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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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Man seriously injured in motorcycle crash Submitted: 09/20/2014

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MARATHON COUNTY - A 51-year-old Mosinee man was sent to a hospital with serious injuries after a motorcycle crash Saturday.

The crash happened on County Road WW at US 51 in Marathon County around 11:30 a.m.

The Wisconsin State Patrol says the motorcyclist was driving east on County Road WW when he tried to avoid a stopped car in front of him. The motorcycle crashed leaving the rider and the motorcycle in oncoming traffic.

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Wisconsin still struggling with obesity,almost 30% of adults obese, ranks 22nd nationwideSubmitted: 09/20/2014

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ACROSS WISCONSIN - Nearly one in three adults in Wisconsin is considered obese according to a report by the Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to the data and trend, the state isn't slimming, but the increase has almost leveled off over the last few year.

Wisconsin ranks 22nd in the U.S. and still lags behind states like West Virginia and Mississippi. Thirty-five percent of people there are considered obese.

Specialists like Eric Filipiak at Riverside Athletic Club in Merrill say a healthy transition starts by finding the right environment.

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Hundreds wear purple, walk to raise money for Alzheimer's researchSubmitted: 09/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - Doctors think more than 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer's disease by 2050. Researchers hope to find a cure to get rid of the disease.

Hundreds of people hit the streets of Rhinelander to raise money for Alzheimer's research today. The Walk to End Alzheimer's also helps fund programs and services to help families affected by the disease.

Event organizers believe the walk gives families who feel hopeless a way to be proactive.

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Packers purchase strip mall near LambeauSubmitted: 09/20/2014

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers franchise is gobbling up more land around Lambeau Field.

Brown County real estate records show the business entity created by the Packers, Green Bay Development, has purchased a strip shopping center for $725,000.

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Northwoods county struggles keeping young people despite better than average unemployment rate.Submitted: 09/20/2014

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PARK FALLS - Northern Wisconsin struggles keeping its young people. That leads to fewer young families and shrinking communities in the area, but rural communities are trying to reverse that trend.

Park Falls Area Community Development Corporation Administrator Frank Kempf says Price County wants to help young people find good work in their area, but the problem is finding the jobs that young people are going after.

"The young people who are leaving to go to work, and we just don't have the jobs to bring them back to stay here and live here with the jobs that they want," Kempf said.

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UWSP student, instructor teaming up on safety appSubmitted: 09/19/2014

STEVENS POINT - Two members of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point community are developing a safety app that allows students to track the location of friends when they go out on the town.

Stevens Point Journal Media (http://spjour.nl/1DmZSyb ) reports UWSP senior Jenna Furger and instructor Drew Frisk are working together to conduct the smartphone program's first beta test. They hope to roll out the app within the next couple of months.

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Bad weather takes a toll on local vineyardsSubmitted: 09/19/2014

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"Here's a couple of vines that we lost," explained David Welbes, owner of Brigadoon Winery. "They died."

Many vineyards in the Northwoods don't look good this year. The bad weather has made it nearly impossible for grapes to grow into a healthy crop.

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