RHINELANDER - The world spent the last few days looking to the roof of the Sistine Chapel for white smoke. Yesterday we met the new Pope for the first time.
But he takes control of the Catholic Church at a challenging time. Still, Northwoods Catholics are confident.
As tens of thousands of faithful watched for white smoke in St. Peter's square, more than a billion Catholics around the world waited to find out who their new leader would be. That included students right here at Nativity of our Lord Catholic School in Rhinelander.
"The kids were really excited. And then we prayed for him that he would lead us, lead the church in so many wonderful ways into the future," says Mary Mangerson, a Nativity Kindergarten Teacher.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina made history Wednesday in more than one way. He's the first non-European Pope in nearly 2,000 years.
"It's a very positive and very historical change. Because the developing world is being represented now, where many of the poor and marginalized are being left behind," says Father Tom Thakadipuram.
He's also the first Pope to choose the name Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi. One of the things he represents is rebuilding the Church.
"He heard that call to rebuild the church. I think that is the main message now. Because the Church has been wrought with different issues," says Father Tom.
The Papacy and future of the Catholic Church has been the focal point of international news for weeks. Every network has been on Pope-watch for days. Non Catholics KNOW the Pope's kind of a big deal, but why? What does the Pope mean to Catholics?
"We know that leaders are important to us in our everyday lives and as a Catholic we look to our leaders to guide us in our faith," says Stacie Simkins, a Nativity 2nd Grade Teacher.
"He becomes the face of Christ. He becomes the face of stability and at the same time inspiration to the new world," says Father Tom.
"I think it's a feeling of belonging; everyone belongs to this family, and he is the leader of our family," says Mangerson.
As the world learns more about this reportedly humble man from Buenos Aires, Catholics are hoping for someone up to the task of leading them through the challenges the Church faces.
"I think we need a leader who's pastoral. And he appears to me to be someone who loves people and has a gentle spirit," says Mangerson.
PHILLIPS - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants all city police officers to wear body cameras by the end of next year. He made that proposal this week after tension between police and the public in places like Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Ferguson, Missouri.
One Northwoods police department has been using the cameras for years. Phillips police officers have worn body cameras since 2008. They turn them on while responding to many situations in the city.
WISCONSIN - Gogebic Taconite will no longer pursue mining in northern Wisconsin. The company scrapped its plans for a huge iron ore mine in Iron and Ashland Counties this spring.
But state Democrats aren't forgetting about the mining issue. They're proposing a bill which they say would close a loophole in the state's 2013 mining law. That law relaxed the permitting process for iron mines.
The Democrats' bill would make it illegal to fill or destroy the bed of a lake, stream, reservoir, or flowage to mine the materials underneath. Bill author Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) said right now, mining could be done legally under flowages and reservoirs.
MINOCQUA - Heading back to school makes many students stress about what they are going to wear, especially when it comes to that first day look. And educators at one Northwoods school want their students to know that dressing for success, is more important than dressing to fit in.
At Lakeland Union High School, the dress code is designed to promote making wise fashion choices. Administrators say they want students to get in the routine of dressing, as if they're going to work.
"We're teaching them how to get ready for college and how to get ready for a career that they're going to be going into, 'career and college readiness', we want to make sure that they understand 'dressing for success', and a lot of times we spend a lot of time talking from that point of view," said Lakeland Union High School principal Jim Bouche.
Lakeland Union High School doesn't require uniforms, but they do have specific guidelines in place. They don't spell out what students can wear, but instead tell them what they can't. The overall goal is to keep kids focused in class.
WAUSAU - The First Thursday means more than just a day in Wausau. It's a chance for stores to stay open later, and bring people downtown. The theme for the fourth, 2015 installment focused on live art in the Wausau River District and 400 Block.
For Wausau's Valerie Berkely, it gave her the chance to get others in touch with art.
Berkely greeted people passing by with a "Hi, I teach painting here" during the occasion outside the Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau.
RHINELANDER - This year the PotatoFest in Rhinelander will still have the favorites, like the French Fry Frenzy and Polka Sunday.
But there will also be a few new additions like a beanbag toss tournament, and potato pantyhose bowling.
"The pantyhose bowling that's where you wear a pantyhose on your head and it's filled with a potato, and then you have to swing your head to knock pins, or knock the ball down to knock the pins over," said DRI Executive Director Maggie Steffen.
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