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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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Community rallies to help one of its ownSubmitted: 10/30/2014

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CRANDON - Kim Teschner looks like a healthy 28-year-old, but the mother of two from Crandon had the scare of her life this past July.

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Teschner became numb. She couldn't walk by the time she got to the emergency room.

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Wisconsin Rapids man gets life in 2008 homicideSubmitted: 10/30/2014

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - A 55-year-old Wisconsin Rapids man has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury convicted him of killing his daughter's ex-boyfriend.

Jurors deliberated for less than two hours Thursday before finding Joseph Reinwand guilty of first-degree intentional homicide.

Wood County Judge Greg Potter sentenced Reinwand to life in prison with no eligibility for extended supervision.

Reinwand was charged in the 2008 shooting death of 35-year-old Dale Meister.

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Wisconsin GAB predicts 2.5 million to vote in 2014 election Submitted: 10/30/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin election officials are predicting a little more than half of the state's voting-age population will go to the polls next week.

The Government Accountability Board officials said Thursday it expects about 2.5 million people will vote Tuesday. That's about 56.5 percent of the 4.3 million people in Wisconsin old enough to vote.

GAB officials say the turnout should be similar to the 2012 gubernatorial recall election, which saw about 57.8 percent of the voting-age population go to the polls. The 2012 presidential election, by contrast, saw 70 percent turnout.

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Northwoods Highway Departments prep for first snowfall Submitted: 10/30/2014

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Northern Wisconsin likely faces the first significant snowfall of the year Thursday night. That means highway departments are prepping for the start of snow-removal season.

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Substitute teachers will get paid more.Submitted: 10/30/2014

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RHINELANDER - Substitute teachers working for the Rhinelander School District will get paid more.

The district superintendent thinks the pay increase will make it easier for them to find substitutes. The district has had a difficult time finding subs since they started paying substitute teachers less than other districts.

Last year, they changed long term sub pay from 190 dollars to 135 dollars per day.

Some local subs started working for other districts.

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Walker leads Burke in latest poll; both hit the campaign trailSubmitted: 10/30/2014

MADISON - Democrat Mary Burke is back on the campaign trail on the heels of a poll showing her trailing Republican Gov. Scott Walker by 7 points.

Burke was scheduled to campaign Thursday in Port Washington. Walker is starting his day in the Wausau area, then going east to Green Bay, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Sen. Ron Johnson was campaigning with Walker.

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Defense rests in Wisconsin Rapids homicide trialSubmitted: 10/30/2014

WISCONSIN RAPIDS - The attorneys for a 55-year-old Wisconsin Rapids man accused of killing his daughter's ex-boyfriend have rested their case after two days of witness testimony.

Joseph Reinwand is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the 2008 shooting death of 35-year-old Dale Meister. Reinwand decided not the take the stand Wednesday in his own defense.

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