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Northwoods teens receive national recognition for documentarySubmitted: 03/21/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson

Northwoods teens receive national recognition for documentary
MINOCQUA - Two students at Lakeland Union High School completed an end of the semester assignment.

All they wanted was an A on the project.

But they ended up getting much more…national recognition.

"I just remember talking to Paige and we really didn't know how we were going to finish it," explained Lakeland Union High School Junior Sophia Weiss.

"It was a huge project that affected our grades a lot so I was just in it to get the A. Pass it," said Lakeland Union High School Junior Paige Courtney.

That huge project was an end of the semester assignment for their political science class.

Lakeland Union High School Juniors Sophia Weiss and Paige Courtney had to make a 7 minute mini documentary.

It had to focus on the most important issue the U.S. Congress should consider in 2014.

That documentary would be submitted to the CSPAN StudentCam Competition.

"The focus is to draw students into the civic arena to discuss issues that are pertinent in our society today," explained LUHS Library Media Specialist Ethan Jahnke.

Paige and Sophia weren't really thinking about the CSPAN competition.

They just wanted a good grade. But the students got much more.

"Sophia got the email first and then she texted me and she's like, 'We won! We were like third in the CSPAN project. And we won a prize,'" explained Courtney.

That prize was $750. More than 4,800 students from around the country submitted their documentaries to CSPAN.

LUHS has participated in the competition for 4 years. This was the first time students placed.

"It was all on them and they did a fantastic job," said Jahnke.

Perhaps one of the reasons they placed was because they focused on a topic that impacts their own community.

"In our small town, near the top of Wisconsin, businesses struggle to remain open. As businesses close, this forces people to move away from Minocqua which further hurts the surviving businesses in the area. A solution to this problem anywhere from small towns to big cities is corporate tax reform," their documentary opens.

They interviewed a business owner, a financial officer for a major Northwoods-based company, and State Senator Tom Tiffany.

"Seeing a lot of foreclosures on homes and things means people are leaving here and our school population is declining. So bringing more people to Minocqua would improve everything," said Courtney.

"It's important because we want to keep Minocqua thriving and corporate tax reform is extremely important to keep businesses open and keep people coming to Minocqua and finding jobs here," said Weiss.

Sophia and Paige believe the most important lesson they learned is to get involved.

"It's important for us to have a voice because we look at things differently than adults do," explained Courtney.

Related Weblinks:
Watch their documentary

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 02/22/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

People hoping to keep a violent child sex offender from moving into their Forest County community needed to go to Shawano County to make their case today. Newswatch 12's Dakota Sherek is there and will bring you updates on what happens at the hearing and the judge's ruling which we expect tonight.

We talk to two local resource officers about how their jobs have changed over the years. Some of that change has happened because of school violence across the country and right here in the Northwoods.

And we talk to the executive director of the Birkebeiner race in Hayward about the enthusiasm people in the area have with the big event coming up this weekend.

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

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DNR hosts meeting about CWDSubmitted: 02/22/2018

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THE NORTHWOODS - A positive CWD test led to baiting and feeding bans starting in Lincoln and Langlade Counties and extending in Oneida, this month.

Hunters don't have a say, but the DNR took the first step to help the community understand the current CWD landscape. It hosted a meeting at Tomahawk high school on Wednesday.

About 50 people attended the meeting.

DNR wildlife biologist Janet Brehm gave a presentation. She said people were upset about the ban. Brehm emphasized that the ban was not put in place by the DNR, it's a part of Wisconsin state law. 

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WISCONSIN - A central Wisconsin state representative believes smaller communities in Wisconsin should not be treated as a welcome center for sex offenders, particularly sexual violent ones.

Democrat State Representative Katrina Shankland voted for a motion in the state budget to keep sex offenders in their original counties where the crimes took place.

However, Governor Scott Walker vetoed that motion in September because it go rid of the rule that keeps offenders away from schools, churches and other places children might be.

Now, there are three new pending sexual violent offenders waiting to be placed in rural areas of Portage County even though the crimes were committed elsewhere.

Shankland is trying once again to keep these offenders in their original home counties with a budget amendment that has already passed the assembly.

However, Governor Scott Walker vetoed that motion in September to keep offenders away from schools, churches and other places children might be.

Now, there are three new pending sexual violent offenders waiting to be placed in rural areas of Portage County even though the crimes were committed elsewhere.

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MERRILL - Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill doesn't have room for any more kindergarten students next year.

Its class is already full, partly because some families can send their kids to Trinity for free.

For the third straight year, Trinity will participate in Wisconsin's private school choice program.

This year, the state pays tuition for about 30 of Trinity's 120 total students.

"Parents like the Christian base, obviously. That's the main reason people send [their kids] here," said School Administrator Kathy Yahr. "They're keeping them here more now because of the opportunities that we offer."

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NORTHWOODS - Lakes and nature bring people from all over the country to the Northwoods during the summer.
Those same attractions get some people to stay here.
Home sales and home prices in the Northwoods went up in 2017.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association reports about 1,300 more homes sold last year than in 2016 in Wisconsin.
A local broker saw the increase firsthand.
"The markets that are going crazy right now are premium homes. The Minocqua chain is red hot, the Eagle River chain is pretty hot the Three Lakes chain is pretty hot and there are some chains of lakes that are less hot," said Coldwell Banker broker Jim Mulleady. 

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MINOCQUA - You don't need to wait for the grass to turn green for golfing.

Minocqua's Ice Golf is an end of season charity tournament coming up on March 3rd.

The tournament raised more than $18,000  last year for charities including the food pantry and Dr. Kate Hospice.

It has become a Northwoods tradition for some people.

"First year we had it, we had only like 35 golfers, now last year we had over 300 golfers," says Albee's owner Randy Albrecht.

If you don't have a group, they'll put into one.

After everyone is done putting, there will be dinner and a raffle.

For tickets and info call: Albee's Yacht Club at 715-356-1366 OR The Thirsty Whale at 715-356-7108.


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HAYWARD - Trail conditions for this year's American Birkebeiner race will be just about perfect.

Executive Director Ben Popp said there's about a six inch base, three inches of snow on top, and more snow on the way in the Hayward area. 

"The energy right now is just unreal. You can feel it here in Hayward and Cable and certainly around the world. Now with a gold medal, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, brings more excitement to not only this event, but the sport. So it's a really great time to be a cross country skier," said Popp.

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