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NEWS STORIES

Testimony at final Common Core public hearing stretches into seventh hourSubmitted: 10/30/2013
Story By Lex Gray

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WAUSAU - Teachers started putting Common Core standards to work in Wisconsin classrooms three years ago.

No one really seemed to pay attention Wisconsin had adopted the standards along with 44 other states, in part to qualify for billions of dollars in federal Race to the Top grants.

But in the last few months, legislators from Wisconsin and other states started looking more closely at Common Core.

Governor Scott Walker told reporters in late September he believed Wisconsin could do better than federal Common Core standards.

Over the last few weeks, special Senate and Assembly committees have held four public hearings to decide if that's true.

The last of those four hearings happened in Wausau Wednesday, with testimony lasting more than seven hours.

The debate about Common Core, across the nation and in Wausau, has been marked by a different kind of bipartisanship it's not liberals on one side, conservatives on the other. Both sides are both for and against the standards.

Michael Petrilli is the executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

He spoke in favor of Common Core standards.

"There [are] plenty of Republicans who like the idea of higher standards and tougher accountability," Petrilli said. "From our perspective, the Common Core standards are exactly that."

Pete Biolo, a retired teacher and the vice chairman of the Oneida County Republican Party, doesn't necessarily disagree with that. He takes issue with Common Core because of federal involvement.

"It's a process or a program that has its roots at the federal level, and the federal government, in passing it, made federal monies available," Biolo said. "Any time you have federal monies available to something, you have strings attached."

Petrilli rejects that idea.

"I think the benefits of having better standards, better tests, outweigh those concerns," Petrilli said.

Biolo disagrees, and wants Wisconsin to create its own set of standards, to get the federal government out. Governor Walker has also recently said the state could do better on its own.

"If the governor can do better than these standards, I think that's great," Petrilli said. "I think what he would find is if he went through the process of recreating standards, they'd come out quite the same as the Common Core."

The Senate and Assembly's special committees are expected to make a recommendation in November about what Wisconsin should do about Common Core.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
A local girl earns her Girl Scout Silver AwardSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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RHINELANDER - Shandi Peitsch will receive her Girl Scout Silver Award.

The fourteen-year-old will get the award because she finished a service project at the Rhinelander Ice Arena.

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Merrill businesses find counterfeit billsSubmitted: 09/01/2014

MERRILL - Someone might be making counterfeit bills in the Merrill area.

Several businesses told Merrill Police they were paid with counterfeit money in the last few weeks.

There are many simple ways to tell if a bill is real or fake.

We have a guide, and you can access it by clicking below.

Within the past year, businesses in Antigo and bars in Rhinelander have had problems with counterfeit money.

Contact the Merrill Police Department if you have any information.

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Fewer people at Merrill's Labor Day Car Show because of weather Submitted: 09/01/2014

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MERRILL - You wouldn't find as many people at this year's car show in Merrill compared to years past.

The car show usually gets about 2,000 people each year.

Organizers say they got about half of that this year because of the weather.

The Merrill Lions Club organizes the event.

This is one of the group's biggest fundraisers of the year.

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Kids enjoy candy at Merrill's Labor Day ParadeSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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MERRILL - The rainy weather didn't stop some dedicated people from coming out to Merrill's Labor Day Parade.

People showed up with rain coats and umbrellas to enjoy their favorite floats.

The kids at the parade were looking forward to the candy.

"If there's no candy I'm not coming," says Nicholas Kriegel.

Leila Linnell got a lot of candy at the parade.

"There's a lot of people who just like throw out all this candy. I got three of these gigantic suckers. And it's like awesome," says Linnell.

Click on watch video to see the rest of the story.

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State seeks feedback on unemployment insurance systemSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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RHINELANDER - More than 50,000 people in Wisconsin apply for unemployment benefits every week.

Now, the state Department of Workforce Development wants to know how it can improve the unemployment insurance system.

"Our Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council really likes to get out there and hear firsthand from those who deal with that system directly. We're looking for their suggestions and their ideas on what we might do to make the system even better," said Dave Anderson, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the state Department of Workforce Development.

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Two photographic exhibits to open next week at ArtStartSubmitted: 09/01/2014

RHINELANDER - The artists paired together in ArtStart's next exhibition couldn't have much different backgrounds.

Next Friday, the Rhinelander gallery will open with two very diverse displays.

"We have two photographic exhibitions opening. One is a solo artist, so the whole gallery will be their work, and the other is an artist who worked with teens as a kind of therapy program, photography and art as therapy," said ArtStart Development Director Melinda Childs.

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Manufacturer to move from Prentice to PhillipsSubmitted: 09/01/2014

PRICE COUNTY - The expansion of Northcentral Technical College's Phillips campus helped persuade one manufacturing company to move closer to the campus.

OEM Fabricators will move its Price County facility from Prentice to Phillips.

All 28 employees will also move to the larger shop, which will focus on welding.

The company's president said the tech college's manufacturing expansion factored into the decision.

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