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Northwoods Spotlight: 50th World Championship Snowmobile DerbySubmitted: 01/23/2013
Story By Newswatch 12 Sports

Northwoods Spotlight: 50th World Championship Snowmobile Derby
EAGLE RIVER - This year's World Championship Snowmobile Derby was seen by more fans than the last 10 years. Over 30,000 made their way to Eagle River to catch the high-speed action.

"I'm here with my son," said Jerry Bolf of Schofield. "We come every year."

"It's great how every thing has come together," adds derby track manager Todd Achterberg. "All the volunteers made me look good."

Governor Walker was at the races on Friday Night. Governor Walker declared the week Snowmobile Safety Week. Past Derby champions and Derby Queens were recognized. Fireworks both in the skies and on the course. The drivers loved being a part of event.


Matt Schulz of Wausau finished third in the World Championship Derby. He says, "Eagle River is a big deal. There is probably 150 people who come up from Wausau to see me."

Among some of the Northwoods drivers competing... Eagle River's Nick Dolezel won the Outlow 600 class. Tomahawk's Nick Van Strydonk fell in his quest for a second straight championship. Howver, Van Strydonk captured the Factory 600 Title. Malcolm Chartier of Marine City, Michigan won this year's World Championships -not to mention $60,000 first prize.


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Back in late-October, the bank broke ground on its new facility on the corner of Lincoln Street and Oneida Avenue. The new building brings employees from the other two buildings in downtown together. 

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WATERSMEET - With every species of insect Rachel Hovel finds, she gets a better picture of the water quality at Wildcat Falls near Watersmeet. 

"We're actually finding really good representation of the mayflies, the stone flies, caddisfly which are the three most sensitive, which is a great indication of good water quality," said Hovel. 

Hovel was one of about a dozen people that spent their Saturday searching, identifying, and cataloging all the different species of plant and animal life on the property.

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EAGLE RIVER - City water customers in Eagle River will see the effects of a brutally cold winter in 2014 four years later.

Starting this month, water bills will increase by an average of 50 percent. Cold weather in 2014 forced the city to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair water main freezes and breaks.

Low water bill revenues couldn't keep up.

"That winter of 2014 was probably the straw that kind of broke the camel's back that finally said, hey, you guys need to look at a rate increase," said city utility manager Pat Weber.

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RHINELANDER - With sunny skies and warm temperatures people might want to get outside and start grilling or barbecuing.

But many counties in the Northwoods still face a very high risk for fire danger.

"It can start out as a little fire on the side of the garage and you turn away to call your dog from across the street and look back and your whole house is on fire," said Rhinelander firefighter paramedic Nicholas Heise.

Heise said the department has been busy this spring responding to more fires than usual.

"This year has been a pretty dry (season) as far as seasons go," said Heise.

That means fires will burn more rapidly and aggressively in high risk areas.

"I expect these fires to be very rapid and quickly escalate," said Heise.

Heise said some of the calls have been people grilling or barbecuing in their backyard.

"If you are grilling outside just make sure to keep a close eye on the charcoal grill," said Oneida County Deputy Sheriff Michael Baran.

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WOODRUFF - Black bear sightings become more common this time of year.

As bears come out of hibernation, they tend to be pretty hungry.

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MOSINEE - The journey to the state meet began Monday for many Northwoods area track and field teams at the Mosinee Division Two regional meet. 

The Lakeland Union boys 4x800 meter relay team cruised to an easy first place to start out the meet. 

Last year the 4x800 meter relay team took the state title. This year the team consists of three out of four of the same runners. 

"We're looking defend out state championship title from last year and obviously get into the fast heat at sectionals," said senior Kieran Mullen. Mullen also came in first place at the regional meet in the 800 meter run.

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EAGLE RIVER - A Wisconsin-themed outdoor landscape will soon accompany the new Olson Memorial Library in Eagle River.

The library reopened in December after a $2.8 million renovation and expansion project.

On Monday, volunteers started creating a rain garden and planting native flowers and grasses on the grounds.

"You have a new outside, you have the building, a new inside of the building, and we wanted to make sure that the landscaping complimented it," said Quita Sheehan of the Vilas County Land and Water Conservation Department.

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