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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods teens receive national recognition for documentarySubmitted: 03/21/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson


MINOCQUA - Two students at Lakeland Union High School completed an end of the semester assignment.

All they wanted was an A on the project.

But they ended up getting much more…national recognition.

"I just remember talking to Paige and we really didn't know how we were going to finish it," explained Lakeland Union High School Junior Sophia Weiss.

"It was a huge project that affected our grades a lot so I was just in it to get the A. Pass it," said Lakeland Union High School Junior Paige Courtney.

That huge project was an end of the semester assignment for their political science class.

Lakeland Union High School Juniors Sophia Weiss and Paige Courtney had to make a 7 minute mini documentary.

It had to focus on the most important issue the U.S. Congress should consider in 2014.

That documentary would be submitted to the CSPAN StudentCam Competition.

"The focus is to draw students into the civic arena to discuss issues that are pertinent in our society today," explained LUHS Library Media Specialist Ethan Jahnke.

Paige and Sophia weren't really thinking about the CSPAN competition.

They just wanted a good grade. But the students got much more.

"Sophia got the email first and then she texted me and she's like, 'We won! We were like third in the CSPAN project. And we won a prize,'" explained Courtney.

That prize was $750. More than 4,800 students from around the country submitted their documentaries to CSPAN.

LUHS has participated in the competition for 4 years. This was the first time students placed.

"It was all on them and they did a fantastic job," said Jahnke.

Perhaps one of the reasons they placed was because they focused on a topic that impacts their own community.

"In our small town, near the top of Wisconsin, businesses struggle to remain open. As businesses close, this forces people to move away from Minocqua which further hurts the surviving businesses in the area. A solution to this problem anywhere from small towns to big cities is corporate tax reform," their documentary opens.

They interviewed a business owner, a financial officer for a major Northwoods-based company, and State Senator Tom Tiffany.

"Seeing a lot of foreclosures on homes and things means people are leaving here and our school population is declining. So bringing more people to Minocqua would improve everything," said Courtney.

"It's important because we want to keep Minocqua thriving and corporate tax reform is extremely important to keep businesses open and keep people coming to Minocqua and finding jobs here," said Weiss.

Sophia and Paige believe the most important lesson they learned is to get involved.

"It's important for us to have a voice because we look at things differently than adults do," explained Courtney.

Related Weblinks:
Watch their documentary

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Police prepare for 4th of JulySubmitted: 07/03/2015

MINOCQUA - You can find tourists all over the Northwoods already for the holiday weekend.

That means area police departments are busy making sure everyone stays safe.

The Minocqua Police Department has all of their officers working extended hours on July 4th, but the police chief says they worry more about safety than law enforcement.

"[The] 4th of July is more family-oriented," says Minocqua Chief of Police Dave Jaeger. "You have a lot of families down there with their children, so we're down there to make sure that it's a safe environment."

Places like Minocqua will be packed with people this weekend, so police just want to make sure holiday events go on safely.

"We mainly focus on, during the parade, we do the re-route, and we have officers on the parade route in case there's any type of issues or accidents that may occur, that we have to respond to," says Jaeger.

The Minocqua Police Department also works with the chamber of commerce and public works to make sure everything goes smoothly.

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RHINELANDER - A plea deal may be close for one of the suspects in an Oneida County murder.

33 year old Latoya Wolf faces a charge of being a party to a murder in Rhinelander. The murder happened in 2003.

The Tomahawk woman is the niece of Kenneth Wells, the man who was killed. Police found Wells dead in the Wisconsin River in 2003.

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NORTHWOODS - As people start getting ready for the 4th of July, many will camp here in the Northwoods.

The DNR expects almost 3,000 people to camp in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest this weekend.

The DNR thinks this will be their best 4th of July yet, with almost all of the campgrounds full.
People say there's nothing better than camping in the Northwoods.

"We like to come up to the Northwoods because it's beautiful and the water's crystal clear," said Prairie Farm resident Peter Fetting. "The other campers are always really friendly, and I've been coming up here for 30 years. This is my 30th year coming up here to camp."

People already got a head start heading out to beaches and on the water Friday. Campers say more people should come enjoy the woods this summer.

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ANTIGO - Low temperatures this time of year can cause problems for some farmers. One Northwoods strawberry farm had to close down for a few hours earlier this week because the berries aren't ripening as fast as normal.

"The cold days this week made the berries ripen much slower than normal," says Andy Merry, owner of Merry's Berries.

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NORTHWOODS - Many people travel to the Northwoods for the fourth of July. 

That means there can be a lot of extra traffic.

Wisconsin State Patrol makes sure it's ready for the holiday.

It has more people staffed on busy holiday weekends.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - A cracked lime kiln has caused a fire that damaged the Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids.

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PARK FALLS - Kelly Meredith's paint-splattered uniform and face tell us what she does.  But the Butternut muralist prefers to think of her job as a historian.

"Those stories need to go out to the rest of us," Meredith said.

Brush stroke by brush stroke, Meredith went to work this spring, painting the uniforms and faces of Northwoods World War II veterans and bringing their stories back to life.

"They weren't gods and heroes," Meredith said. "They're ordinary people who overcame their fear and the courage and dignity to basically save the world."

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