Harjo, Muscogee (Creek); health policy leader Marcella LeBeau, Cheyenne River Sioux; Emil Notti, Athabascan leader; language preservationist and museum founder Katherine Siva Saubel, Cahuilla; Ernie Stevens Sr., Oneida leader; and W. Richard West, Southern Cheyenne, founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian.
What's next for Dave?
When asked what was happening these days in his life, Anderson said Tamarack Farms Winery & Pizza near Round Lake is his latest venture, featuring wine, woodfired pizza and barbecue selections.
"What a lot of folks don't know is that all these years I've been working on ribs, I've also been very focused on my love for pizza. And my farm is my 'proof of concept' laboratory for my next big restaurant adventure.
"I am joining up with my good friend Steven Schussler, the founder of Rainforest Cafe and also America's No. 1 highest volume restaurant, The Boathouse at Disney, and we're going to be rolling out nationally our newest venture we're calling 'Big Dreams Pizza Co.' It's a rectangle pizza featuring my butter-kissed crust. We're hoping to launch this new venture later this year.
"And the latest on Old Southern — we've all taken a hit with COVID, but we're doing good and we're hoping to be back in Hayward with our award-winning barbeque by next year," he said.
"I'll be 68 this year and I keep getting asked, 'When are you going to slow down?' My reply, 'You can't stop a man who won't quit!'"
For the first time in its history, starting Tuesday, May 25, all the services of Hayward NorthLakes Community Clinic will be under one roof.
Beginning this week, May 20-24, the clinic will be moving its remaining medical and chiropractic services from Hayward Area Memorial Hospital campus off Highway 77 to its River Edge Clinic, the former River Edge Business Center off Dyno Drive in Hayward.
NorthLakes acquired the River Edge Business Center in August 2017 and shortly thereafter moved its dental program from the former Evergreen Building inside followed by services for behavioral health and occupational therapy, psychiatric therapy and recently speech therapy.
Two years ago NorthLakes began planning an 8,000 square-foot expansion along with 5,000 square-foot renovation of the existing building, a $2 million project financed with $1.8 million loan from Chippewa Valley Bank under a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan guarantee.
"So this means the team is together again, which is fantastic," said Reba Rice, chief executive officer for NorthLakes Community Clinic, which operates campuses in Ashland, Birchwood, Hurley, Iron River, Lakewood, Minong, Oconto, Park Falls, Turtle Lake, Washburn and White Lake.
"Actually in Hayward this is the first time we will be under one roof because our dental team was never on site with medical and behavioral health," she said.
Rice said the Hayward clinic needed to expand because the space available at the hospital campus wasn't sufficient.
"We have been a grateful partner with Hayward Area Memorial Hospital for many years, and having a medical campus was a longtime goal of the medical community in Hayward," she said, "and so this decision was not one that we entered into lightly to remove ourselves from that space."
Rice said the goal has always been to have all the clinic's services under one roof to facilitate collaboration and multi-disciplinary cooperation to meet health care needs of patients.
"We have grown so much in the past six years and added tons of services, including behavioral health and recovery and chiropractic and psychiatry," Rice said, "and, so, you know, what was two clinics offering primary medical care and general dentistry is now a multidisciplinary team. In the past six years, we've really transformed from two separate practices to one very large, very diverse, multi-disciplined team, which just prepares us to provide such wonderful wraparound services for our community."
Carrie Roberts, director of regional operations for the central region — Hayward, Park Falls and Oconto — along with Beth Probst, director of marketing and grants, offered the Record a tour of the nearly completed space still under last minute construction.
The main entrance into the new wing/expansion (medical/chiropratic services) is on the south side of the building. Once inside, patients will notice the waiting area is much smaller than the previous site.
Working with architect Greg Strom of Foundations Architecture, Roberts said, the clinic has improved workflow and efficiencies so that patients will require less time in the waiting area before they are seen.
"It's because we are a little bit more efficient in timing of patient care," she said. "We wanted to use more of our space for patient rooms and that way we could grow and add new providers to the team if we needed to add new services to be patient focused."
The expansion includes an X-ray room, which the other site did not include.
"We'll be able to offer real time X-rays for our patients that walk into our clinic," Roberts said.
Beyond the radiology area are two chiropractic rooms, a sterilization area, and long rooms called "pods" where two teams, consisting of a physician, physician assistant and support staff, will work collaboratively.
"It gives the opportunity for the providers to be with their team at all times during the day while they're delivering patient care," she said. "Right now, typically, you have your nurse's station provider have an offset office. And then the provider goes back to their office to do dictation or documentation. This space will allow them to be together at all times, answering phone calls together, making sure that they're talking and rubbing elbows a little bit more."
There are several rooms for providers to meet with patients.
Besides being designed for more patient-centered, integrative care, the spaces will be quieter. Patients will not be able to hear other medical people talking from other rooms.
In the medical wing, Roberts repeatedly points out how the spaces were planned as efficient platforms for medical staff to interact and serve the patient in the most efficient manner. For example an on-call registered nurse who talks with patents via the telephone is centrally located to easily consult with others.
At the large end of the patient care area, there's a large staff area for provider offices and conference room and more.
One flight up in the new expansion is office space and a conference room and break room for the 70 staff members who will be working in the building. One very lucky staff member has a view of the Namekagon River.
The new expansion and renovation are very impressive, but it's also impressive that the contractor, Silver Maple Construction from Iron River, managed to build the 13,000-square-foot expansion without causing much disruption to the ongoing operation of the clinic.
"I think this is a beautiful location," said Scott Nielsen, general contactor.