RHINELANDER - We make sure our kids wear seat belts in the car. So why don't they wear them on the school bus?
Democratic State Senator Tim Cullen, Janesville, wants to change that.
His bill would put three point seat belts on all new school buses. According to Wisconsin Radio Network, Senator Cullen(D) said, "I am amazed that we let those kids roll down the road at 55 miles an hour with no seat belt."
Rhinelander School District Superintendent Kelli Jacobi thinks school bus safety is a priority.
But she says in certain situations, seat belts make the bus less safe. "I'm not opposed to them. I see some very positive things, but what about those scary accidents, the roll overs, the fires. There's no way you could get kids off a bus quickly enough if you have to remove seat belts."
Jacobi says there are other safety measures already in place for some types of accidents. Buses are now installing high seat backs. Those help minimize injuries in front and back collisions.
If the bill passes, many school districts would have to pay for the seat belts. In the Rhinelander School District, Bowen's Bus Service provides the student transportation and did not offer an opinion on the seat belt bill.
But Jacobi says the bus service would have to pay for the seat belts. Which in turn would likely lead to higher service charges, and therefore more tax payer money in the end.
School districts would be able to apply for grants to help with about fifty percent of the cost of the school bus seat belts. But that still averages out to roughly four thousand dollars per bus.
She says there are about ten student deaths from school bus accidents every year. Most injuries involving school buses happen as students are loading and unloading the bus.
NORTHWOODS - Chippewa tribes in Wisconsin may be one step closer to being able to hunt deer at night again.
Last year, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Federal Judge Barbara Crabb to reconsider a ban on night deer hunting. In 1991, she ruled against night hunting in ceded territory for safety reasons.
The state of Wisconsin asked the U.S. Supreme Court to look at that decision, but on Monday the court decided not to take up the case.
GOODMAN - Many Northwoods communities keep pushing for better broadband internet. Last year, a $90,000 grant from the state Public Service Commission helped the Lakeland area improve broadband. Now, the state pot of money for similar grants could grow.
The legislature's budget committee voted to approve a plan last week. It would make an extra $1.5 million available for grants over the next four years.
"(Broadband) has a huge importance," said Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), who sits on the Joint Finance Committee. "We need to roll more out. If we could, I would have liked to have put more money toward broadband grants."
GOODMAN - Without its veneer mill, the community of Goodman would likely decline and lose its school. The mill employs a large proportion of people in town. That reliance on the forest products industry makes education about sustainable forestry a must for students in Goodman.
"Well, I would describe it as loud, of course," said Goodman-Armstrong Creek sixth grader Mia Schaller after seeing a harvester fell tall trees, then take off their branches and cut them into even-length logs.
MADISON - The Wisconsin Budget Project argues state lawmakers can avoid budget cuts without raising taxes. Wisconsin Budget Project Director Jon Peacock says some cuts, like the ones to the UW System, can easily be avoided.
PIEHL - The home of Ashlee Martinson and Thomas and Jennifer Ayers remains an active crime scene. But sheriff's deputies think an 18-year-old broke into it last week.
Martinson is charged with killing the Ayers couple at the home last month.
Last Thursday, Oneida County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Dan Mohr for burglary and theft at the home. He said he was a friend of Martinson.
According to the criminal complaint, Oneida County dispatch received a complaint that a car was between the storage shed and garage at the victim's house in Piehl.
Mohr was in the driveway when police arrived. Mohr said he got in through an unlocked front door. He said he didn't take anything, but after police searched him, they found three pocket knives, seven small pieces of paper with sketches, a pair of latex gloves, and black cloth gloves. He said he found the sketches in Martinson's room.
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