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NEWS STORIES

Special Olympians Hit the Slopes on Granite PeakSubmitted: 01/20/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 09/19/2014

- A cool summer and lots of rain hurt grape growing conditions this year. Some winemakers in the Northwoods don't have enough grapes to make wine, and they worry the harsh weather may have ruined their vineyards. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek went to the Brigadoon Winery to find out what winemakers are doing to make enough wine this year.

- We meet the new executive director of the Human Service Center in Rhinelander. The group helps people in Oneida, Forest and Vilas counties.

- And a recent report by the National Audubon Society says climatic changes could threaten birds in the Northwoods by the year 2080. We look at the study and hear from an expert on what we can do to stop it.

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

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Human Service Center welcomes new executive directorSubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - A familiar face will lead a Northwoods organization dedicated to helping individuals and families.

Tamara Feest became Executive Director of the Human Service Center earlier this month.

The center is located in Rhinelander and serves Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties.

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Bad weather takes a toll on local vineyardsSubmitted: 09/19/2014

TRIPOLI - A cool summer and a lot of rain hurt grape growing conditions this year. Some winemakers in the Northwoods don't have enough grapes to make wine and they worry the harsh weather may have hurt their vineyards.

"Here's a couple of vines that we lost," explained David Welbes, owner of Brigadoon Winery. "They died."

Many vineyards in the Northwoods don't look good this year. The bad weather has made it nearly impossible for grapes to grow into a healthy crop.

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Audubon Report says climatic changes could hurt Northwoods birds by 2080Submitted: 09/19/2014

NORTHWOODS - Birds living in the Northwoods could be in serious danger.

A recent National Audubon Society report says climatic changes could threaten birds by the year 2080.

Scientists studied 588 bird species and more than half of those are facing trouble.

The study looks at the important climate needs each species requires to survive.

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Northwoods program offers college courses for students with intellectual disabilitiesSubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - Some Northwoods groups work hard to make sure everyone can experience college.

The Jump Start program in Rhinelander teaches job skills to people with intellectual disabilities. The program is held at Nicolet College.

Nicolet College, Northland Pines and Rhinelander School Districts and Headwaters work together on the program.

Students learn skills for jobs during the fall semester.

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UWSP student, instructor teaming up on safety appSubmitted: 09/19/2014

STEVENS POINT - Two members of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point community are developing a safety app that allows students to track the location of friends when they go out on the town.

Stevens Point Journal Media (http://spjour.nl/1DmZSyb ) reports UWSP senior Jenna Furger and instructor Drew Frisk are working together to conduct the smartphone program's first beta test. They hope to roll out the app within the next couple of months.

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Sentencing planned for attack on corrections officerSubmitted: 09/19/2014

WAUSAU - A man convicted of attacking a jail officer in Marathon County will learn his sentence today.

22 year old Fredrick Morris pled no contest to agrivated battery and battery by a prisoner.

Prosecutors say Morris was the inmate who threw a punch which knocked a Marathon County jail officer unconscious.

The attack happened last year in March.

Julie Christensen was critically injured and admitted to the hospital.

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