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Special Olympians Hit the Slopes on Granite PeakSubmitted: 01/20/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


WAUSAU - The weather didn't cooperate this weekend for the Special Olympics Wisconsin Winter Games in Wausau.

Three hundred athletes were expected for the event Saturday. The snowshoe and cross country ski events had to be canceled due to lack of snow.

But 35 competitors still got to hit the slopes at Granite Peak for snowboarding and alpine skiing.

One of the snowboarders competing Saturday may have been even more excited for another event coming up.

Dana Shilts from Neillsville, Wisconsin will travel to South Korea to compete for Team USA in the Special Olympics.

"This is my first time competing in a world games. I'm very excited. My number one supporter is coming with me, so I'm very excited," says Shilts, who is taking her mother with her to South Korea.

Three Wisconsin athletes made Team USA. Jason Suino from Hayward will compete in cross country, and Alexander Guild from De Pere will snowshoe.

Organizers say these athletes are what make volunteering worth it.

"The athletes is Special Olympics represent probably the truest example of sports; people who are in this just for the pure enjoyment of being in sports. We don't have the types of sportsmanship issues that a lot of other organizations have. It's just when you see the difference it makes in an athlete's life; not just the joy of competing and getting an award, but what they're able to accomplish, and what they're able to do," says Bob Whitehead.

Team USA leaves for South Korea this Wednesday.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/25/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Lincoln County D.A. determined that the deputy involved in a shooting in late February was justified in his actions. We'll show you the dash cam footage of the shooting that was just released.

We'll take you live to the Vilas County Courthouse where 36-year-old Rodney Teets is being tried for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at knife point in July 2015.

And a Wausau boy wanted to see a wheelchair-friendly playground in his own backyard. Unfortunately, he died before that happened. But that didn't stop his family from keeping their promise. We'll talk with the boy's father and show you how he is making plans for the playground to be built in a Wausau park.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MINNEAPOLIS - The upper Midwest timber industry is welcoming the Trump administration's announcement that it's imposing tariffs averaging 20 percent on softwood lumber entering the United States from Canada.

The industry has been struggling in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The housing market crash in 2008 cut demand for softwood lumber used to build homes, including the products affected by the administration's move.

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MADISON - A Wisconsin man accused of stealing a cache of weapons and sending an anti-government manifesto to the White House failed to stand for a federal judge at his arraignment.

Joseph Jakubowski appeared in court in Madison Tuesday on felony possession and theft of firearms charges.

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MOLE LAKE - Dozens of members of the Sokoagon Chippewa community came together Monday morning to participate in Earth Day festivities.

Armed with large garbage bags, metal grabbers and plastic gloves, members picked up garbage and debris along a ten mile stretch of the reservation.

One volunteer worked the majority of the day in a blackberry bush, grabbing anything that didn't fit with the natural scenery.

"I would rather see green grass and green trees than tin cans, aluminum cans and plastic," said the volunteer.

57 volunteers came out to help.
Sokoagen Chippewa Environmental Director Tina Van Zile wanted to celebrate Earth Day on a week day because she believed more people would participate.

"Litter bothers me really bad," said Van Zile.

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THREE LAKES - Three Lakes taxpayers will chip in $900,000 dollars to the remodeling and expansion of the Demmer Library.

After years of meetings and votes, that plan became official last week at the town's annual meeting.

The money will accompany $1 million in money from the library's foundation and $100,000 from the Three Lakes Historical Society.

"The library is excited to be able to develop plans for a library that's going to continue to serve the community for many years in the future," said library director Erica Brewster.

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MERRILL - County lands exist for the public to enjoy.

But when people mistreat the land it can cost thousands of dollars to fix.

After a group of trucks damaged county land in Tomahawk over the weekend, Lincoln County wants to send a warning to other drivers.

Lieutenant Tim Fischer from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says places with county forest and logging roads tend to be easy targets for people who want to tear through the woods on their vehicles.

"[It causes] damage to the property that isn't easily repaired. 

[It] prohibits county workers from accessing areas in the forest that they have to get to," said Fischer. 

People find mud holes and drive their cars through them.

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VILAS COUNTY - Twelve jurors will consider a he said, she said case involving accusations of a sexual assault at knife point.

The trial for 36-year-old Rodney Teets began in Vilas County Court Monday morning.

Teets is accused of sexually assualting a 19 year old woman at knife point in July 2015.

He faces three counts of first degree sexual assault, which he will try to fight in trial.

After several hours of jury selection, attorneys began their opening statements Monday afternoon.

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