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DWD likes applications for Wisconsin Fast Forward programSubmitted: 12/23/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


PEMBINE - Democrats and Republicans in Wisconsin overwhelmingly agreed on a worker training proposal earlier this year.

The Wisconsin Fast Forward will pledge $15 million in worker training grants.

That money will help companies across the state improve the skills of their workers.

We told you about Gov. Scott Walker's visit to Wausau to call for grant applications in early November.

Since then, the due dates for the four types of grant applications have passed.

We wanted to see how the state Department of Workforce Development likes the applications it has gotten.

"We think we're going to have some really good grants. I know that we have some really good grants that have come in. We're going to go through the process right now of evaluating them and making determinations and making awards sometime next year," Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson told us.

Awards are available for manufacturers and companies in construction and customer service.

Walker highlighted worker training again at his Northern Wisconsin Economic Summit.

"The state that's most aggressively out front on worker training will be the state that leads the country, if not the world, in economic recovery. That's the one thing I hear so often. I see it in polls, but more importantly, I hear it every week," he said.

Walker believes the Fast Forward grants can be particularly effective in small towns like in the Northwoods.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - It didn't take long for police to find the body of a missing hunter in Lincoln County Wednesday night.

Police say it might have taken hours to find the man man, but thanks to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office's new drone, it only took about 45 minutes.

According to the Lincoln County Coroner, 76-year-old William Storm drowned to death.

Police got the call around 4 p.m. Wednesday from the family saying Storm had been missing since about 12:30 p.m. that day. He had gone out hunting and returned back to his home to get his waders before going back out to find the deer he had shot.

Ground searchers first found the deer Storm had shot. That's when deputies sent the drone up into the air, and using thermal imaging, were able to find his body in less than an hour. He was found next to Pine River in the woods.

Police could have had to ground search about 120 acres, but the drone helped them whittle that area down to just about a few football fields.

"When they find the deer, if we don't have the UAV it's going to turn into a ground search where they're just going to have to grid the whole area and that could be the whole 120 acres or it could be 2 acres, it could be right away," said Lt. Andy VanderWyst. "You're relying a lot on luck then too."

Police flew the drone about 160 feet in the air, which is high, because they didn't know if tall trees or power lines would get in the way.

Police said they did request a helicopter from Wausau, but it couldn't fly out because of the misty, cloudy weather.

"There are environmental factors that come into play with this but not nearly as much as a helicopter because now you're talking about a piece of equipment instead of a bigger piece of equipment with human lives on board too," VanderWyst said.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department got the drone earlier this fall and this was the first time the department used it.

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