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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight: Record Vintage crowd; 20K expected for DerbySubmitted: 01/16/2013
Story By Joe Dufek


EAGLE RIVER - Last weekend was the first of two world championship snowmobile races in Eagle River.
Racers took us back in time, hopping on sleds at least a quarter-century old.

The Vintage Snowmobile Championships showed drivers racing on sleds which were made before 1985. Several Northwoods racers took the checkered flag on the final day of action. Including Jeff Stoxen of Rhinelander - winning in the 440 Sport Mod. Racing these old machines is a thrill.

"It's been getting bigger, and bigger," says Jeff Stoxen of Rhinelander - one of the vintage racers. "Everybody is one big family for vintage. Everyone helps everybody out."


A record 7,000 fans watched the Vintage races here at Eagle River Derby Track. Over 20,000 are expected for this weekend's World Championship Derby.

Derby track owner Chuck Decker adds, "the big news is the $60,000 prize to the World Champion this year. Just the one class alone is going to pay out $90,000."

Last year's defending champion Nick Van Strydonk will return to defend his crown. The Tomahawk racer is excited to be racing with the event celebrating it's 50th year.

Several past champions will be honored on Friday night. Time trials get underway Thursday. The World Championship is set for 3pm Sunday afternoon.

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WAUSAU - A crash in Wausau left one man injured after a van collided with his motorcycle Friday night.

The Wausau Police Department got a call about a southbound crash around 9:00 p.m. on Grand Avenue near Ruder Street.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Approximately 15,000 people came out to support the Boulder Junction Volunteer Fire Department Saturday as it held its 25th annual chicken barbecue fundraiser.

All the money raised during the barbecue will help the department pay for equipment upgrades and training.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he and GOP legislative leaders have agreed to completely remove a part of the proposed state budget that would severely roll back the state's open records laws.

Walker announced the decision in a joint statement Saturday with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and the co-chairs of the joint budget committee.

The statement says the records proposal "will be removed from the budget in its entirety." They say the plan "was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way."

The restrictions, which Republicans slipped into the proposed budget late Thursday, would exempt nearly everything created by government officials from Wisconsin's open records law.

The statement says the Legislature will form a committee to study the issue and allow for public discussion.

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MADISON/TOMAHAWK - It may come as a surprise, but fishermen, hunters, or hikers can't legally cross most railroad tracks in Wisconsin.

That's even if the rail line splits their own property. Walking across tracks is only allowed on the thousands of crossings specifically approved by the state.

Some legislative Republicans think that doesn't make sense. They added a proposal to the state budget on Thursday to allow people to cross tracks on foot. Making a crossing would no longer be considered trespassing, and railroad companies would have no power to prevent it.

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PARK FALLS - Kelly Meredith's paint-splattered uniform and face tell us what she does.  But the Butternut muralist prefers to think of her job as a historian.

"Those stories need to go out to the rest of us," Meredith said.

Brush stroke by brush stroke, Meredith went to work this spring, painting the uniforms and faces of Northwoods World War II veterans and bringing their stories back to life.

"They weren't gods and heroes," Meredith said. "They're ordinary people who overcame their fear and the courage and dignity to basically save the world."

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