Area students get hands-on experience with jet engine; learn about Air Force careersSubmitted: 12/13/2019
Story By Stephen Goin

Area students get hands-on experience with jet engine; learn about Air Force careers
MINOCQUA - Most people think a career in the Air Force means flying planes.

A local recruiter wants young adults to know there are other jobs that can take them to new heights. 

At Minocqua's Lakeland Union High School Friday, students in Adam Raddatz's engineering class got to inspect a General Electric J85 single-shaft turbojet engine.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Gerdts says the engine is normally used in T-38 Talon test planes.

"And they actually use it to train NASA astronauts as well," said Gerdts.

Friday, students learned how they could obtain a career working with military flight equipment.

"Regular engines, are really ... like they're complex but I don't think I've ever seen anything so complex," said 10th grade student Ryan Busche.

Raddatz said the kids in his classroom are used to looking at the inner workings of cars.

"An engine like this the students would never get the opportunity to see," said Raddatz.

In addition to the hands-on learning experience, students spoke with Gerdts and Airman Kyler Jahner about air force vocations other than pilot.

"I think a lot of people are misled to think that the air force is all about pilots, "we're all pilots in the air force," but no we have to have support," said Gerdts.

According to Gerdts, the Air Force has more than 150 different occupations. Gerdts himself worked in aircraft maintenance after he enlisted in 2013.

In 2019, the Air Force surpassed its goals recruiting nearly 35-thousand airmen. Gerdts hopes a few students around North and Central Wisconsin could join the ranks of his fellow airmen soon. 

"I didn't expect to get such a positive reaction out of the students," said Gerdts.

Students like Busche are already considering jobs in the engineering field. He says his focus could shift from automobiles to airplanes. 

"I've always had that thought, maybe working on planes," said Busche.

Raddatz said he loved having the opportunity to spark new careers interests within his students.

"Whatever the students want to do after high school we want to let them have the opportunity to be exposed to that," said Raddatz.

Gerdts reminded students Friday that the Air Force can cover the cost of a college education.

Gerdts visited other north and central Wisconsin schools this week including campuses in Rhinelander and Antigo. 

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MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin man has pleaded guilty to vandalizing a synagogue last year as part of a neo-Nazi plot, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Yousef Barasneh, 22, of Oak Creek, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal civil rights charge, U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin said.

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MILWAUKEE -  Milwaukee's former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd's death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department. 

The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

 Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. 

Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he's retiring because if he returned as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would negatively impact his pension payments. 

Morales also defended his record as chief. 

His attorney says he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.

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Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.

"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.

And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.

"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.

A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.

"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."

For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.

"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."

But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.

"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline. 

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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison has received less than 1% of the money that Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group pledged to it two years ago amid the electronics giant's expansion plans in Wisconsin.

In August 2018, Foxconn committed $100 million to the university to help fund an engineering building and for company-related research. It gave the school $700,000 in the first year of a 5-year agreement and records show the school has received no additional money over the past year.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on many businesses. Even something as simple as networking with other business owners can be complicated. But, the Wausau Chamber of Commerce is trying to help. They've hosted their networking events for years, but since going virtual they've had to adjust to help local businesses stay on track.

"This desire was out there," said Chamber Marking Manager, Brian Otten.

There was a common desire among businesses to get back to normal and doing so meant making changes.

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RHINELANDER - A lot of businesses have suffered because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rarely do we hear about a business that benefited from more people staying home.

But Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander actually saw an outstanding season.

Sandy Lang of Hanson's Garden Village said the rush for vegetable seeds started soon after the rush for T.P.

"It was like the floodgates opened. And it's just now slowing down and this is almost the middle of august. That's unprecedented," said Lang.

And it's more than just vegetables. Perennials, annuals, and biennials have all sold well, even after a strange start.

"We didn't think we were going to be able to have the public on property this year," Lang said.

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OAKLAND, CALIF. - Beginning Thursday, U.S. Facebook users who post about voting may start seeing an addendum to their messages -- labels directing readers to authoritative information about the upcoming presidential election.

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