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Race caller at fairgrounds here to retire
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Legendary longtime race announcer Tom Durkin, who got his start calling races at the Langlade County Fairgrounds, is calling it a career.

Durkin will call his final race on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York, capping a 43-year career, the last 24 of which have been spent at the New York racing Association.

In between each of the day’s races, a small tribute will honor his accomplishments, with a larger ceremony planned in the winner’s circle, following the last call of his career, the Grade I Spinaway.

“I did say this is the day I was looking forward to least in this year’s meet but it has been so rewarding to be able to see so many people come on different occasions to show their appreciation for all that Tom has done," said NYRA President and CEO Chris Kay.

Durkin chose to retire one day before the close of the meet so he can spend Labor Day among the fans. He’ll be replaced by Larry Collmus this spring.

Durkin is known as the “Voice of the Triple Crown” and the “Voice of the Breeders’ Cup.” But before that voice was heard anywhere in those lofty circles, it was heard at the Langlade County Fairgrounds, back around 1971.<
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Tom Durkin high in the announcer's booth at Belmont Park.
State property values gain, but they slip across much of county
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Langlade County’s equalized valuation dropped .24 percent between 2013 and 2014, but several towns, along with the village of White Lake, did manage to eke out an increase.

According to the latest numbers from the Department of Revenue, the county’s value slipped $3.9 million, from $1,649,328,300 to $1,645,405,700.

And adding to the concern, the decrease comes at a time when the current market value of all taxable property in Wisconsin rose 2.6 percent, signaling the end of a five-year slump in values.

In the city of Antigo, values dropped .12 percent, or $417,100, to $352,130,400.

Declines were also reported across the rural areas, including Ackley, down .44 percent; Elcho, 1.66 percent; Neva, 2.83 percent; Norwood, 1.29 percent; Peck, 5.71 percent; Polar, 3.51 percent; Price, .53 percent; Rolling, .92 percent; Vilas, .17 percent; and Wolf River, .17 percent.

Gains were led by the village of White Lake, up 1.82 percent, or 286,700, to $16 million.

Other winners were Ainsworth, 2.26 percent; Antigo, 2.31 percent; Evergreen, .54 percent; Langlade, .14 percent; Parrish, 1.10 percent; Summit, .50 percent; and Upham, 2.69 percent.
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Economic development office says farewell to its director, Chris Berry
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The Langlade County Economic Development Corporation said good-bye to Executive Director Chris Berry Thursday and welcomed Angie Close into the position.

Berry announced earlier this month that she was taking a position as regional account manager for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, creating the opportunity for her assistant to move up into the top chair.

“I’m excited,” Close said. “Chris has done a wonderful job working as a collaborator and getting people together to focus on the challenges in the county and I hope to continue that.”

Close, a graduate of the information processing specialist program at Northcentral Technical College, came to the office five years ago after a career in marketing with a regional broadcasting company.

A native of Antigo, she and her husband, Randy, have a daughter, Alexandria Forster, and a grandson, Deakon.

Close said that the corporation will take time for some refocusing, a usual step whenever there is a change in leadership, and review its mission, work plan, and cluster target analysis.

“There is a lot I would like to do,” she said. “But its got to be collaborative between the vari
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Chris Berry, left, and Angie Close are changing their roles in regional economic development.
North Elementary gets new pavement
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With the clock ticking toward the opening of the fall term, the final touches are being put on an extensive series of summer maintenance projects in the Antigo school district.

Crews from the Langlade County Highway Department were at North Elementary School this morning, laying the first course of blacktop to cap a playground improvement project.

Weather permitting, Director of Building and Grounds Tim Prunty said sod will be laid around the perimeter of the playground on Friday, just in time for the opening of the term on Tuesday.

It’s been a busy summer throughout the district, with maintenance projects pumped by the infusion of $400,000 taken from the district’s fund balance.

Roofs have been replaced at East, West, North and Mattoon elementary schools along with a section of the high school.

At Crestwood, phase 1 of an asbestos abatement project was completed and floor tile replaced, while at the high school, carpet was replaced with floor tile in six classrooms.

There’s more on the docket as well, subject to review and approval by the board of education. Potential spring projects include phase 2 of the Crestwood asbestos project
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A Langlade County Highway Department crew began paving the playground at North Elementary School this morning.
School budget is reviewed
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A snapshot of the Antigo school district’s 2014-15 budget, as approved by the board of education Tuesday.

Balance Sheet

Balanced budget: Revenues plus board-approved use of $400,000 fund balance for maintenance, will cover expenditures resulting in a balanced budget.

General fund balance: Anticipated ending balance of $5.3 million.

Enrollment

Enrollment/revenue limit formula: Decrease of 49 (1.9 percent) in three year rolling average of resident enrollment.

Enrollment — projected head count: Estimated decrease of 70 in projected head count attending the district.

Open enrollment: Estimating 47 open-enrolled students in and 120 out, for a net loss of 73 students.

Revenues

State general aid: Expected to decrease from $14.76 million to $14.61 million.

Revenue limit: Increase $75 per student with declining enrollment — total increase of $206,524.

State categorical aid: Additional categorical aid of $75 per pupil for 2014-15 — $191,000.

Property tax levy: Increasing 4 percent over current year.

Expenditures

Staffing level: Total staffing, 304, an increase of 2.7 full-time equi
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Antigo school district Director of Business Services Mary Jo Filbrandt reviews the 2014-15 spending plan at Tuesday’s budget hearing.
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ANTIGO DAILY
JOURNAL
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Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
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