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


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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WAUSAU - In less than two weeks, Wisconsin voters will head to the polls to vote in the state's primary.

That's why former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) is encouraging people to vote on August 9th.

He faces another democratic senate candidate Scott Harbach from Kenosha.

"I wouldn't say I'm nervous but I take nothing for granted," Feingold said at a Wausau event on Wednesday. 
"You should never take an election for granted and that's why we're working very hard at traveling all over the state this week to help people take advantage of early voting and if not to make sure they get out to vote on August 9th." 

If Feingold wins the election, he faces incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) in November.

A recent Marquette University Law School poll shows Feingold leading. The link is posted below.

But Feingold said he doesn't want to get too hung up on the numbers.

"I don't want to get really serious about polling, that isn't the way that I've ever conducted myself," Feingold said. "What I do is go out to listen to people and find out directly not through polling what people are thinking and how they're feeling."

A third candidate named Phillip Anderson is also running for the same senate seat. He is a libertarian from Fitchburg.

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RHINELANDER - At 51 years old, Rhinelander's Chris Moore felt off for months. In May it got worse. His wife knew something was wrong.

"Oh no we're going to call an ambulance," said Chris Moore.

Doctors diagnosed Moore with unhealthy heart muscle, an irregular heartbeat, and heart failure. His heart now works at 20 percent. Moore had to resign from his job a grave digger.

"Hardest thing I've ever done was to sit and watch," said Chris Moore.

Moore's wife Sherri only works part-time and says Chris may have to wait months to years for social security disability to kick in.

"We sold a truck, boat," said Sherri.

But it wasn't enough to pay the bills. That's when a friend unexpectedly stepped up.
 
Janelle Schroder is putting on rummage and baking sales this week. She is also putting on a benefit for the Moore Family in August.

"I knew somebody had to do something," said Schroder.

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MADISON - Unemployment is down in nearly all Wisconsin cities and counties.

The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates decreased or remained the same in 29 of the state's 32 largest cities in June. The rates also went down or remained the same in all but four counties.

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MADISON - Democratic Senate candidate Russ Feingold tells The Associated Press that Donald Trump's latest comments show he is "an enormous threat to national security."

Feingold spoke Wednesday about Trump's comments urging Russia to find thousands of emails missing from Hillary Clinton's private computer server.

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THREE LAKES - Research shows lakes with no shoreline development generally produce bigger, faster-growing fish. Lakes with heavily developed shorelines, full of homes, lawns, beaches, and docks, have the opposite effect.

Researchers at the UW-Madison Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction want to know more about that dynamic.

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FLORENCE COUNTY - Driving through the Northwoods, you can see plenty of deer, cows, and horses… But bison? That's a little rarer.

Unless you travel to a ranch in Florence County, where the Rock family thinks they've tapped into a special and healthy food source.

Raising bison has always seemed normal to Michael Rock. His favorite is Badaxe, who is 25 years old.
"He became my baby and I feed him maple syrup and apples all the time, that's his favorite treat," said Michael.

But the Rock family knows their livestock are rare for these parts.

"We got into it for the health issues because now we know what we're eating," said David.
David started the business about 10 years ago. These days, the Rocks have around 130 bison on their Florence County ranch.

"For me this is enjoyment because I'm outside and I'm with my family. And I like to be outside and work with them on that," said David.

Two of the Rocks' four children live and work on the ranch.

"Being able to tell them what to do. I'm still the dad, so I rule the roost. They are a big help and they do have good ideas. You do have to watch the younger generation," said David.

Their daughter, Josie, and son, Michael, help with feeding and maintaining the herd.

"My favorite are the babies. The babies when they're younger, they like fighting and playing. And they'll just be running around and playing," said Josie.

But raising these animals isn't just about entertainment. In the 1800's, bison were almost killed off. Now, the Rocks hope to promote the animal's health benefits be carefully managing which ones go to be processed.

"Bison is about the only other meat out there that they can eat. It's healthier than chicken, it's healthier than salmon, pig, beef, anything. It's the top of the line," said Karen.

Raising an animal is a large project, one that Michael would like to do for a long time.

"I like bailing hay with the tractors, I like taking care of the animals. I have a future goal, to have big barns full of them," said Michael.

All of their meat is sent to the U. P. to a USDA approved facility and most of it stays local to the Midwest.

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MADISON - House Speaker Paul Ryan won't be joining Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence at a Wisconsin rally.

Pence is slated to campaign Wednesday night in Ryan's home state. The rally in Waukesha is about 60 miles from Ryan's home in Janesville.

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