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NEWS STORIES

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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"If we were seeing a reaction, for example a tingling of the mouth, swelling of the throat, a visual that a student might give us if they are unable to breath at that time, we would immediately administer an EpiPen," Director of Pupil Services Unified School District of Antigo Karen Baker.

Teachers watch carefully for possible allergic reactions, especially at recess and on field trips.

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RHINELANDER - Fields of an invasive plant called phragmites stand all along Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shore. Invasive species workers hope most of the plants stay away from the Northwoods.

Workers chopped down a stand of phragmites on Monday. It stood on Highway 8 just west of Rhinelander. It had been chemically treated in the fall. Hopefully, that will help control the spread of the species.

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MERRILL - The Community Warming Center in Merrill finished up its first winter season a few weeks ago. The center provides a place to stay for people in need from November through April.

The guest's ages ranged from 22 to 45 years old. The center is run through the Merrill United Way. The Warming Center's director said its first year went much better than expected.

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The center is already preparing for the next season. They have new blankets and pillows ready for their next year.

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RHINELANDER - Last year, a valve malfunction in eastern Wisconsin sent natural gas leaking into the air. A similar situation in the Northwoods could cut off gas supply to a whole city and be dangerous to people in the nearby area.

Wisconsin Public Service wants to be ready in case something like that happens. A natural gas station near the intersection of Highways 8 and 47 provides natural gas to most of Rhinelander. Workers rushed there on Monday, simulating their response to a leak.

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Local kids help protect batsSubmitted: 04/27/2015

RHINELANDER - Seventh graders in Rhinelander will help protect bats this summer. That's thanks to help from the U.S. Forest Service.

Kids in Rhinelander Monday learned about endangered bats across Wisconsin on Monday. A bat expert with Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest showed the importance of keeping bats healthy. The students helped local scientists by building new homes for the bats.

"Ms. Swaney showed us a presentation about the bats with a speaker and now we're building them," said 7th grader Jackie Wells.

"They have predators and it will kind of keep them safe in their little bat homes," said 7th Grader Connor Lund.

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WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court is struggling over when jail officials should be held accountable for using excessive force against inmates who are accused _ but not yet convicted _ of crimes.

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