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.
RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
RHINELANDER - This holiday season, you might want to tell your child to hug family members at holiday gatherings.
The Girls Scouts of the USA hopes you won't. The organization is saying daughters don't owe anyone physical affection, and that the expectation of hugs and kisses could have bad aftereffects later in life.
"I think for some people, it is a new concept," said Melissa K., the domestic violence coordinator at Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual assault, which is based in Rhinelander.
In a post, the Girl Scouts of the USA told parents their daughters don't "owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays."
RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
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