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Wisconsin unemployment rate lowest since April 2000Submitted: 04/20/2017
Wisconsin unemployment rate lowest since April 2000
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - Wisconsin's unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in 17 years.

The state Department of Workforce Development reported Thursday that the unemployment rate in March was 3.4 percent. That is down from 3.7 percent in February and the lowest since April 2000.

The national unemployment rate for March was 4.5 percent.

The report shows the state added 500 private-sector jobs between February and March.

Gov. Scott Walker praised the latest figures, saying they are further evidence that his agenda is working for the state. Walker is widely expected to seek a third term next year.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
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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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.

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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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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.

The trail is more than 45 miles of paved path that connects Boulder Junction, Sayner, St. Germain and Manitowish Waters.

The goal of "Bike the Heart" is to stop at each Chamber of Commerce with a "pass card" to get a stamp.

You have until September to collect four stamps and send it in to one of the chambers to be entered for a prize worth more than $100.

"Bringing the bicyclists to this area is astronomical. We have inquiries from the entire Midwest and even the outlying states of California and New York," says executive director Penny Wiesmann of St. Germain Chamber of Commerce.

Mile markers and "fix-it" stations are the newest additions to the Heart of Vilas County Trail.

The stations have tools attached to the sides to help you make a quick fix on your bike.

"We're just really excited that people can come up and ride up the entire length of the trail, or if they want to take up some smaller portions they can do that to," says executive director Theresa Smith of Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce.



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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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RHINELANDER - Stepping onto a boat and casting a line doesn't come easy for some people.

The Northwoods "Let's Go Fishing" pontoon helps veterans, seniors, the disabled get on the lake for a day of fun.

The Northwoods chapter needs volunteer captains and mates to keep the rides running.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Paul Fiene could barely believe his eyes last Wednesday.

"This is by far the most devastating wind storm I've ever seen," said Fiene.

Fiene has been a forester in Oneida County for 22 years.

"We usually get a little patch here, an acre here, and a few trees there," said Fiene. "But never to this extent where 99 percent of the trees are knocked down."

Fiene estimates Tuesday's storm took out anywhere from 30 to 40 acres of pine, hardwood, hemlock, and aspen.

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