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NEWS STORIES

A different approach to the first day of schoolSubmitted: 09/03/2013
Story By Lex Gray


RHINELANDER - The first day of school usually means a long day of new schedules and different expectations. But teachers at Rhinelander High School mixed it up this year.

Dozens of high schoolers running around a field doesn't look like a typical first day of school. That's exactly the point.

"We decided it would be a great way to ease the kids into the school year," said Allie Johnson, an English teacher. "[We can] get our expectations out, walk them through procedural changes that have happened, go over the rules, and also give them some time to bond."

Time to bond doesn't just mean catching up on what happened over the summer. Students did team-building exercises with their classmates.
"We were working together to get across the line," said junior Morgan Blaser. "We all have to move at the same time, act at the same time, and react at the same time, and by doing this, that might help us build stronger relationships in the classroom, and help us learn how each other works."

Teachers hope the day will set the tone for the year. They're rolling out a second year of PBIS, or Positive Behavior Intervention Systems.

"The focus is on teaching good behavior and expectations," Johnson said. "So walking kids through these areas in school, teaching them the behaviors, hopefully will reinforce them, and then everyone gets the same message, the same expectation is out for everybody. So to start the school year this way will definitely have an effect in the hallways and in the classrooms."

Blaser says the school felt more like a family because of PBIS - and it helped the whole school behave a little better.

"Our focus last year was tardies, and tardies went down immensely. I think the number was 15 percent over the course of the year, and so it has had a great effect," Johnson said. "It's also affected the school climate. I think kids are much more positive. Kids are more respectful and responsible because those are our key values in PBIS."

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/27/2015

- A man in Wausau used an eight-month-old baby as a human shield last night. Today, we hear from first responders who helped negotiate the safe recovery of the child.

- A Northwoods fishing guide has grown tired of what seems to be a growing number of drownings across the area. Now, he's working to change the laws to make waterways safer. We'll have a live report from Minocqua.

- And a donation will help the Merrill Police Department keep its K-9 unit safe. We'll tell you why the K-9 first aid kit will help the unit and why it came with an infant diaper. We'll also tell you how you can help other K-9 units tonight on Newswatch 12.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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ROANOKE, VA - A former colleague killed a reporter and photographer on live television in Virginia Wednesday. 

Reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were killed.

Police say a former reporter Vester Flanagan killed them.

Vicki Gardner, the woman being interviewed was hurt.

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MERRILL - A new first aid kit will help Merrill's K-9 unit stay safe.

It was a donation, and all they needed to do was post a picture on Facebook.

The kit was donated through the We Ride to Provide organization.

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MERRILL - A local technical college wants to make sure first responders get all the training they need.

That's why NTC in Merrill wanted a rail car.

First responders can use the car to learn how to handle derailments and crashes.

NTC leaders think Merrill is a good place for the rail car.

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WAUSAU - Prosecutors want to prove a Stevens Point man put many people in danger by allegedly taking part in a shootout last month.

Brian Fisher, 35, was in court Thursday. He faces multiple felony counts of recklessly endangering safety and one count of having a gun as a convicted felon.

Police say Fisher shot his gun at 36-year-old Morgan Sykes on July 8th at It's Our Clubhouse bar. They say they used video from a surveillance camera to identify Fisher in the shooting.

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MINOCQUA - Too many times, Minocqua-area fishing guide Greg Bohn has heard the stories of tragedy.

A parent on Wisconsin waters jumps in to try to rescue their child, who is in the water without a life jacket. But the parent, also not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD), drowns, even if the child survives.

It happened in July on Shawano Lake in Shawano County, and on Minocqua Lake a few years ago.

"Accidents can happen in seconds, and there's total chaos and emergency," Bohn says while touring Minocqua Lake on his fishing boat.

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TOMAH - The troubled Tomah Veterans Administration Medical Center will be making changes to address staff shortages.

The VA will be temporarily closing hospital's 11-bed inpatient psychiatric unit.

It has stopped admitting new patients.

The VA's Matthew Gowan believes the two patients currently in the unit likely will be discharged before the September 4th closure.

Any veteran requiring psychiatric treatment will be transferred to VA facilities in Madison and Milwaukee, or to non-VA hospitals.

Tomah VA Medical Center also plans to suspend psychiatric admissions to its residential long-term care facility until additional staff are hired.

The nursing home will continue admitting veterans with non-psychiatric needs.

Hours for the Urgent Care clinic will be permanently reduced.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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