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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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People are especially hopeful in White Lake.  Village leaders put Iron Mike out on the lake on Wednesday. 

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"Norman Mike Berg is the one who came up with the idea," said Chris Oatman, a White Lake Village Board Trustee. "And Iron Mike is named after Mike Berg. And Mike was a native of White Lake and just so active in the community, for veterans and the school and so many things." 

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"It's really exciting, the people really get into it," Oatman said. "The tickets are 5 dollars and basically the format for this year is you have to guess the day, and then you have to put down a time. So the closest one to the day without going over wins the prize." 

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MADISON - Fire safety rules might prevent the use of real Christmas trees in some spots.

A bill now approved by the Assembly would ensure live trees are still allowed in churches and the state Capitol rotunda.

National Fire Protection Association guidelines call for banning live Christmas trees in places where 50 people or more gather.

The guidelines also allow limited quantities of combustible vegetation....if local fire officials decide adequate safeguards are in place.

Under the bill, the state and local governments would not be allowed to prevent placement of Christmas trees in the Capitol rotunda or in a church.

Trees in the rotunda and churches would be presumed to be safe during fire inspections.

The Assembly approved the bill Tuesday evening.

Now it goes to the state Senate.

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