WAUSAU - We teach our kids to look both ways before they cross the street, buckle their seatbelts, and never drink and drive. But our kids may be teaching us a safety lesson soon. When it comes to texting and driving, adults are worse offenders than teenagers.
Today, Wausau Police went to Wausau West High School. Instead of telling them how dangerous texting and driving can be, they showed them.
This simulator car has an accelerator and brakes, but doesn't actually move. Students who went in thinking they can get away with texting and driving found out otherwise.
"I think they do feel like they do a pretty good job. They might say, 'Well oh yeah I was speeding a little bit'. But they don't even realize the drifting and the danger that it could cause," says Maureen Pilsner, from the Wausau Police Department.
One of our reporters gave it a shot, thinking she did pretty well. But she hit two people, another car, and had two speeding violations.
"Anything that you're texting or reading over the phone while you're driving is not worth dying for or risking someone else's life so it can wait. Hopefully through people's passion on this topic more lives can be saved in the future," says Maggie Deloye, a Wausau West Senior.
The Wausau Police Department is offering the simulator to anyone in Marathon County who wants to learn the dangers of distracted driving. Officers will take it to businesses, schools and community events. If you're interested, you can call the police department.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker's administration plans to schedule round table discussions around Wisconsin for people to discuss the state's tax code and propose changes.
Walker says he wants to lower the overall tax burden every year he is in office. The round tables are to discuss the state's tax structure, not any specific proposal.
Walker and the Republican Legislature this year passed a $650 million income tax cut and a $100 million property tax reduction.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Revenue Department Secretary Rick Chandler hosted the first tax reform round table discussion on Monday at Beloit College. Walker says more will be announced in coming weeks.
WHITEWATER - Wisconsin has made the Peace Corps' Top 10 list for number of volunteers per capita.
Peace Corps volunteers spend two years working in a developing country. Tasks might include teaching English, digging wells and tending gardens.
According to rankings released Wednesday, for every 100,000 Wisconsin residents, 3.7 join the Peace Corps. That's ninth best in the nation, just behind Minnesota (3.8). Vermont is No. 1 at 7.8 volunteers per 100,000 residents.
Many of Wisconsin's volunteers come from the Whitewater area, which was ranked No. 10 in metro areas per capita.
President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961 to foster a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. More than 215,000 Americans have served in 139 countries worldwide.
EAU CLAIRE - Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a pair of bills designed to help students who are pursuing a technical college education.
One bill Walker signed provides incentive grants to school districts that promote career and technical education programs. The grants of up to $1,000 per school district will be available starting next school year.
The other bill Walker signed provides scholarships to full time students at technical colleges. Between one and six scholarships worth $2,250 will be available at each school.
Both measures passed the Legislature unanimously earlier this year. Walker signed the bills in Eau Claire.
State Superintendent Tony Evers had proposed the incentives last year and thanked Walker for signing the bills into law.
EAGLE RIVER - A Northwoods middle school started a fundraising competition Monday that will help raise money for the Frederick Place in Rhinelander.
Grades six through eight at Northland Pines Middle School in Eagle River will compete to raise the most money.
Students donate a dollar to buy a brick. The goal is to get the most bricks on the tape framed house on the wall in the school's cafeteria.
Eighth grader Zach Neddo helped put the project together.
"It feels better knowing that we're helping homeless people get a home so that we know exactly where its going," Neddo said. "Its not like your just mailing it off somewhere not knowing what it's being used for."
Other students like the Student Council President Sophie Spiess hope the competition encourages others to help with homelessness in the area.
"It really does make kids realize that homelessness is a part of our community, that we do need to take action and help people out," Spiess said.
Neddo says the donations have increased since the competition started Monday. He hopes more students begin to donate.
"It's going good right now, I just hope more kids get involved because if you look at all of the bricks with the names on them, a lot of names keep repeating, so I just hope more kids get involved and help support homeless people," Neddo said.
The competition runs through Friday. You can contact the Northland Pines Middle School to donate or help.
RHINELANDER - The antler-less deer hunt season opens Thursday.
Local legislators wanted to cancel the four day hunting season, but the DNR says that can't happen.
It would take at least six months to get through the administrative process to cancel any hunting season.
The DNR wants hunters to have a chance to hunt game before the season ends.
Jeremy Holtz is a DNR wildlife biologist in Rhinelander.
"The December antler-less hunt would simply be giving hunters who didn't get to hunt the first weekend--because they had to work, or they were in another part of the state--to fill a tag they already have," said Holtz. "So the odds of it having a significantly negative impact on the herd from a population management standpoint, I would consider them pretty low."
Republicans Tom Tiffany, Rob Swearingen, and Mary Czaja disagree. They say last year's late winter and high number of predators hurt the deer.
Now, legislators believe this year's early winter weather will continue to hurt the herd.
"My office in Madison, Representative Mary Czaja from Tomahawk, and certainly Senator Tiffany, have been receiving a lot of comments from frustrated sportsman regarding the low harvest of the deer season this year," said Rob Swearingen, Wisconsin State Representative. "As well as with the natural predators out there, and the early on set of icy conditions, we're worried that all of this together is going to create the perfect storm and take it's toll on these deer."
In August, two deer management units over-issued about 350 antler-less deer permits.
The DNR says it got about 254 of those permits back.
Last year in Oneida County, 74 deer were shot during the antler-less deer season.
Antler-less deer hunting is open from December 12 through December 15.
MADISON - Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature are calling on Republicans to hold a public hearing on a bill to increase the minimum wage.
Twenty six Democrats, including possible gubernatorial candidate Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, sent a letter Tuesday requesting the hearing.
The bill was introduced in January. It would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $7.60 an hour and then have it go up automatically based on inflation.
The request for a hearing comes as President Barack Obama and Democrats nationally have been calling for an increase in the minimum wage.
Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman says he doesn't support the bill, saying a higher minimum wage won't help his goal of finding more entry level jobs for teenagers. Grothman chairs the Judiciary and Labor Committee.
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