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.
WAUSAU - Every year, firefighters around the country ask their communities to fill up boots with money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Wausau Fire Department kicked off its "Fill the Boot" campaign Tuesday morning.
The fire department will be at local events throughout the summer to collect donations.
The fundraiser helps with research and treatment for neuromuscular diseases for kids and adults.
"It's kind of a rewarding part of the job. Most of what we do is off camera, you don't really get to see all aspects of the fire department. It is a great chance for us to get out there and see all the programs we are involved in to help,"says firefighter Matt Tormohlen.
EAGLE RIVER - When your entire theater production fits in the back of your SUV, you need to know how to do -- and be -- just about everything.
"You kind of have to be the jack of all trades," actor Chris Cummings said.
Cummings is a stagehand, a set designer, and this summer a bug. He and fellow actor Jennifer Schreiner travel the Midwest out of their Chicago-area homes for the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company, which is based in Portland, Oregon.
THREE LAKES - Managing weeds can be a challenge for many cranberry growers across the state.
James Lake Farms in Three Lakes has been certified organic since 2007.
As organic growers, they are not allowed to use synthetic materials or herbicides to control their weeds.
This spring, they purchased weed eating geese from a nursery to help get rid of the weeds.
"We came across an article from 1954 in a trade magazine that showed that one of our marshes had used weeder geese back then in order to reduce the weed pressure, and we thought, well, this might be a novel approach," said owner John Stauner.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS - More than three months passed since family and friends have seen a Plover woman.
Krista Sypher, 44, has been missing since March 13.
Since then Plover police have been investigating.
Wednesday that investigation led them to a landfill in Wisconsin Rapids
Plover Police Chief Dan Ault said they've been searching the Cranberry Creek Landfill since Monday. He wouldn't say what they have or have not found. He also couldn't say how or why the investigation led them to this landfill.
Chief Ault said it's possible they might be back to continue the search on Thursday.
HAZELHURST - A week and a half ago, the Marathon County Dive Team pulled the body of 41-year-old Dominic Flaminio from the Wisconsin River. He drowned while trying to save his girlfriend's eight-year-old son, who was struggling in the current.
When Greg Bohn saw the story at his home in Hazelhurst, he felt like his heart was ripped out.
"This was so preventable," he remembers thinking.
It also motivated him to keep working on a water safety goal he's been chasing for years.
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