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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
Second year of pumpkin display in RhinelanderSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander continued a Halloween tradition a week before the special day.

You could see pumpkins lined up in front of Trigs Saturday night. This is the second year Downtown Rhinelander Inc. held the pumpkin sighting.

They didn't have as many pumpkins as they did last year, but people still had the chance to judge which pumpkin had the best carving.

"We just wanted something that would be pizazz when people drove by or walked around. They would see all these lit pumpkins," said Downtown Rhinelander Inc. member/Sandy Bus, Joan Belongia.

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Movie makers use Newswatch 12 studioSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can expect to see Newswatch 12's studio on the big screen in the future. Movie makers from Madison used our set for a scene in their low budget indi film.

Barking Shadow Productions company has been shooting a movie called Tesla Factor in Rhinelander. It's based on corporate and political dirty deeds.

We don't want to give too much away, but our set was used for a broadcast informing viewers about a company doing illegal things.

The company hopes to have the movie featured on Netflix.

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Wisconsin sex offenders must stay home HalloweenSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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MADISON - Police are teaming up with parole agents across Wisconsin to make sure sex offenders stay home on Halloween night.

All of Wisconsin's 5,000 registered sex offenders under active community supervision are subject to special restrictions on Halloween.

Grace Roberts, who heads the Department of Corrections sex offender program, says they began actively enforcing the rules under the Halloween Knock and Talk program about eight years ago.

Offenders are barred from putting up Halloween decorations that might attract children to knock on their doors.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says his officers will be out both this weekend and next reminding registrants they're being watched.

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Dog kills 7-year-old boy in eastern WisconsinSubmitted: 10/25/2014

TOWN OF HUSTISFORD - A 7-year-old boy has died after being severely bitten by a dog in Dodge County of eastern Wisconsin.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Office says in a statement that the incident was reported just before 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Town of Hustisford.

Lt. Brian Loos says that a 911 caller said the boy was bleeding profusely. He says dispatchers began to talk the mother through CPR while numerous agencies responded. But the child died at the scene despite extensive lifesaving efforts.

The statement says names, addresses and additional information about the nature of the incident and the dog won't be released for now out of respect to the family.

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Wisconsin insurers signing up same-sex couplesSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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MILWAUKEE - Several Wisconsin insurance companies are holding special sign-ups so same-sex couples can add spouses to their health plans.

The special enrollment period is needed because gays and lesbians who got married this summer were unable to add spouses to their coverage amid the uncertainty surrounding the legal status of their marriages.

People generally can make changes to a health plan during the year only after a ``life-changing'' event, such as a marriage, divorce, or birth or adoption of a child.

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Early Halloween celebrationsSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - Halloween won't be here until next week but the celebration has already begun in the Northwoods.

Hundreds of kids took over the streets of Rhinelander Saturday. They all had one goal in mind...candy!

For many of the kids, this was the second time they've gone trick or treating. Hundreds of people got candy at the YMCA's Not So Scary Halloween Trail.

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Suspect sought in 2 stabbings near UW-OshkoshSubmitted: 10/25/2014

OSHKOSH - Police are seeking a suspect in the stabbings of two students near the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Authorities say the stabbings happened around 11 p.m. Friday in a neighborhood east of campus. A police statement says the suspect confronted the first victim and took his cellphone, then stabbed him in the ensuing struggle.

Police say the second victim chased the suspect, another struggle ensued, and he was also stabbed.

A university statement says both students were seriously injured but are recuperating at an area hospital.

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