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19th Never Forgotten Honor Flight welcomed homeSubmitted: 04/28/2015

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WAUSAU - Eighty-one Wisconsin veterans are back home from the trip of a lifetime.

They all participated in the 19th Never Forgotten Honor Flight to Washington, DC.

The flight took place on the fifth anniversary of the first flight.

More than 1,000 people packed Central Wisconsin Airport on Monday night to welcome back the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam veterans.

The veterans spent Monday touring the memorials in Washington DC.

Newswatch 12's Lauren Stephenson was the only TV reporter on the flight.

Stay tuned to Newswatch 12 as she brings you stories of some of our nation's heroes.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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 LOCAL NEWS

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TOWN OF SKANAWAN - A pair of proposed gravel pit mines could significantly change one area in Lincoln County. The mine sites would cover approximately 125 acres in the Town of Skanawan, southeast of Tomahawk. Experts believe the area has an extremely rich deposit, but some people worry the project will hurt the environment and grow larger than what the county could approve.

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RHINELANDER - Fields of an invasive plant called phragmites stand all along Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shore. Invasive species workers hope most of the plants stay away from the Northwoods.

But workers chopped down a stand of phragmites on Monday on Highway 8 just west of Rhinelander. The stand had been chemically treated in the fall, a step that workers hope will help control the spread of the species.

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ANTIGO - Dealing with allergic reactions to bee stings can be one of the biggest health threats to students.

"If we were seeing a reaction, for example a tingling of the mouth, swelling of the throat, a visual that a student might give us if they are unable to breath at that time, we would immediately administer an EpiPen," Director of Pupil Services Unified School District of Antigo Karen Baker.

Teachers watch carefully for possible allergic reactions, especially at recess and on field trips.

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MERRILL - The Community Warming Center in Merrill finished up its first winter season a few weeks ago. The center provides a place to stay for people in need from November through April.

The guest's ages ranged from 22 to 45 years old. The center is run through the Merrill United Way. The Warming Center's director said its first year went much better than expected.

"It's kind of like building the field of dreams and not knowing if anyone will come to play, or to stay in our case," said Merrill United Way Executive Director Dee Olsen. "But what ended up happening was the community was responsive and we ended up with 11 guests throughout the season with 90 user nights."

The center is already preparing for the next season. They have new blankets and pillows ready for their next year.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many Northwoods cities need to make improvements to the roads now that it's spring.

Rhinelander wants to do it, enough to impose a new sales tax.

Another local city will make improvements to the road and the pipes under the road.

Eagle River will replace infrastructure on Division Street.

Eagle River's mayor Jeff Hyslop says it's about 70 years old.

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Local kids help protect batsSubmitted: 04/27/2015

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RHINELANDER - Seventh graders in Rhinelander will help protect bats this summer. That's thanks to help from the U.S. Forest Service.

Kids in Rhinelander Monday learned about endangered bats across Wisconsin on Monday. A bat expert with Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest showed the importance of keeping bats healthy. The students helped local scientists by building new homes for the bats.

"Ms. Swaney showed us a presentation about the bats with a speaker and now we're building them," said 7th grader Jackie Wells.

"They have predators and it will kind of keep them safe in their little bat homes," said 7th Grader Connor Lund.

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RHINELANDER - Last year, a valve malfunction in eastern Wisconsin sent natural gas leaking into the air. A similar situation in the Northwoods could cut off gas supply to a whole city and be dangerous to people in the nearby area.

Wisconsin Public Service wants to be ready in case something like that happens. A natural gas station near the intersection of Highways 8 and 47 provides natural gas to most of Rhinelander. Workers rushed there on Monday, simulating their response to a leak.

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