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Winter Weather Awareness Week for WisconsinSubmitted: 11/07/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer

Winter Weather Awareness Week for Wisconsin
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - We all know a Northwoods winter means lots of snow, but since we're so used to winter, we don't always prepare for it like we should. Preparing your car and home are essential.

"Make sure your furnace is in good working order, your fire place is in good working order. It's a good idea to have extra food, non-perishable food, whether you're traveling or even at home," say Jeff Last, Green Bay National Weather Service Meteorologist.

Even if a storm is predicted to just miss you, you should still be prepared. The weather changes constantly and so does the forecast.

"Forecasting winter storms is always a challenge here in the Midwest. A change in the low pressure track of just twenty-five or fifty miles can shift the heavy snow axis twenty-five or fifty miles to the north or south of where we thought it would go initially. So it's important, really important, that people stay up to date with the latest forecast," said Last.

And while big storms can cause meteorologists headaches, day-to-day winter weather can be just as challenging. One of the toughest aspects to a Northwoods forecast…

"…the effect of Lake Superior. That's a big moisture source and as those cold north winds move over the warmer waters of Lake Superior it picks up that extra moisture and can dump copious amounts of snowfall," says Jeff Last.

But it's important to know what the forecast means. The National Weather Service issues alerts to help out.

"A Winter Weather Advisory is issued when we expect anywhere from about three to five or so inches of snow and relatively light winds," stated Last.

We had a Winter Weather Advisory for parts of the Northwoods last Tuesday night. The storm gave three to five inches of snow to parts of Vilas and Iron Counties. More intense storms call for different alerts.

"We issue a winter storm warning for snowfall six inches or more in twelve hours, or eight inches in twenty-four, or a combination of any amount of snow with extremely high winds," said Last.

These storms can create blizzard like conditions, dropping visibilities less than a quarter mile.

"If we expect blizzard conditions to last 3 hours or more, we will actually issue a blizzard warning, which is the most severe type of winter storm," says Jeff Last

Most importantly, be prepared for conditions to change quickly.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

- A Nicolet College club provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students and allies to socialize and discuss personal issues related to gender and sexual orientation.

However, outside of the campus, there is no supportive group in the Northwoods. Now, the Rainbow Hodags Club is helping to get a community LGBT group started. Club member Don Schindhelm says he wishes a club like this existed years ago.

"I really felt like I didn't know anyone else who was gay or lesbian. It was frowned upon, so I suppressed it for most of my life. That's why I struggled with it for so many years," said Schindhelm.

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MINOCQUA - In 2006, more than 40,000 pets died in fires due to smoke inhalation. 

That number has gone down, in large part thanks to oxygen masks designed for animals. 

The Minocqua Fire Department got its own set of pet oxygen masks Tuesday, courtesy of Invisible Fence of Northern Wisconsin.

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RHINELANDER - One Rhinelander woman may see a 10-year-old bucket list wish come true.

 On Monday the Rhinelander Parks Committee supported having a dog park at Shepard Park in Rhinelander. 

For 10 years Tina Werres has been advocating to get support for a dog park in Rhinelander.

The decision is now left to the Rhinelander City Council when they vote on June 12th.

The same council denied the park in the past.

"I was very happy, I will be even happier when I hear the 'yes' at the council because we've come this far before with Pioneer park," said Werres. 

This is the second time Shepard Park has been proposed.

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VILAS COUNTY - Many people love sightseeing on two wheels throughout the Northwoods. Now, you can get a prize for doing it.

"Bike the Heart" encourages riders to explore the different communities along the Heart of Vilas County Trail.

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RHINELANDER - Most people stop by Rhinelander's chamber of commerce to get their picture taken with the giant hodag out front. Visitors to the chamber can also stock up on Rhinelander trinkets and gear.

Now, the chamber has decided to downsize its store in order to let someone else set up shop. 

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/23/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll show you a training course for Taylor County deputies and courthouse staff on how to respond with and active shooter in the courthouse.

We'll take you live to Shepard Park in Rhinelander, the site some residents hope will have sections set aside for a dog park. Monday the Parks committed approved the proposal.

And a Nicolet College club provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students and allies to discuss personal issues. Now they want to get a group started outside the campus. We talk to a member of the Rainbow Hodags Club about his experiences with the group.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MADISON - The Legislature's budget committee has decided to put off votes on the University of Wisconsin System budget because Senate Republicans can't agree on what to do about tuition rates.

Gov. Scott Walker's budget calls for cutting tuition by 5 percent and giving the system $35 million to offset the lost revenue. It also would give the system $42.5 million in additional state aid. Campuses that do better on new performance standards would get bigger chunks of the funding.

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