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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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June 2, 2020

3/19/2020 7:30:00 AM
COVID-19 Roundup: Rhinelander library closed until further notice
River News Staff

The Rhinelander District Library has closed its doors until further notice, joining a number of other local organizations in taking action to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The library's Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to temporarily close the library.

Trustee Carla Chopkowski made the motion to close the facility.

"Because the school (is closed) until April 6, I'm thinking that could be reviewed at the same time, as well," she said. "It depends on what's going to happen in 2 1/2 weeks. If they find we've got 50 cases right here, there's no way school's going to be open."

"Or, the shadow has passed," added library director Virginia Roberts.

If it were to be a short closure, Roberts said she could make a decision on her own. However, that's not likely to be the case in this instance.

"But since it's going to be a lengthy closure, I would like to have the support of the board to do this," she said." In the last few minutes, I have found out that Three Lakes (library) is closing, Antigo is closing as of tomorrow. Both Tomahawk and Merrill closed today."

Chopkowski also made a motion to pay library staff during the closure.

She pointed out that the library doesn't pay into the unemployment fund, so workers are not eligible for normal unemployment benefits.

"They (the state) would pay them and then bill the library," she said.

"We have to take care of staff, that's the most important thing," said acting committee chair Dennis Carriere.

Roberts said that the staff had already approached her about doing "deep cleaning" the library and work on online training during the closure.

"It's similar to a snow day, we would still have compensation for anyone who was on the schedule and they would have to be paid for that day," Roberts said. "In this case, it's like a snow day that may not end for a while."

Drop boxes will be locked and due dates will be adjusted. This is to prevent books that have been in the possession of someone who might have COVID-19 from returning their books and contaminating the rest of the books in the box.

"The library will be evaluating what limited services it may offer, if any, at its physical address," Roberts said in a press release issued after the vote. "Please do not return materials to the Rhinelander District Library at this time. The drop boxes are closed. All materials checked out will have due dates extended. Fines will be forgiven for items due during this time. Library cards set to expire in this period will also have their dates extended. Closure will be evaluated for continuation or not on April 3, 2020. RDL offers many items electronically. Downloadable e-books and audiobooks are available through the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium via Libby and Overdrive. Badgerlink provides multiple reference resources. Gale Courses are available for academic and self-improvement classes. Virtual storytimes for children and adults -as well as other virtual concerts, theater, and tours will be linked on RDLs Facebook page."

Fire chief announces RFD lobby closure

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the doors inside the Rhinelander Fire Department have been closed to public traffic. The lobby doors will remain open to the public but public contact will be limited, Rhinelander Fire Chief Terry Williams announced in a press release.

Fire Department

The fire department is accessible to communicate through the counter window. As always, call 911 for emergencies. Our nonemergency contact is (715) 365-5400.

Inspection Department

People can drop off permits in a drop box in our lobby. Patrons may call to request an appointment, but issues will be screened for the need of direct contact. Please call us with any questions or concerns at (715) 365-8606.

"I appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this difficult time," Williams said. "We are trying to do our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19."

Sheriff's office lobby closed

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office has also begun to take some precautions to ensure the wellbeing and health of emergency services personnel and the inmates that are housed at the Oneida County Jail in response to COVID-19 also known as the Coronavirus. Until further notice, the sheriff's office lobby will not be open to the public and there will no longer be video visitation in the front lobby vestibule, department officials announced Tuesday. If you need assistance with something that you would normally take care of at the Oneida County Sheriff's Office, you can call 715-361-5100 and we will assist you. Visitation of inmates will still be available with the use of a personal computer at Also the lobby kiosk will not be available. Deposits can also be accomplished at

Nicolet College to convert to online.learning

All Nicolet College classes, on campus and off, are temporarily suspended from Tuesday, March 17 through Sunday, March 22, the college announced on its website. This temporary suspension will allow staff to convert face-to-face classes to alternate delivery modes. The college will remain open, but all students (regardless of delivery mode), are not required to attend classes the remainder of this week. All classes will resume on Monday, March 23 via online (or other distance technology) and will remain in this delivery mode until April 24, 2020. Students should watch their email for further information from their instructors specific to their individual classes.

All Nicolet College events, on campus and off, are cancelled or postponed until at least April 24. Events with more than 50 anticipated in attendance are cancelled or postponed until at least May 11.

Nicolet College will remain open to the extent possible. Some office hours may be curtailed and the availability of some services may be limited.

Goodwill announces special shopping hours for seniors

Effective Wednesday, March 18, all 27 Goodwill NCW retail stores and training centers will be open 10 to 11 a.m. daily to seniors who are 60 or better to help them avoid more crowded shopping periods, the organization announced Tuesday. Hours to the general public will be 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., until further notice.

"We are committed to standing by and with the people who need us most during this critical time," the release states. "Many people are depending on us to keep them healthy and safe while at the same time supporting them to sustain their families. It's a delicate balance we take seriously. This decision was made with the health of our team members and customers in mind. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely as well as take guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the coming weeks."

COVID-19 Community Response Fund established

The Northwoods United Way announced Wednesday it has launched a COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

"The emergence and rapid spread of this virus has caused a level of disruption in our lives that none of us could imagine just a short while ago," United Way officials said in a press release. "This crisis is also driving urgent and unexpected needs in communities all across the Northwoods as many face financial uncertainty stemming from efforts to contain the virus. We have, therefore, set up this fund so that we can mobilize our resources to provide support where it is most needed. The Northwoods United Way, its board of directors, and along with other community leaders, will have input on what the unmet or additional needs are in the community as it relates to COVID-19, and our goal is to ensure funds get in to the hands of agencies that serve those needs in an expedient manner."

To donate to the fund, you can send a check to:

Northwoods United Way, PO Box 177

Rhinelander, WI 54501

Checks should be made out to Northwoods United Way, and indicate COVID-19 fund in the comments.

In addition, you may bring a check to the Nicolet National Bank branches in Rhinelander, Eagle River or Minocqua.

In addition, you can use a credit card to donate through Click on donate now. Please indicate in the comments that funds are for COVID19.

If you have further questions regarding this fund, call Nancy Sattler, executive director, at 715-202-3344 or email at

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