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NEWS STORIES

Special Olympians Hit the Slopes on Granite PeakSubmitted: 01/20/2013

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WAUSAU - The weather didn't cooperate this weekend for the Special Olympics Wisconsin Winter Games in Wausau.

Three hundred athletes were expected for the event Saturday. The snowshoe and cross country ski events had to be canceled due to lack of snow.

But 35 competitors still got to hit the slopes at Granite Peak for snowboarding and alpine skiing.

One of the snowboarders competing Saturday may have been even more excited for another event coming up.

Dana Shilts from Neillsville, Wisconsin will travel to South Korea to compete for Team USA in the Special Olympics.

"This is my first time competing in a world games. I'm very excited. My number one supporter is coming with me, so I'm very excited," says Shilts, who is taking her mother with her to South Korea.

Three Wisconsin athletes made Team USA. Jason Suino from Hayward will compete in cross country, and Alexander Guild from De Pere will snowshoe.

Organizers say these athletes are what make volunteering worth it.

"The athletes is Special Olympics represent probably the truest example of sports; people who are in this just for the pure enjoyment of being in sports. We don't have the types of sportsmanship issues that a lot of other organizations have. It's just when you see the difference it makes in an athlete's life; not just the joy of competing and getting an award, but what they're able to accomplish, and what they're able to do," says Bob Whitehead.

Team USA leaves for South Korea this Wednesday.

Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Vietnam Veterans receive recognition in Price County Submitted: 07/24/2014

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PRICE COUNTY - Vietnam War veterans didn't get the "welcome home" they deserved when coming home from the war. But now, more than 50 years after the conflict, in Price County they are receiving appreciation for their sacrifices.

The Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Trail was officially dedicated on July 17th at the VFW Post 8491 in Prentice. The idea came up at a Price County Commanders call, a meeting made up of all the post commanders and commissioners for Price County, and this monument is anything but 'little'.

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Possible threat to potatoesSubmitted: 07/24/2014

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LANGLADE COUNTY - Farmers in Central Wisconsin need to keep a close eye on their potatoes.

Agricultural leaders from UW-Extension received a report of late blight from a farm in Portage County. Late blight is a disease that can kill potato and tomato crops.

The blight was found last week near Stevens Point, and leaders are worried about it spreading into Langlade County. Late blight can spread out several miles though the wind and the water. Agriculture experts in Langlade say there are certain things that you can do to protect your crops.

"Go out and scout them, look at them, we would like you to also spray protectants," says UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Stephanie Plaster. "Home gardeners should be spraying a copper or chlorothalonil-based spray. There are also organic copper sprays available for folks that would like to remain organic."

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Oneida County wants your opinion on boathouses and piersSubmitted: 07/24/2014

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Leaders in Oneida County want to know what you think of boathouses and piers on lakes in the county. The online survey they've put together could give them better information on the issues.

Planning and zoning workers say the two topics have been debated for years. Oneida County Planning & Zoning's Karl Jennrich says the county started allowing boathouses and regulating piers in 2000 when it rewrote its comprehensive plan.

The board looked at both topics a year ago, but didn't take any action to change current rules.

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Program focuses on possible climate change in the Northwoods Submitted: 07/24/2014

NORTHWOODS - A warming climate could challenge many of the plants and animals that live in the Northwoods.

People in Boulder Junction learned about some of those risks at the Community Center Thursday night.

The speaker says even though we've had harsh winters these past two years, the lack of ice in the long term could impact fish, evaporation rate and skiing.

"Winter's kind of the limiting factor of the Northwoods. So when you reduce winter, those species that are adapted to being here in this kind of winter, they're going to move further north and actually follow where the winter is because, it's hard to believe, but a lot of species can't live in warmer temperatures," said Naturalist John Bates.

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Local children explore emergency fields at NTCSubmitted: 07/24/2014

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MERRILL - Instead of just dreaming of being a firefighter, some children in Merrill actually got to try it out.

The Boys and Girls Club of Wausau went to Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill on Wednesday to explore careers in emergency fields.

"They're going to do one scenario where they're actually going to get put up into fire gear. And they're going to hook up a hose line on a fire truck and they're going to put out a dumpster fire," says Bert Nitzke, the Executive Director of Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence.

Student's putting out the fire's say it was more difficult than it looked.

"It's kinda hard cause like the hose is pushing back really hard," says Jordyn Schalow, one of the students that took part in the training.

Students also got to experience EMS and police scenarios.

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Baldwin introduces bill to create more VA doctorsSubmitted: 07/24/2014

MILWAUKEE - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has introduced legislation aimed at increasing the number of doctors at Veterans Affairs medical centers and reducing wait times.

The Wisconsin Democrat said in a statement Thursday that the bill would create 2,000 residency positions over five years at Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide. Residency is the next step in doctors' training following medical school.

The bill also would require the VA to allocate the residency positions based on doctor shortages at its facilities and to prioritize training for specialists who are needed.

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Briefs piling up in gay marriage rulings appealsSubmitted: 07/24/2014

INDIANAPOLIS - At least 20 friend of the court briefs have been filed in appeals of rulings overturning gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, including one by a group of churches and another by 10 states' attorneys general.

The brief filed by the attorneys general argues that society should decide whether same-sex marriage is acceptable, not the courts.

Another brief filed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and groups representing four other churches argues that marriage between a man and a woman is God's will.

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