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

Northwoods teens receive national recognition for documentary
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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FOREST COUNTY - Bringing your pet along to watch fireworks might seem like a fun way to spend the Fourth of July, but you could be doing more harm than good.

July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for most animal shelters.

That's because fearful pets try to escape the bangs and flashes from fireworks and end up lost.

Forest County Humane Society president Jay Schaefer says don't let yourself add to your pet's stress.

Play it down, and make the fireworks a good thing with positive talk and treats.

"They're reading cues from us constantly. So be careful of your body language and the cues you're giving them. If you act like fireworks are a big scary thing they're gonna be like, 'oh my god fireworks are scary,'" says Schaefer.

Exercise can be another way to calm your pet before the big light show.

Burning off the energy earlier in the day may help your pet go to sleep early.

"Take them for a jog on the Fourth of July. I know it's hectic, but do something so they're not all amped up at night when the fireworks go off," says Schaefer.

Like many humans, pets like the smell of lavender.

You can try diffusing the scent around the house to put your pet at ease.

Make sure you have a well-fitting collar and identification tag on your pet.

If flashes are too bright, you might want to close the curtains.

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WAUSAU - Every year, firefighters around the country ask their communities to fill up boots with money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Wausau Fire Department kicked off its "Fill the Boot" campaign Tuesday morning.

The fire department will be at local events throughout the summer to collect donations.

The fundraiser helps with research and treatment for neuromuscular diseases for kids and adults.

"It's kind of a rewarding part of the job. Most of what we do is off camera, you don't really get to see all aspects of the fire department. It is a great chance for us to get out there and see all the programs we are involved in to help,"says firefighter Matt Tormohlen.

The fundraiser also gives Wausau-area kids the chance to go to a MDA camp.

15-year-old Roy Thorson lives with spinal muscular atrophy and has gone to the camp for the last ten years.

You can find him collecting "Fill the Bucket" donations right alongside the firefighters this summer.

"It's nice to see the generosity of the public. It's nice to the firefighters willing to put their times towards this. It's just cool to see a group come together for a good cause," says Thorson.

You can also send in "Fill the Boot" donations online.

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Walker was to meet privately Wednesday with Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

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WAUSAU - We won't see a vote on the new GOP healthcare bill until after July 4.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) postponed the senate vote Tuesday afternoon.

Several Republican senators, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), have said they're not ready to
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Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) says he supports Johnson on this.

"We've given Senator Johnson some suggestions," Walker said. "I think he wants to vote for it, he made the promise when he ran in '10 and then last year in 2016 that he would vote to repeal it, he wants to do that, he just wants to make sure that the repeal ultimately ends up serving the people of Wisconsin well."

Both Democratic and Republican senators say they have issues with the bill.

Some Republicans say the bill doesn't get rid of enough of the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats worry about Medicaid cuts.

Walker says he wants Wisconsin to continue to do what it does well in healthcare.

"What I've asked Senator Johnson is help us do the things we've been successful at," Walker said. "We're a top ten state when it comes to access for healthcare for citizens, we're a top ten state with the quality of our healthcare systems. We want to maintain that going forward."

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the new bill would cause 22 million Americans to be uninsured.

Johnson put out a statement Tuesday saying he was glad there won't be a vote this week.

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