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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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RHINELANDER - A group of Rhinelander kids kept some local officers busy as they sped through the aisles at a nearby department store, shopping for the holidays. 

"I'm just happy they get to see law enforcement and [the] fire department in a positive light," said Rhinelander Police Officer Chad Brown.

 "That's all I care about."

Officer Brown started "Shop With a Cop" in Rhinelander eight years ago. 

He wanted to show kids that they always had support, not just when something was going wrong.

"It's amazing to us to interact with people when it's not a time of crisis," said Brown.

Bright and early Saturday morning, 17 kids boarded a bus. 

The kids got a tour of the police department and had breakfast with officers to get energy for a day of holiday shopping. 

"It's fun to be able to joke around and laugh because we don't get that every day," said Brown. 

8- year- old Dariyon Catchings waited for this day, ever since his brother got chosen for "Shop With a Cop" last year.

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NORTHWOODS - Most years, ice already covers the lakes here in the Northwoods by now.

But, most of the lakes in the Northwoods currently have at least some open water.

Ice conditions can change from day to day.

That's why the DNR encourages people to use caution whenever they go out on the ice.

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RHINELANDER - New technology can cost a lot for schools. One elementary school just got some help from a nearby grocery store.

Gayle Daniel has been principal of Crescent Elementary School for just over a week, but she already has a lot to celebrate.

 After entering a contest for school spirit, Crescent Elementary School won $2,000 from Trigs in Rhinelander.

"Our students have a lot of spirit they also follow what we call our "Four B's," for our positive behavior intervention," said Daniel.  

"They're being safe, they're being respectful they're being responsible and they're being here."

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RHINELANDER - Every Christmas, thousands of children write letters to Santa. Sometimes, some of those kids need a little bit of help writing letters.

The Rhinelander High School FBLA/DECA organization went to local elementary schools Friday to help hundreds of kids write their letters.

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MADISON - The recount of Wisconsin's presidential election vote is nearly finished.

State election officials announced Friday that 89 percent of total ballots cast for president have been counted and 60 of the state's 72 counties had finished their work. So far, Democrat Hillary Clinton has gained 49 votes on Republican Donald Trump, who defeated Clinton by more than 22,000 votes in

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WOODRUFF - Gov. Scott Walker won't spend much time away from pieces of the Northwoods while in Madison this Christmas season.

The State Capitol Christmas tree came from Eagle River. Meanwhile, JJ's Acres of Woodruff decorated the outside of the Governor's Mansion with pine roping and wreaths.

The garden center also helped with holiday decorations at the mansion in 2013.

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RHIENLANDER - Nearly 200 individual clay tiles will soon cover a wall in Rhinelander's James Williams Middle School. 

When Josh Calhoun decided to have his art students start a new project, he saw a bigger picture. 

"We're one big team with a goal in mind," said Calhoun. 

"You've got [to] do this piece of the puzzle and you're a part of it."

Calhoun decided to create a mural that will hang in James Williams Middle school.

"It's something that everyone has a piece of," said Calhoun.

 "They all have to work together to make this mural."

The mural's theme is surrounded around the four seasons featuring Wisconsin animals to represent the student's home town. 

The students will work on 182 induvial tiles that will come together as one. 

'"They're all unique they're made from our classmates," said 12- year- old Haylee Connor.

To get the students ready Calhoun even had them train in the gym with team building activities.

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