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Walker signs technical college billsSubmitted: 12/10/2013
Story By Associated Press

Walker signs technical college bills
EAU CLAIRE - Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a pair of bills designed to help students who are pursuing a technical college education.

One bill Walker signed provides incentive grants to school districts that promote career and technical education programs. The grants of up to $1,000 per school district will be available starting next school year.

The other bill Walker signed provides scholarships to full time students at technical colleges. Between one and six scholarships worth $2,250 will be available at each school.

Both measures passed the Legislature unanimously earlier this year. Walker signed the bills in Eau Claire.

State Superintendent Tony Evers had proposed the incentives last year and thanked Walker for signing the bills into law.





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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander District Library recently added a program to make the library more inclusive. 

"[It's] designed specifically for kids on the autism spectrum and those with sensory processing needs, but any kids and families who feel like they just want a little more laid back, hands-on story time it would be appropriate," said children's librarian Katie Kubisiak.

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EAGLE RIVER - The World Championship Snowmobile Derby kicked off in Eagle River Friday morning. 

You might think of snowmobile racing as a sport for adults, but people of all ages are competing. Kids as young as four years old came out Friday to ride their tiny sleds through the finish line. 

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the riders lining up for the world snowmobile championship race. But before those riders came into the spotlight they started as kids. 

"My first race was when I was five," said Maverick Woyke. 

At just 12 years old, Woyke has been racing for seven years. 

"We went and watched a race and he had so much fun watching he decided he wanted to start racing," said Maverick's dad Jesse Woyke. 

Maverick traveled to with his dad from Buffalo, Minnesota to race this weekend in Eagle River. He's no stranger to traveling for the sport. 

"We've been Jackson, Wyoming, Winter Park, Colorado, Deadwood, Duluth, Shakopee in Minnesota, we kind of go all over," said Jesse. 

Maverick isn't the only veteran in the field, many of the young riders have been riding almost as soon as they could walk. 

"I've done this race as long as I can remember. Probably since I was four or five," said 11-year-old Tyler Poker. 

It's a tradition to come to Eagle River at this time of year, and for a lot of these kids, it's a family tradition.

"We were eating dinner and Dad asked me if I wanted to come race, and I said yeah, and then this happened," said 11-year-old Reece Bollmann. 

They travel from all over Wisconsin and the Midwest to have fun, but also to compete. 

"I've been to this race four times now and I've won it the last three times so I'm hoping for a fourth," said 14-year-old Kyle Thome. 

It's a unique sport, and it brings something different than football or baseball. 

"[My favorite part about racing is] the jumps because it's so much air and it's just a blast," said Bollmann.
 
But of course the best part?

"Well, getting off of school," said Poker. 

Many of the kids will spend the weekend watching other riders after they finish their races. And the ultimate goal is to be right there on that Sunday championship starting lineā€¦one day. 
 
"If we could get there that'd be awesome," said Thome. 

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ASHLAND - The death of a teen carrying a butcher knife who was shot by an Ashland County Sheriff's Deputy led to a march, rallies, and community discussions about police relations.

Friday, a special prosecutor cleared the deputy in that shooting.

Ashland County Sheriff's Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich shot and killed Jason Pero, 14, in November.

Police believe Pero wanted to die.

In a 911 call, the teen was the one who told police someone was walking around with a knife that day. Pero described a a guy walking around outside his house with a knife. The man was wearing a purple sweatshirt. 

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WOODRUFF - Six people died in snowmobile accidents since January 5 in Wisconsin. 

Last year, 16 people died while snowmobiling during the whole season. 

DNR Conservation Warden Supervisor Dave Walz says at this rate, Wisconsin is on track to match that. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Some kindergarteners got a glimpse of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby Friday.

Snowmobile racer Jordan Grabowski stopped by the Eagle River Elementary School to talk to some kindergarteners about snowmobile safety.

"It's kind of a dying out sport and I want to keep it going. [I] try to get them to realize that it's not okay to ride without a helmet on and our safety gear on and that it is dangerous if you do ride it without because you could get hurt," said Grabowski.

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RHINELANDER - These days, it can feel like physical stores get overshadowed by online shopping. But that's not completely true in Rhinelander.

A new women's clothing boutique opened today in downtown Rhinelander.

Oak Tree Boutique owner and Rhinelander native Amber Bellile remembers a time from her childhood when downtown flourished.

"Over the years once I moved away and would come back I noticed businesses were shutting down," said Bellile. 

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- On Friday, a Northwoods bank went above and beyond to celebrate National Popcorn Day. Minocqua's River Valley Bank had a kettle machine up and running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The bank partnered with Minocqua popcorn for the fundraising event.

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