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NEWS STORIES

Testimony at final Common Core public hearing stretches into seventh hourSubmitted: 10/30/2013
Story By Lex Gray

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WAUSAU - Teachers started putting Common Core standards to work in Wisconsin classrooms three years ago.

No one really seemed to pay attention Wisconsin had adopted the standards along with 44 other states, in part to qualify for billions of dollars in federal Race to the Top grants.

But in the last few months, legislators from Wisconsin and other states started looking more closely at Common Core.

Governor Scott Walker told reporters in late September he believed Wisconsin could do better than federal Common Core standards.

Over the last few weeks, special Senate and Assembly committees have held four public hearings to decide if that's true.

The last of those four hearings happened in Wausau Wednesday, with testimony lasting more than seven hours.

The debate about Common Core, across the nation and in Wausau, has been marked by a different kind of bipartisanship it's not liberals on one side, conservatives on the other. Both sides are both for and against the standards.

Michael Petrilli is the executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

He spoke in favor of Common Core standards.

"There [are] plenty of Republicans who like the idea of higher standards and tougher accountability," Petrilli said. "From our perspective, the Common Core standards are exactly that."

Pete Biolo, a retired teacher and the vice chairman of the Oneida County Republican Party, doesn't necessarily disagree with that. He takes issue with Common Core because of federal involvement.

"It's a process or a program that has its roots at the federal level, and the federal government, in passing it, made federal monies available," Biolo said. "Any time you have federal monies available to something, you have strings attached."

Petrilli rejects that idea.

"I think the benefits of having better standards, better tests, outweigh those concerns," Petrilli said.

Biolo disagrees, and wants Wisconsin to create its own set of standards, to get the federal government out. Governor Walker has also recently said the state could do better on its own.

"If the governor can do better than these standards, I think that's great," Petrilli said. "I think what he would find is if he went through the process of recreating standards, they'd come out quite the same as the Common Core."

The Senate and Assembly's special committees are expected to make a recommendation in November about what Wisconsin should do about Common Core.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Deputies release new photos of wanted manSubmitted: 08/27/2014

VILAS COUNTY - Investigators think new photos will help find 38-year-old Eric Hall.

Vilas County deputies believe he has stolen multiple cars, committed several burglaries, was involved in a high speed chase, and assaulted a police officer since he was released from prison in June 2014.

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Leadership Oneida County seeks more applicants before deadlineSubmitted: 08/27/2014

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RHINELANDER - Going back to school takes a lot of time and money, but there's another way you can get a step up in your career without stepping in the classroom.

Leadership Oneida County is a nine month course offered to people who strive to be leaders. About 100 graduates of the course come from various backgrounds but have the same reason to take it.

"Go through this course to learn more about their community and learn more about their personal strengths as leaders, and to build their own professional network. The point of the course is to really connect leaders to their community," said Tim Brown, UW-Extension Community Resource Development.

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Hundreds gather to honor slain journalist FoleySubmitted: 08/27/2014

MILWAUKEE - Slain U.S. journalist James Foley is being remembered as a person committed to social justice and as a modest friend who deflected questions about himself.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/VQatzQ ) that Father Fred Zagone, the chaplain for the Marquette University Alumni Association, said at a vigil Tuesday that Foley cited the resonance of the Jesuit resolve he learned there after he was captured for the first time in Libya in 2011. Foley studied at Marquette. Zagone shared that email with more than 300 people at the vigil.

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Northwoods gun safety discussions following Arizona shooting instructor deathSubmitted: 08/27/2014

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RHINELANDER - The accidental death of a shooting instructor in Arizona raises questions about what kinds of guns children should learn to shoot.

A 9-year-old girl was learning how to fire a fully-automatic weapon on Monday. The recoil was too much for her to handle. As a result, she ended up firing several rounds uncontrollably and one of the rounds hit her instructor in the head. Some gun instructors in the Northwoods wonder why a young girl was using a fully-automatic weapon in the first place.

"Firearms training is an evolutionary thing," said Bruce Gary, an NRA certified shooting instructor. "You don't go from a training rifle to a machine gun. It was a horrible accident that frankly was preventable. And I don't understand why this instructor put a machine gun in the hands of a 9-year-old girl."

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Changes to food served at schools Submitted: 08/27/2014

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RHINELANDER - Students going back to school could see some changes to what food they can buy at school.

New food requirements went into effect over the summer.

One of those is changes to what kinds of snacks students can buy.

There are stricter requirements for how much sodium, calories and fat can be in food.

Food also needs to be more than half whole grain.

Food service workers at the School District of Rhinelander have had to make some changes to recipes.

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Local seed company expandsSubmitted: 08/27/2014

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WHITE LAKE - A local Langlade County business will soon move its headquarters from White Lake to Antigo.

Owners of Wolf River Valley Seeds bought the building on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Edison Street in Antigo earlier this month. The company is known for producing high quality forage seeds to help provide nutrition for dairy cows. They are also a leading producer of the highly nutritious triticale seed.

"Wolf River Valley Seeds in White Lake is the largest producer today in the United States of triticale for Syngenta," said Production Manager and Part-Owner Mark Resch. "Triticale is a cross between wheat and rye and a lot of people don't know what it is. In the fields around here, it would look a lot like wheat and it is a very high protein forage crop that dairy people are using."

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Poll shows strong support for Kenosha casinoSubmitted: 08/27/2014

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WISCONSIN - A poll shows strong support for a new tribal casino in Kenosha.

The Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday shows 49 percent support the casino while 35 percent oppose it.

The Menominee Tribe wants to build an $810 million casino and Hard Rock Cafe complex in Kenosha. The project is running into opposition from the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe, which has a casino in Milwaukee.

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