High School Students get a Financial Reality Check
Story By Kailey Burton
Photos By Kailey Burton
MERRILL - If you lose the board game of Life, that's ok.... Financial failure in real life is not. Today Merrill high school students took a page from the reality "checkbook" .
Students chose a job, and were assigned "obligations". Those could be a mix of children, spouses, loans, and credit card debt.
"The students go through each station and they have to make decisions and it's determined by how much money they have in their budget for that month," said Deb Brunett, Business Teacher at Merrill High School, "I've heard quite a few of them say, 'Oh my gosh, I'm stressed out and I don't even have to do this yet!"
Learning to balance a checkbook is one thing… Learning about life is another. Brunett hopes her students will learn to prepare for the unexpected.
"If the furnace goes out, you don't always have three thousand dollars you can just take out. So hopefully getting them prepared for some of those unexpected things will help them out in the future," said Brunett.
In the real world of rising debt, and a sluggish economy, more students could probably use this kind of lesson. Their teachers hope this generation won't make the same mistakes.
"If you look at the last five years the foreclosures, they don't have emergency funds. People don't anymore. Some do but there's a lot that don't and times became hard, and they didn't have anything to back themselves up"
A number of area businesses added some realism to the event. The volunteers manned booths to represent different necessities.
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.
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.
VILAS COUNTY - Whether you're in the Northwoods for Labor Day Weekend or you call it home, you will have to be more careful around mosquitoes.
A dead crow in Vilas County tested positive for West Nile Virus, which is carried by mosquitoes.
According to a Vilas County Public Health Department press release, this is the first bird this summer to test positive for it.
Gina Egan of the Vilas County Health Department said over the years the county has found infected birds.
Egan suggests avoiding mosquitoes and wearing bug spray. She also suggests getting rid of standing water outside your home, such as bird baths or gutters.
Public health nurses stress that most people who do get West Nile do not get sick.
"Twenty percent of the people have it really mild," said Oneida County public health nurse Dawn Klink. "Eighty percent of the people have no symptoms. And less than one percent get really really deathly ill. And those are usually the ones that get tested for it and go in. Other people just think they've got a bug and don't go in."
Nurses want you to call the local health department if you do see a dead bird.
If you do feel you have severe symptoms of West Nile, nurses say to go to your doctor to get tested.
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.
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