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

Testimony at final Common Core public hearing stretches into seventh hour
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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 02/23/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Right now, seaplane pilots have no options for parking, repair, and refueling between Shawano and Duluth. We talk to a member of an organization that is trying to change that by constructing a seaplane base in Park Falls.

Snowmobile racers compete at the Winter Hatchet Nationals Ice Oval Snowmobile Racing at the Tomahawk Speedway this weekend. We'll show you how they've prepared the track to keep it from melting, and we talk to a snowmobile champion from Tomahawk to find out how he feels about racing in his home town.

And on tonight's Friday Night Blitz we'll bring you scores from high school games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following games:

Girls Basketball Playoffs:

Rhinelander vs. Merrill

New London vs. Elcho

Lena vs. Elcho

Wausau West vs. Three Lakes

Bonduel vs. Crandon


That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll bring you this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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WAUSAU - Police spent hours trying to get a man with a gun out of a Wausau home Friday morning. 

According to a press release, Wausau Police went to a home on the 100 block of Maple Street looking for Bennie Green, 35. Green was a suspect in a gun fire investigation from Wednesday night. Police think Green fired a gun near North Third Ave and Norton Street that night. No one was hurt in that situation.

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TOMAHAWK - The near freezing temperatures will help snowmobile racers compete at the 2nd Annual Winter Hatchet Nationals Ice Oval Snowmobile Race at the Tomahawk Speedway.

Last year during the race, temperatures reached far above freezing causing track co-owner Andrew Bartelt to plan ahead.

"I actually covered this entire speedway with tents and stuff like that to block the UV rays. This year we were preemptive and we put a UV blocker in the water which came along with blue coloring so it looks pretty," said Bartelt.

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SHAWANO COUNTY - Thursday marked a big victory for a group of people wanting to keep a sex offender out of their Forest County neighborhood. A Shawano County Judge ruled in favor of continuing an order that stops Jeffrey LeVasseur from moving to Blackwell.

The hearing itself lasted about seven and a half hours on Thursday. But to the Blackwell residents in the civil case, the lengthy trial was worth the outcome.

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RHINELANDER - A new restaurant opened in Rhinelander, on Friday.

It is been a long road for sisters Stephanie Kaether and Chris Culley to open the Historic Davenport House.

Kaether and Culley were born and raised in Rhinelander.

"We've always been close and there's no any sibling rivalry," said Kaether.

After traveling all over the world, the two sisters finally decided to follow their dream and open a restaurant in their hometown. 

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MERRILL - Merrill went without a homeless shelter for the last two winters. 

Now, construction is finally about to begin on a new one. 

The building was donated to the Merrill Community Homeless Center board in October.

Board Secretary Dee Olsen says Merrill has had 30 adults and five families suffering from homelessness in the last five months.

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RHIENLANDER - Police think a Rhinelander woman tried to hire a hitman to kill her husband. During Megan Danielczak's preliminary hearing on Friday, a detective explained in more detail what led up to Danielczak's arrest.

Rhinelander Police Detective Sergeant Kyle Parish said Danielczak told police she "went through with it" because she was scared of the hitman.

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