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High school students compete in welding competition Submitted: 11/02/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


EAGLE RIVER - Wisconsin officials want to grow the economy through manufacturing.

Those employers look for properly trained workers.

A welding competition helped students get ready to fill those manufacturing jobs.

You'll see plenty of sparks at factories in the Northwoods.

But for these high school students, a welding competition is their chance to shine.

"Expect anything and everything. You just gotta be ready for whatever comes at you." said Wausau competitor, Kyle Stein.

12 welders competed at the Advanced Welding Institute in Eagle River for the Skills Competition.

"What we were doing in there is real world. You get a blue print and you gotta follow the blue print to exact tolerance; sometimes within a thousand of an inch," Stein said.

"If we're doing something like that in there, it's going to prepare you for what you're going to see in the workplace."

The real world feel puts some pressure on competitors.

"The hardest part about this competition was coming into a new shop with unfamiliar welders and not knowing what their settings are going to be," Stein said.

"Then having to tune that welder so that you can get it so that it will well decent."

The winner goes to compete in Wisconsin Dells.

After that then they go to Nationals.

Rachel Fleischman was close to representing Wisconsin last year.

"I really hope I make it to nationals because last year I took second in state. I didn't get to make it to nationals," Fleischman said.

"I was really looking forward to nationals."

Those hopes help students get ready for the workforce.

"This is practice. This is what you're going to be doing when you get out into the job. Why not be ready for that before you jump feet first into it?" said Stein.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/28/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We look into the history of the Eagle River man who was shot and killed by officers outside of Merrill Tuesday morning after he was pulled over in Antigo, shot at a police officer and lead police into a chase that took them to Lincoln County.

We'll introduce you to the founder of the Raptor Education Group in Antigo which helps nurse injured birds back to life and returns them to the wild.

And today was "Miracle Treat Day" at Dairy Queen as the restaurant raises money for the Children's Miracle Network.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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LANGLADE COUNTY - Since March, Langlade County hasn't had a district attorney.

Its former district attorney Ralph Uttke went to work in Marathon County. The governor could have appointed someone for the job, but chose not to. Since then, a special prosecutor has been filling in.

But all district attorney positions statewide are up for election on November 8th.

Now Portage County assistant district attorney, Elizabeth Constable, will run for the position.

"It was always my plan to be a prosecutor," Constable said "And that's what I've done for my entire career."

Constable has been an assistant district attorney in Portage County for the past two years and also an assistant DA in Wood County for five years before that.

"I'm at the point in my career that I feel qualified to step into a leadership position," Constable said.

So when former Langlade County District Attorney Ralph Uttke left the office this spring, Constable saw her opportunity. She has a home ouside Elcho, so she decided to run��"and she's running uncontested.

"It all just worked out perfectly," Constable said.

Newswatch 12 caught Constable on vacation. But if she wasn't, she probably would have been in the courtroom. In her seven years, she's prosecuted 25 jury trials. But she's passionate about the justice system because she's seen it work, and wants it to work.

"I've had cases where I've really seen a turnaround in the defendent...the objectives of the sentencing actually worked," Constable said.

Part of that passion comes not only from her law degree from University of Wisconsin Law School. Before that, Constable got her masters in religion and philosophy from Harvard University��"on a full scholarship.

"Kind of studying people, who we are, what we do , how we think, what motivates us," Constable said.

It's that kind of study that lends itself well to her work as a prosecutor, she said.

"I really do also want to see that the defendants for the most part I just want to see them get on the right path," Constable said. 

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ANTIGO - When you can't catch fish, it's easy to blame the lure. If you need something different, people in Antigo make a lure that you might want to try. The Mepps assembly plant is located right off Highway 45.

Mepps fishing lures were originally made in Paris, France, starting in 1938. Back in the 1970's, a local Antigo sporting goods store owner, Todd Sheldon, decided to buy that facility and moved it to Nice, France. His son, Mike is now the president of the company.

"The guys that own the Mepps company in France were getting old enough to where they wanted to retire so we bought the Mepps company in France in 1972," said Sheldon.

One detail that makes the lure number one in the world is that they use actual animal tail fur.

"The tails are washed, dyed and tied back there," said plant worker Kim Wiegert. "And they're dehydrated. They will store a long time, so they can last 3 to 5 years."

There are many benefits to using real hair as opposed to artificial hair.

"The hair is hollow and goes through a lot of wear and tear," said Wiegert. "Other hairs would disintegrate, and fall apart. With these, it'll last longer, the fish can bite on them and it'll take a long time before they'll actually chew them apart."

Along with the hairs, there is a secret way to put the lures together that makes Mepps the best.

"We have a certain wind that we have and we can tell when we put them together, how it should be. All of our spinners are field tested before they actually go out," said Wiegert.

Even though the company distributes their product around the world, the Sheldon's still enjoy being based in Antigo.

"It's home. I grew up here and my parents grew up here and of course my kids did. And it's such a different pace of life here than the rest of the world," said Sheldon.

Everyone putting the little pieces together are women. Kim is just one who works in the plant that has been there for nearly 40 years. She also gives tours of the facility to the public.

"I like to react with the people when they come in, especially ones that have fishing stories to tell you. It's interesting here and you get to meet other people," said Wiegert.

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OSHKOSH - Yes, Hollywood actor Harrison Ford uses a checklist when he flies.

The "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" star was accompanied by an inquisitive teenager when he flew his DeHavilland Beaver on Thursday at the AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 air show.

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ANTIGO - The Raptor Education Group, Inc. (REGI) in Antigo got its start more than 25 years ago. It's a group that helps nurse injured birds back to life and returns them to the wild. But have you ever stopped to take a look at one of the people who makes it all happen?

REGI Executive Director Marge Gibson starts her day around 5:00a.m. every day to look after some of smallest and largest birds brought to REGI daily. The rehabilitation and education center opened, all from Gibson's love of birds. 

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NORTHEASTERN WI - Police in northeastern Wisconsin need help finding a missing 47-year-old woman.

Nancy Renkas was last seen on July 18th in Iron Mountain. She told a relative that she planned to drive to Menominee, Michigan to look at a camping trailer.

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MADISON - The head of Wisconsin's State Patrol is ready to retire.

Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald will step down Aug. 5 after five years leading the agency. Gov. Scott Walker's office announced his retirement Thursday.

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