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NEWS STORIES

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

BERLIN - Berlin Area School District officials have decided the high school mascot will remain the same amid criticism that it's racially insensitive.

The school board voted Monday night to retain the Indian mascot at Berlin High School after survey results were announced.

About 92 percent of more than 1,300 community members surveyed voted in favor of keeping the mascot.

One resident says the name honors a Native American tribe that no longer exists.

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MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hopes a new set of bald eagle license plates will take flight across the state.

The agency is accepting bald eagle photo submissions for a contest.

The winning photo could be featured on the new endangered resources license plate.

Erin Crain is director for the department's Natural Heritage Bureau.

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Ford recalls 220,000 vehiclesSubmitted: 01/28/2015

NATIONWIDE - Ford announced on Wednesday it's recalling 220,000 cars for safety reasons.

But one local dealer Newswatch 12 spoke with says car owners likely won't be able to get their cars fixed until March.

That's because Ford needs to make the part to fix one of the issues and then send it to the dealers. Ford told the dealer Newswatch 12 spoke with that the parts won't be delivered until March.

The company is recalling certain 2010 to 2013 Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and Ford Police Interceptor sedans.

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TOMAHAWK - Railroads across Wisconsin have started fining people who walk along railroad tracks. The policy changed in an effort to save lives after one of the most deadly years in the state's travel history.

Eight people died in train-involved deaths in 2014, six more than in 2013. And 2015 already saw its first train-related death when a Milwaukee man was hit and killed on January 2.

Railroad experts say many accidents happen because trains can't stop fast enough.

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RACINE - Gov. Scott Walker says he's planning trips soon to the important 2016 presidential primary states of South Carolina, Nevada and Florida.

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LANSING, MI - People will eventually be able to hike or bike from Ironwood, Michigan all the way to Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced the plans for the trail in 2012, and just this week, the trail got its name. It will be called the Iron Belle Trail.

The Michigan DNR held a three-week trail naming contest this past fall. It got nearly 9,000 entries.

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- More snow might not be the first item on your wish list. But it could get you a weekend getaway. As the snow piles up, so do your chances of winning a Northwoods sweepstakes.

Rhinelander's Chamber of Commerce is running the Snow Day Sweepstakes. Executive Director of Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Dana DeMet, said the chamber hopes the sweepstakes will offer another way for people to enjoy winter in the Northwoods. It could also help people stay excited about getting more snow this time of year.

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