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Northwoods Spotlight - Packers Tailgate Tour in Merrill - Apr 23Submitted: 04/23/2014

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MERRILL - The official Packers bus rolled into Merrill last weekend. It was the final stop of their 9th annual Tailgate Tour.

More than 650 fans of the green and gold were delighted to see current and former players up close.

"Fans come to watch us at games," Packers kicker Mason Crosby explains. "They come to where we are all the time. So this is really a cool experience to go out, go in the community and just tell them thank you."

Former Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey adds, "Every stop that we've had, the fans are all so hungry and just starving to see us."


"It's very important to us and that's why we come out and do these type of events," Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush said. "Just to let them know that we have their backs."

Travis Ziegel - one of the hundreds of Packers fans in attendance was excited.

"Being able to meet superstars, you know we're in the small town of Merrill," Ziegel explains. "There's not a whole lot of stuff that goes on around here and to get another autograph and add another thing to my collection, it's an incredible feeling."

It also gave the players a chance to reconnect in a relaxed atmosphere.

"There's not a lot of serious moments and that's the way we approached our football season too," Dickey said. "You've got to joke around and have a sense of humor. I could spend a lot of time with those two. They're a blast to be around."

Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy enjoys the tour every year.

"What I really enjoy is seeing the interaction between the current and former players. By the end of the week they really have established a bond and they realize there's not that much difference even though there's about 30 years difference in age."

The party raised close to 50 thousand dollars. One hundred percent of it will go to improve the Riverbend hiking and biking Trail.

"Part of our whole purpose is to provide a venue for people to be able to enjoy the recreational opportunities first," Gene Bebel of the River District Foundation explains. "But also for the economic development of the entire community."

Now that the fun is over, it's time to get back on the field. Offseason workouts begin this week and the first OTA's are scheduled for May 28.


Story By: Marisa Silvas

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 LOCAL SPORTS
Lakeland girls soccer, Antigo baseball earn victoriesSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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ANTIGO - We all know about the rough winter we have braved through.

One of the side effects is many Northwoods sports teams have been unable to get any games in.

But thanks to last weekend's temps, that problem as well as the snow seems to be a distant memory.

Tuesday afternoon, Antigo's girls soccer team finally had their season opener. The Red Robins were hosting Lakeland with very windy conditions.

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Packers running back makes visit to RhinelanderSubmitted: 04/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - Over the weekend, the Packers Tailgate Tour ended with a stop in Merrill on Saturday.

Monday afternoon, the Northwoods featured a visit from another Green Bay Packer.

Running back DuJuan Harris was at Rhinelander G-M. DuJuan had a meet and greet with about 50 people. Folks asked him questions, had their picture taken and of course grabbed an autograph or two.

Harris missed all of last year with a knee injury.

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Eagle River hunter gets 27.5 lb turkeySubmitted: 04/21/2014

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- Many anglers are eagerly waiting for the the inland fishing season to get underway.

But several area hunters are enjoying the outdoors during turkey season.

Last week, Hunter Mathison of Eagle River shot this beautiful Tom in St. Germain. Using a 12-gauge he got it from 30 yards. It weighed 27.5 pounds with a 10 inch beard. It's his fourth turkey.

Hunter told me he is getting a fan and beard mount on a plaque. He's also going to make some great jerky our of the legs and have a couple of fine meals with the rest.

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Packers Tailgate Tour rolls into MerrillSubmitted: 04/19/2014

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MERRILL - The Packers rolled into Merrill Saturday for the final stop of their Tailgate Tour. And let me tell you, they were welcomed with open arms!

Three current players were on hand. Mason Crosby, Jarrett Bush and Brad Jones all made the trip. Plus a few former players including Lynn Dickey and James Lofton.

Merrill was the last of five locations the Packers traveled to- this year they even visited the UP.

Close to 600 fans were there to delight in giveaways, a question and answer session and get autographs. The players appreciated the great turnout.

All the money raised will go toward the Riverbend Trail.

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Voters approve trolling in the stateSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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- On Monday, a state-wide votes was held among by the Wisconsin DNR. The biggest question was if anglers and others who enjoy the outdoors would allow trolling of one line regardless of where they are in the state.

The answer was yes.

7,053 people in 72 counties voted ont he measure. State-wide more than 3600 people supported the idea. 2250 were against it.

Monday's Oneida County meeting was held in Rhinelander. It also passed by a 92-77 count.

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Local NFL star hopes to inspire othersSubmitted: 04/15/2014

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TOMAHAWK - Not many pro athletes come from Northern Wisconsin. Jim Leonhard was one of the few who made it all the way to the NFL. Today he was in Tomahawk to share his story.

Leonhard's from Tony, Wisconsin, a town of about 100 people. He was a walk on football player for the Badgers and went on to play for the last 9 seasons in the NFL.

His message to the Hatchet students was about dreaming big and working hard. Leonhard also talked a lot about being from a small town.

Leonhard is currently a free agent but wants to play one more season. He says he wants it to be with a Super Bowl contender. The Packers seem to be an ideal target.

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Vote on trolling taken at DNR meetingsSubmitted: 04/14/2014

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RHINELANDER - Another proposal on trolling in inland waters was up for vote at last night's DNR spring hearings and Conservation meetings.

It would allow anglers to troll with one line without having to look at the county rule book.

The Oneida County meeting was at James Williams Middle School in Rhinelander. Meetings were held in each county state-wide.

Last year's three line/per angler proposal had mixed vote results. Ultimately it did not pass.

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 REGIONAL SPORTS
Packers to open NFL schedule at Seattle Submitted: 04/23/2014

- The Packers schedule for the upcoming season was released Wednesday night.

The Pack opens the year and the entire NFL season against the defending Super Bowl champs - the Seattle Seahawks in their house.

It's a Thursday night game - on Sept 4th. The game is live on Newswatch 12.

Of course it's a rematch of the Packers controversial loss to the Seahawks 2 years ago. Many nickname the game "Fail Mary". The interception ruled a touchdown.

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Maldonado suspended five games for Easter punchSubmitted: 04/22/2014

- On Easter Sunday, the Brewers earned a hard-fought 14-inning victory over Pittsburgh.

The battle featured a benches-clearing brawl.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball announced the suspensions.

Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado received the stiffest penalty.

He was suspended five games for throwing a punch and connecting with Pirates outfielder Travis Snider's eye.

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One year later, Boston Marathon has historic featSubmitted: 04/21/2014

BOSTON - Just one year ago, the Boston Marathon was the stage for a terrorist attack. Three people died and more than 260 were injured as a result of the bombings.

On Monday with security increased - including helicopters circling overhead and bomb-sniffing dogs - the Marathon was just that - a marathon.

But somehow, the Boston has always been more than that.

More than 32,400 runners took part in the race.

History folks will want to remember was made in the 2014 race. Meb Keflezighi became the first American male to win the race since 1983.

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Brewers beat Pirates in 14th after third-inning brawlSubmitted: 04/20/2014

PITTSBURGH - Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.

Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers' 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, Pirates outfielder Travis Snider and Milwaukee bench coach Jerry Narron were ejected after a shouting match quickly escalated into a punch-filled brawl in the third.

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Braun homers twice, rallies Brewers over PiratesSubmitted: 04/19/2014

PITTSBURGH - Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.

Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the final 65 games last year in the Biogenesis drug scandal. The other three homers came in one game on April 8 at Philadelphia.

The go-ahead drive came off Pirates closer Jason Grilli (0-1), his second blown save in six opportunities. Jean Segura's two-out single kept the inning going for Braun, who had three hits and three RBIs.

Jonathan Lucroy hit three doubles and drove in two runs for the Brewers. Mark Reynolds hit his fourth homer.

Ike Davis doubled, singled and walked a day after the Pirates got him in a trade with the Mets.

Jim Henderson (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth and Francisco Rodriguez got his sixth save.



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Brewers' Lohse beats Pirates again, 5-3Submitted: 04/18/2014

PITTSBURGH - Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.

Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

He fell one out shy of a complete game Sunday at Miller Park. This time, he was charged with three runs two unearned and four hits with three walks with five strikeouts.

Gomez homered deep to center to lead off the fifth and added an RBI single an inning later as the Brewers rallied from two runs down.

Charlie Morton (0-2) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings while losing to Lohse for the second time this week. Russell Martin had two hits and two RBIs for the Pirates, who have lost six of eight.

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McCutchen, Alvarez lead Pirates over BrewersSubmitted: 04/17/2014

PITTSBURGH - Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.

Harrison's two-run drive down the left field line was the second of his career as a pinch hitter. It stared Pittsburgh's nine-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings that was capped by Alvarez's sixth of the year.

McCutchen, last year's NL MVP, hit a two-run homer in the first inning in his 57th at-bat.

Gaby Sanchez also connected while Alvarez, Starling Marte, Russell Martin and Jordy Mercer each had two of the Pirates' 12 hits.

Edinson Volquez (1-0) gave up two runs in seven innings for his first win with the Pirates, scattering eight hits.




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  WJFW TV-12 Sports Team


Joe Dufek
Sports Director
jdufek@wjfw.com

Joe joined the Newswatch 12 sports team in July 2011 as the Sports Director.

Before coming to the Northwoods, Joe was the Weekend Sports Anchor at KBJR in Duluth, MN. Joe's resume includes working at WFRV in Green Bay, WDIO in Duluth, and WTCH radio in Shawano.

Joe has always had a passion for sports, especially football, hockey, and golf. Joe is a 2005 graduate from UW-Oshkosh with a B.S. degree in Radio/TV/Film. During his college days, he was the Sports Director for the university's radio station twice.

A native of Frog Station, WI (near Green Bay), Joe grew up watching the Packers, Brewers, and Bucks. In fact he also lists listening to old Packer radio braodcasts among his hobbies. Recently, Joe married his fiancee Amy.

When he is not watching or playing sports, he's likely reading or watching something on the American Civil War, or World War II.

Joe says,"In just a short time, I have really been made to feel right at home, thanks to the great folks in the Northwoods."

If you see Joe out on a shoot, please feel free to say hi and email any story ideas you may have.




Marisa Silvas
Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter
msilvas@wjfw.com

Marisa Silvas joined the Newswatch 12 sports team in October 2011 as the Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter.

Prior to coming to WJFW, she was an editor/associate producer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area in San Francisco, CA. She also was a freelance field producer for NBC's Football Night in America and spent 6 years as a sports producer and editor for KNTV, the Bay Area’s NBC affiliate where she co-hosted a weekly Sports Sunday web show with Jerry Rice.

She graduated with a degree in Communications from Santa Clara University.

Marisa is new to the Northwoods and the cold weather but has lived in several different locations on her journey to Rhinelander. Coming from a family with military ties, she was born in Austin, TX, but also grew up in Mississippi, Lancaster, CA, San Antonio, TX before settling down in Campbell, CA for the past several years.

Marisa has always had a passion for sports and people and has followed her dreams to WJFW after pursuing a full time on-air job for several years.

Marisa likes all sports but is most passionate about the NFL, NBA and major league baseball. Since she has lived in many different locations her favorite teams are all over the country as well. You will see her following her favorites: the San Antonio Spurs, Oakland Athletics and yes, Packers fans, sorry, the Chicago Bears.

She is also an avid fantasy sports fan and has participated in fantasy football and hockey leagues the past 5 seasons. Feel free to ask her for the hot waiver wire pickup!

She and her husband of 4 years, Lyndon, have taken several vacations over the past few summers to visit all the MLB parks...she has now been to 14 and is excited to add Target Field to the list this summer! Her favorites so far are Wrigley, PNC and Miller Park. She and her husband also make an annual trek to Soldier Field to watch their beloved Bears and hang out in their favorite city, where they got engaged at the top of the Hancock Tower in 2007.

In her free time, she loves hanging out with her husband Lyndon and adorable puggle Walter. She also never misses her favorite TV show, Dancing With The Stars and with an extensive dancing background, someday dreams of being a future celebrity contestant and winner!

Marisa is very excited to be making the big move from sunny California to the winter wonderland of Rhinelander! If you see Marisa out in the field or around the town, feel free to say hi and buy her a hot chocolate, she's probably cold!