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NEWS STORIES

Democrats explore ways to make tuition, college debt more manageable in northcentral WisconsinSubmitted: 09/16/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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WAUSAU - Student loans saddle Americans with more than $1 trillion of debt.

Meanwhile, college costs continue to rise steadily.

University of Wisconsin System tuitions increased about 20% in the last five years alone.

The tuition and debt problem hits students and graduates hard.

"If you have a four-year degree in the state of Wisconsin, you're paying for 18.7 years on your student loan. If you have a two-year degree, it's 16.7," says One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

"It's ridiculous. I'm just trying to get a degree, I'm just trying to get a job. I'm going to be paying for this job essentially for the rest of my life. It's like indentured servitude to the state," says UW-Marathon County Student Government President Cole Harder.

Wisconsin Legislative Democrats have made fighting high college costs and student debt levels a priority.

They took their message to UW-Marathon County today.

They believe those financial challenges hurt Wisconsin's larger economy.

"It's critical for us, both now and in the future. We don't want to see students coming out with huge amounts of debt burden that they're prohibited from buying a home, or from living the American dream like their parents have," says Stevens Point Democratic Sen. Julie Lassa.

Wisconsin Democrats hope to draw attention to the tuition and debt issue.

Their actual effectiveness in writing bills might be limited.

They remain in the minority in both the Senate and Assembly.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Export markets sought for Wisconsin cranberriesSubmitted: 08/29/2014

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - China might be a good place to send some of Wisconsin's extra cranberries.

The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection hosted a group of potential buyers from China this past week.

They talked to growers and toured cranberry facilities.

Industry leaders are hoping to expand demand for cranberries as an oversupply causes prices to drop.

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Some child pornography tips see slow Justice Department responseSubmitted: 08/29/2014

MADISON - Most people would expect quick action if they provided a tip about possible child pornography.

Newly released records show state Justice Department field offices across Wisconsin have delayed investigating some child pornography tips for months.

For example, the agency's Madison office took about three years to assign two tips for follow-up.

The Department of Justice earlier had fired the Milwaukee Special Agent-In-Charge for allowing nearly four dozen tips to languish.

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Kwik Trip opens in RhinelanderSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can find a new option for coffee, gas and groceries in the Northwoods.

Kwik Trip opened its doors in Rhinelander.

It's a family-owned gas station and convenience store chain out of LaCrosse.

There are 420 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

The newest location in Rhinelander will bring 30 jobs to the area.

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Improvements on the way for this weekend's PotatoFestSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's first-ever PotatoFest last year started as a charity fundraiser and way to recognize the potato's importance in our area.

After last year's success, the event will expand even more this weekend.

PotatoFest features a parade, eating and cooking contests, live music all day, and the YMCA Couch Potato Race.

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Wisconsin mourning dove season to begin Sept. 1Submitted: 08/28/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials are reminding hunters that the state's new extended mourning dove season will begin next week.

Hunters will be allowed to kill the state's official peace symbol from Sept. 1 through Nov. 29. That's 20 days longer than previous seasons.

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School District of Antigo loses 18 teachers to retirement, could face a similar problem next yearSubmitted: 08/28/2014

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ANTIGO - The School District of Antigo will see a lot of new faces this fall.

The district hired 26 new teachers this year.

They lost so many teachers last year because of retirements and teachers leaving for bigger districts.

The district can't always pay as much as larger ones, especially specialty teachers like special education or science.

"We've tended overall on average to be in the middle of the pack but at some levels we're falling behind," says Antigo School District Interim District Administrator Don Childs. "Particularly in areas of high need and specialty. You'll find there are districts that are willing to pay premiums for and that sometimes draws people as well away from another district."

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Students help incoming freshmen feel comfortable about starting high schoolSubmitted: 08/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Starting high school can be scary for incoming freshmen. One Northwoods high school wanted to help freshman before they start school.

Rhinelander High School held their freshman orientation Thursday. New students got the chance to do team building, get their Chromebooks and tour the school.

Juniors and seniors were there to help the freshmen.

"I think it helps them feel a little bit more comfortable with the high school surroundings," says Junior Emily Ditzler. "You know, walking in on the first day of high school you're not sure where to go. But orientation helps them know exactly where their classes are 'cause they get their schedules right now, and they can become familiar with the teachers and with their homerooms."

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