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NEWS STORIES

Armless Pilot Speaks With Mosinee Students Submitted: 02/19/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


MOSINEE - Imagine having to drive a car, brush your teeth and do all the normal things without your arms.

Jessica Cox has been doing that since birth, but that hasn't stopped her from conquering her fear.

"My greatest fear was flying. So I decided to face it head on and become a pilot." said Cox.

But it hasn't been a smooth ride her whole life.

"I was the type in junior high and high school student who wanted to blend in," Jessica said.

"Who wanted to go unnoticed, but my message now, because I've grown into an adult my confidence levels have increased, is to teach others to be confident about themselves about their difference and it's ok to be different."

That's why Jessica came to Mosinee high school Tuesday.

Student Anthony Gesick helped bring her here.

He's partially blind and is unable to operate a vehicle or fly a plane, but that's not stopping him either.

Jessica wants all the students to know they can do anything.

"I hope people can take away to celebrate differences. To realize that we are very different. We're also very similar in many ways," said Cox.

"So we all want to be accepted and we should accept ourselves. If I can fly an airplane, there's so much they can do."

Students seem to be catching on to her message.

"Don't use 'I can't' because obviously you can overcome anything you want," said Junior Mosinee High School Student, Jonah Siranni.

"You don't have to give up. Don't do it because you can do anything you want."

Related Weblinks:
Click here to find out more information on Jessica Cox's documentary

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/31/2015

- We'll take a closer look at the fall webworm, a native insect which creates balls of webs on Northwoods trees this time of year.

- Is tanning for minors a good idea? A proposed state law would ban it. We have local reaction.

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

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EAGLE RIVER - The first-ever ATV & UTV Side by Side World Championship Derby finished up Sunday afternoon. 

Races started on Saturday and continued through the weekend. 

Spectators, racers and event staff all say they were pleased with how the event turned out.

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WAUSAU - A garage fire in Wausau early this morning will likely cost about $7,200 in damage, according to Wausau Fire Battalion Chief Allan Antolik.

Antolik said it was a 12 by 20 ft detached garage on Pleasant Street.

The Wausau Fire Department responded to the call at 1:30 a.m.

The department says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

No one was hurt. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Wisconsin native Zac Zakowski won the UTV championship derby on Sunday at the AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack.

"Once you start doing this you can't stop," said professional UTV and ATV driver Zac Zakowski. "It's like a drug."

Zakowski started racing seriously when he was about 17 years old. The fun hobby quickly turned into a pro sport, a career and a lifestyle. He has been traveling to many different races since then, competing at the professional level.

"You kinda miss out on that stuff and you miss it but at the same time when you're doing this stuff, you don't," Zakowski said.

The sport is hard on the body and the wallet. Two years ago, Zakowski said while driving his ATV he hit a tree and tore his ACL in his knee. He was out for two seasons.

One thing almost all ATV drivers, pro or amateur, can agree on is the sport is truly a family affiar.

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my family," Zakowski said. "I mean you can walk the pits and probably almost everybody would say they do it because their family supports it and they do it as a family."

"The lifestyle is tiring because you load up the rig and the trailer to travel thousands of miles to race for an hour or two hours depending on the race," said Zakowski's mother, Linda. "Then you load back up to go home. But once you get to that site on the track you're excited and you just can't wait for things to get going."

Zakowski stopped racing for a while when his mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. Now his mother is in remission and Zakowski participates in races that raise awareness for the disease.

"He paints his whole quad pink and has stickers on it," Linda Zakowski said. 

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ST. GERMAIN - More than 11,000 people suffer from Multiple Sclerosis in Wisconsin alone.

The owners of Lynn Ann's Campground in St. Germain want to do something about that. They started the Woods and Waters Paddle last year race to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

It's an out and back kayak and stand up paddle board race.

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WOOD COUNTY - The Wood County 911 system is fixed, according to the Dispatch Center page on the Wood County website. The website posted this update at 7:11pm. 

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EAGLE RIVER - The AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack's first-ever ATV & UTV World Championship Derby is in full gear.

Racers say they are impressed with the first-ever event.

"There's been really no ATV races in Wisconsin and for them to have us here and do this event, it's going to be pretty cool," said professional ATV driver Cody Janssen. "I'm pretty excited to be a part of it."

The warm weather is a welcome change to racers like Jay Mittelstaedt, who are used to racing at the annual snowmobile derby in the winter.

"It's really weird because if you've been coming here for however long and it's snow and ice and cold...now the grass is green and there's piles of dirt," Mittelstaedt said. "It's a little different but it's pretty cool."

Racers of all ages and skill dashed around the track.

For many racers and fans, the derby is a family affair.

"My husband took it up when he was a kid, he's been racing for almost 20 years, and we just finally got into it these last few years and thought it would be something for the kids to get into," said parent and racer 
Michele Grant. "And I started three years ago and it's a lot of fun."

Racers want spectators to see a good show.

"That's why I hope that hill is full today and I hope people come out and appreciate how cool this is," Janssen said.

The event continues until the championships on Sunday afternoon. 

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