Northwoods Spotlight: Outdoor CurlingSubmitted: 01/30/2013
Story By Joe Dufek

EAGLE RIVER - Several Northwoods folks decided to compete in an outdoor curling tournament last year near Sugar Camp.

They had so much fun, they decided to try and form a league.

4 teams, 16 players, and 2 frozen lakes. Joe Dufek has more in today's "Northwoods Spotlight."

Action on a pair of frozen lakes just south of Eagle River has really picked up this winter. But these guys are not ice fishing. Curling is the name of the game. But at Johnny Nick's and Kathan Inn, the sport is played outside.

"We realized, 'Let's try to build a rink outside and keep this thing going,'" Justin Pitlik of Johnny Nick's "A" team said. "In the winter months, we have something to do and have a lot of fun."

It's called the Northwoods Pond Curling League. 4 teams playing on either Kathan Lake or Dam Lake. Most of these players have never curled before.

This grass-roots league, or should I say ice-roots league had to be creative with their equipment. The rinks are spray-painted. Event he stones are home made.

Mike Warwick of Kathan Inn "A" team explains the stones are, "stainless steel dog dishes to keep the cost down. I know that sounds funny, but we want to keep the cost down. There is concrete inside - weights 40 pounds. That's the weight of a curling stone."

Most of players will likely not be seen on an Olympic stage, everyone has tried to keep the rules in tact. Although some rules were adjusted to keep the activity fun. Only two women are playing this year. They throw from the Hogline.

They hope the league will have more teams next year, and attract both curlers and rookies to the fun.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/20/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

In the last few years, Northwoods counselors have gotten scientific evidence to force drunk drivers to be truthful. We'll show you how the "BioMarker" project works and update you on the progress of the program in Wisconsin and Oneida County.

We'll bring you a preview of the Level 1 High School postseason football game between Merrill and Rice Lake which takes place tomorrow.

And we'll show you all the hoopla in Green Bay as fans get excited about tonight's big rivalry matchup between the Packers and the Chicago Bears.

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

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MADISON - About 30 percent of all absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin so far come from the state's most heavily Democratic counties.

The latest data posted on the Wisconsin Elections Commission website shows 55,000 ballots cast in Milwaukee and Dane counties.

21,700 have come in from three conservative counties near Milwaukee.

Over 183,000 were cast statewide.

Republican candidates typically must do well in those Milwaukee suburban counties to counter the Democratic votes in Milwaukee and Madison.

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MADISON - Wisconsin may be the dairy state, but we've seen a decline in the number of dairy farms.

A report from the federal Agriculture Department shows that Wisconsin lost almost 400 dairy farms in the last year.

About 94-thousand dairy herds were active in the state as of October 1st.

Wisconsin Dairy Business Association President Gordon Speirs says the number of lost farms this year is low compared to previous years.

Annual losses reached as high as 1-thousand in some years.

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GREEN BAY - MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has to accept results of the election, even though Trump hasn't said whether he will if Hillary Clinton wins.

WLUK-TV reports Thursday that Walker said following an event in Green Bay that "The bottom line is whether he does or doesn't, there's going to be a new president."

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander mother always thought of her hometown as safe. That perspective changed in some ways last Tuesday when the woman's 12-year-old son raced into her office saying he was held hostage by a teen with a butcher knife.

Newswatch 12 is not identifying the woman, her son, or anyone involved, but instead we wanted to know what happened and what can be done to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The mother says her son and a friend decided to go to Hodag Park to play football in the afternoon of October 11.

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ST. GERMAIN - Helping patients feel better comes first for one pharmacist in St. Germain, but every Wednesday in October these patients are returning the favor by buying her cupcakes for a cause.

People know to head to pharmacist Jennifer Hansen when they're sick; however, many of them also know they can walk out of St. Germain Pharmacy with one of her cupcakes for Down Syndrome Awareness month.

This is the fourth year Jennifer is baking the cupcakes for her sons' Lakeland Area Special Olympics team.

One of her sons has Down Syndrome and the other has Autism.

"It's not about disabilities or what they can't do. It is shining and highlighting what they can do and all the many things they can do," said Hansen.

Donations from the cupcakes allowed her kids and fellow teammates to get new uniforms and head to different tournaments around the state.

Just as much as she knows patients by name, they know about her sons and always ask about them.

Jennifer says the generosity of the Northwoods community is overwhelming.

Many of her customers ask about the cupcakes months in advance to make sure they can donate.

"I'll still do them as long as my oven keeps working and nothing else bad happens," said Hansen.

Jennifer's boys and their teammates will be heading to Merrill for a bowling tournament this weekend.

Cupcake sales go through the end of October.

Jennifer also has cupcakes in exchange for donations in April for Autism Awareness Month.

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RHINELANDER - Leaves cover the ground instead of snow, but that doesn't stop Ben Popp from dreaming.

"Hopefully it snows soon," said Popp.

The American Birkebeiner Executive Director visited the Northwoods Nordic Ski Club Wednesday. 

"Rhinelander has just an amazing situation here. We have this great venue out here at CAVOC, the Nordic Ski Club is really strong," Popp said.

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