WAUSAU - A team of elementary students from Our Savior's Lutheran School in Wausau will compete in a worldwide robotics competition later this spring.
5th grade students Kaylee Rohland, Braydn Screnock, William Hahn and Alli Ruether call their team "The Rusty Robots."
The Rusty Robots competed, for the first time, in the VEX IQ Championship in Appleton on Feb. 23. The competition consists of three phases including the Teamwork Challenge, Robot Skills Challenge and Engineering Interviews.
The Rusty Robots placed second in the Teamwork Challenge and were also presented with the Excellence Award for Wisconsin. According to VEX Robotics, the Excellence Award is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics competition. The award is presented to a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a high-quality robotics program.
The Our Savior's Lutheran students will now advance to the VEX Robotics World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky on Apr. 26 - 28.
Principal Ethan Hutchinson started the Our Savior's Lutheran robotics program three years ago. He said The Rusty Robots are the first team he's coached to advance to the world championships.
"It's a pretty cool feeling to see the kids work as hard as they do at this," said Hutchinson. "Seeing the fact that they will be persistent and put in time for something fun that is extremely educational."
Hutchinson said the robotics competition doesn't just teach students engineering skills.
"You think of kids, maybe, that are into technology are more anti-social and in fact this really pushes them to be more social," said Hutchinson. "Even if kids don't get into coding in the future, the opportunity to think logically through a problem … it's just really cool to see the wheels turning."
CRANDON - The Forest County Humane Society works around the clock to help animals find forever homes. But taking care of those animals during their stay doesn't just take a lot of time; it takes a lot of money, too.
The shelter got a helping hand, thanks to a $35,000 grant from the ASPCA. It's part of an initiative to help brick-and-mortar shelters improve their animals' quality of life.
Shelter director Angie Schaefer says that money paid for 20 new cat-condos, fencing for two new dog yards, and several other much-needed supplies.
"We're small, we're in a small community, so to raise that kind of money to get these items would have been quite a task. For them to step in and do that for us is amazing," said Schaefer.
Schaefer said the extra yards will allow dogs to spend more time outside and socialize with each other.
If you're interested in volunteering or donating to the humane society, visit its website for more information.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - President Donald Trump will begin his Independence Day weekend on Friday with a patriotic display of fireworks at Mount Rushmore, an event expected to draw thousands where masks and social distancing aren't required as coronavirus cases spike across the country.
Trump is expected to speak at the event, which has issued 7,500 tickets to watch fireworks that he says will be a "display like few people have seen."
NORTHWOODS - Wisconsin's lakes have a lot to offer their visitors. But some, like aquatic invasive species, are unwelcome due to the damage they can cause to native ecosystems.
There's a growing effort to prevent, contain, and control the spread of these aquatic invasive species, especially this holiday weekend. As part of the Clean Boats, Clean Waters program, volunteers will be stationed across popular boat landings, doing inspections and educating boaters on how to properly clean their boats.
"Any type of holiday weekend, especially the fourth of July when there's a lot more boat traffic, there's an emphasis on getting more awareness out there," said DNR recreation warden Justin Bender.
Aside from volunteers, most boat landings also have information posted on aquatic invasive species and the laws regarding boat cleaning. Citations for not properly cleaning your boats typically run $200-300.
- The U.S. headed into the Fourth of July weekend with many parades and fireworks displays canceled, beaches and bars closed, and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans' self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak.
With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors and local officials have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.
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