Democrats explore ways to make tuition, college debt more manageable in northcentral WisconsinSubmitted: 09/16/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Democrats explore ways to make tuition, college debt more manageable in northcentral Wisconsin
WAUSAU - Student loans saddle Americans with more than $1 trillion of debt.

Meanwhile, college costs continue to rise steadily.

University of Wisconsin System tuitions increased about 20% in the last five years alone.

The tuition and debt problem hits students and graduates hard.

"If you have a four-year degree in the state of Wisconsin, you're paying for 18.7 years on your student loan. If you have a two-year degree, it's 16.7," says One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

"It's ridiculous. I'm just trying to get a degree, I'm just trying to get a job. I'm going to be paying for this job essentially for the rest of my life. It's like indentured servitude to the state," says UW-Marathon County Student Government President Cole Harder.

Wisconsin Legislative Democrats have made fighting high college costs and student debt levels a priority.

They took their message to UW-Marathon County today.

They believe those financial challenges hurt Wisconsin's larger economy.

"It's critical for us, both now and in the future. We don't want to see students coming out with huge amounts of debt burden that they're prohibited from buying a home, or from living the American dream like their parents have," says Stevens Point Democratic Sen. Julie Lassa.

Wisconsin Democrats hope to draw attention to the tuition and debt issue.

Their actual effectiveness in writing bills might be limited.

They remain in the minority in both the Senate and Assembly.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 03/22/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

People gathered in the Wausau area today to remember four people who died in a shooting at three different places one year ago today. Tonight we look back at the shooting, and we take you live to the Wausau area and discuss the mental health of the officers following the shooting.

A new bill in Wisconsin would require dispatchers to know how to explain CPR over the phone. We talk to an operator and a paramedic in Oneida County where the dispatch center has already been following that procedure for decades.

And we'll bring you a preview of this weekend's ice golf tournament fundraiser for a local snowmobile club.

We'll bring you all this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MADISON - The Wisconsin State Patrol says it saw more drugged drivers on the roads and had a significant increase in drug arrests from 2016 to 2017.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the State Patrol saw a 20 percent increase in drug arrests during that time period, with fewer than 2,900 arrests in 2016 to more than 3,400 last year. A drug arrest involves the possession of illegal narcotics or paraphernalia.

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WOODRUFF - A fire burned a house to the ground in Woodruff early Thursday morning.

Firefighters arrived around 1:30 a.m to the home on Mid Lake Road.  The house was already mostly gone by that time.

No one was in the home, and no one was hurt.  Crews stayed on scene and kept the road closed until about 4:30 a.m.

The Woodruff Fire Department ruled the cause of the fire undetermined.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Every second counts when it comes to saving a life. But in rural parts of Wisconsin, it can take paramedics up to 30 minutes to respond to an emergency.

A new bill in Wisconsin would require dispatchers to know how to explain verbally CPR over the phone.

When Sherri Congleton answers a 911, call she is often thrown into a life or death situation.

"You kind of form a bond with the person on the other side of the phone when you answer a call like that," said Congleton.

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ARBOR VITAE - An Arbor Vitae restaurant may be relatively new to the area, but regulars quickly started packing the place every Friday for fish fry.

Ron and Marlena Schisel opened Outback 51 about a year ago.

They say it was tough being the "newbies" at first, but their fish fry got people in the door from the start.

Bluegill is the favorite plate at this fish fry.

" Surprisingly we sell more bluegill more than any other fish. It is a Northwood's native fish, people want to see if it takes the fish that they have when they clean fish," says Ron.

Outback 51 serves fish fry Fridays starting at 11 a.m.

Click link below for more info.

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HARSHAW - Rhinelander charter school students mixed in math with science, social studies, and reading projects on Thursday.

Northwoods Community Elementary School hosted parents to show off their work. Some classes did the math to plot out a vegetable garden. Others did research on Wisconsin counties and planned a weeklong trip there.

"I added decimals to count up all my rates for my bills, all the admissions to state parks, and renting," explained Oceana Patulski, who did a project on Door County.

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EAGLE RIVER - You typically find cotton or denim running through her sewing machine, but Chris Gaffron has been sewing a lot of plastic lately.

"It's just straight stitching, so anyone can do it," Gaffron said.

The "StitchIt" custom embroidery store owner worked on sewing old plastic feed bags from a friend's horse barn, which don't biodegrade.  Gaffron and her friend talked about ways to make better use of the trash and came up with an idea to help the homeless.

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