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NEWS STORIES

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


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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Deer donation an option as gun hunting season beginsSubmitted: 11/22/2014

WISCONSIN - Gun hunting season started across Wisconsin Saturday.

Most hunters shoot for sport.

But some donate their catches to help families in need.

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Wives and girlfriends enjoy Holiday Open HouseSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - The start of the deer hunting season normally leaves wives and girlfriends at home by themselves, but an organization in Rhinelander wants to get them out of the house.

This was the first time Downtown Rhinelander Inc. hosted Holiday Open House Saturday. Businesses along Brown street welcomed wives, girlfriends and families into the their stores.

The owner of Hext Theater in Rhinelander believes this is kind of like a kick-off for the holiday season.

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2 injured, 1 dead in Taylor County crashSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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TAYLOR COUNTY - Slippery road conditions could have caused the death to one person and injured two others in a car crash in Taylor County Friday.

The Taylor County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened around 4 p.m. on County Line Road and 11th Avenue in the Town of Roosevelt. Deputies say the driver of a 1997 Ford Explorer lost control while trying to turn North onto 11th Ave. The truck sled into the ditch on the Northeast corner of the intersection. It then struck a utility pole as it was overturning.

The 58-year-old driver, Laverne Palms, was airlifted from the scene with serious injuries.

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Tiffany, Wisconsin GOP skeptical of billions of dollars of budget requests from state agenciesSubmitted: 11/22/2014

MINOCQUA - A quick glance at Wisconsin's governmental finances could convince you the state has a hole to fill.

Projections show the state will take in $2.2 billion fewer than its agencies want to spend from mid-2015 to mid-2017.

The state legislature and Gov. Scott Walker will need to figure out how to make the numbers work.

Northwoods Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) points out the money the agencies want is more than the agencies will get.

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Steps to prepare for freezing rain Submitted: 11/22/2014

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NORTHWOODS - We could see freezing rain in the Northwoods Sunday. If we do, leaders in Oneida County want people to be prepared.

The Oneida County Emergency Management director says it's hard to tell when the roads are slippery. So they want you to take your time on the roads and on the sidewalks.

"Freezing rain, a lot of times you can't tell that it's actually frozen. The ground is frozen," said Oneida County Emergency Management director Ken Kortenhof. "So even when you're walking on your sidewalks, stuff like that, be careful not to slip. Make sure if you have salt you can salt your sidewalks so you don't have problems there as well."

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Door County fish business subject of federal probe Submitted: 11/22/2014

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MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin company that processes Great Lakes fish for sale worldwide has been caught up in a federal investigation into the illegal trafficking of lake trout, lake sturgeon, whitefish and walleye.

Court records show U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents set up a fake fish store in L'Anse, Michigan, recorded conversations, and raided Dan's Fish in the northeastern Wisconsin city of Sturgeon Bay in Door County.

No criminal charges have been filed, but search warrants served as part of the investigation were recently unsealed.

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Wisconsin gun hunt beginsSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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The season opens as the sun rises Saturday and will run through Nov. 30. Forecasts for opening weekend called for freezing rain and fog with highs ranging from the upper 30s to the low 40s both days.

As of Wednesday the state Department of Natural Resources had sold 615,644 licenses, about 15,400 fewer than at the same point last year. The agency sold 635,165 licenses in all last year.

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