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NEWS STORIES

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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 IN OTHER NEWS

PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.

The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.

"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."

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VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.

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OWEN - A plane crash in central Wisconsin has killed one person and injured two others.

Clark County Sheriff Greg Herrick says the victim was a passenger in a Cessna 182 that was trying to make an emergency landing on a road in the town of Hoard at about 9:15 a.m. Monday.

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RHINELANDER - A man uses bubbles to entertain kids and parents, but his act Monday night also focused on more than just entertainment.

"My name is Geoff, but most people just call me Bubble Man, Mr. Bubble. One kid called me Bubble-Wan-Kenobi," said bubble artist Geoffrey Akins.

Akins makes a living by blowing bubbles.

"It was nine years ago that I left my job teaching to perform full time," Akins said.

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WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.

Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.

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LAONA - A Northwoods school found a way to teach students skills they'll need after school, and help the community at the same time.

Some Laona High School students helped build a warming shelter at the towns recycling center.

One of Laona's town supervisors brought up the possibility of the building to a school board member.

The school board member felt it was a good way for a small school and town to work together.

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WAUSAU - The Wausau Police Department will use a "Hero Dog" to help bolster its K9 unit.

The dog's name is Rex, and he isn't Wausau Police Officer Mark Jaeger's first K9 partner.

"My last dog, Pluto, is 12-and-a-half and he just retired," Jaeger said. "When [Pluto] saw me in the uniform getting in the squad and he didn't get to come along, he was not happy."

Rex just recently joined the Wausau Police Department, but his service to his community and his country, goes further back.

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