RHINELANDER - Paying for college keeps getting harder and harder. Wisconsin schools raised tuition rates pretty much every budget session lately.
That makes finishing school in a timely manner financially important.
Nicolet College in Rhinelander helped start the transcripted credit program four years ago.
Students can earn some college credits while still in high school.
They learn college-level material in their own high school classrooms, taught by their own teachers - all while earning both high school and college credit.
Nicolet College president Elizabeth Burmaster thinks students are up to the challenge.
"It is a college course that is rigorous and demanding," Burmaster said. "But it is offered to high school students, so they have to be ready for it and they have to work hard in order to succeed in any college course."
Nicolet's program began at Rhinelander and Elcho High Schools.
But it's nearly doubled in the last four years, reaching most Northwoods districts.
Students can now get credits in business, accounting, welding and medical fields through Nicolet.
More than 21,000 students statewide take part through local technical colleges.
MEDFORD - You know curling from the Olympics. This week, master curlers from across the country are throwing their rocks in Medford. But this kind of curling you won’t see in Sochi, Mixed Doubles.
"Mixed doubles is fun. I really like it. It's really quick, everything happens quick and you're making a lot of precision shots because you don't have sweepers. I like that a lot and I like getting to play with Brady," said Cristin Clark.
FOREST COUNTY - Forest Count and Wisconsin Off-Road Vehicle Park Inc. (WORVPI) have found a 10,000 acre plot of land they would like to buy for an off-road park, according to WORVPI President John Schnorr.
Schnorr wouldn't discuss the exact location in Forest County, but said they would hope to buy the parcels by June 2014. Right now they’re contracting an engineering firm to evaluate the land.
"That's so environmental concerns can be met," Schnorr said. "We'll look at that as well as a pleasurable experience for an off-road visitor who is going to come up and spend hopefully a weeks vacation in Forest County."
Forest County leaders believe an off-road park could help bring more tourists to the area, and with that more money. The county has the fifth worst unemployment rate, 7.9 percent, in Wisconsin.
WORVPI used Ripon College to perform a feasibility study on the off-road park. It says the average off-roader will travel 300 miles to visit an off-road park. It also projected an off-road park could bring in nearly $28 million per year for Forest County businesses.
"It will take us some time to operate and open it up and develop the trails, the camp sites, the amenities inside," Schnorr said. "Realistically we could see an opening date of Memorial Day of 2015."
The park would host ATVs, motorcycles and other vehicles on off-road trails.
People can help fund the park by purchasing $150 charter membership passes. More than 30 have already been purchased. Schnorr says only 100 will be available.
"The pass will entitle the holder to a park pass, an annual park pass, for the first year when the park opens," Schnorr said. "It will give us some capital up front and afford them a discounted price down the road."
Even with the progress, Schnorr says the project is still in the early stages.
"If you are an optimist, you think a huge amount of progress has been made," Schnorr said. "But if you are a pessimist, not enough progress has been made."
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