ARBOR VITAE - Spring training is going strong in Arizona and Florida, but that's not the only place to swing a bat in February. Marisa Silvas caught up with some folks playing softball on a frozen lake.
"People truly look forward to this," says Nick MacDonald - Charity Softball Organizer.
Softball in the snow. Not your typical winter activity. But one that brought a big group out to Arbor Vitae to give it a try.
MacDonald adds, "You have people out here that play softball once a year and this is the tournament they do it."
" It's the first time I've seen softball played on the ice," adds Logan Murphy - a Lakeland Junior who was an umpire at the event.
Playing on a frozen lake does provide some challenges.
Jesse Anderson, one of the players explains, "It's more difficult on the snow. It's a different set of rules. It's like running in beach sand."
The event isn't just about the love of the game. It's also hitting a home run for charity.
Slo's Pub Owner Sue Slominski says, "The money goes for Cruisin For a Cause, which is a benefit for Angel on my Shoulder. So we try to do these added events to contribute to that."
This was the third year of the tournament, and they raised a record $1650.
BOULDER JUNCTION - Pilots find very little room for error when they make a landing. Wings, flaps, and landing gear all need to work properly. Then there's the runway itself, which needs to be flat and smooth.
So, when pilots found ruts and divots torn into the grass runway at Boulder Junction's airport, folks were more than upset, they were worried about safe landings. Airfield president Jeff Long thinks someone used a pickup truck to do the damage. It happened right before the airfield's busiest weekend of the year, the Musky Day fly-in.
"To see somebody disregard that, disrespect that, and then again the safety, where somebody could get hurt that we're inviting up here for summer fun, doesn't make you feel very good," Long said.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander and Oneida County will consider borrowing $15 million to help develop a manufacturer in Rhinelander, according to an Oneida County Economic Development Corporation release Tuesday.
The money would help Rhinelander Coated Products start work inside the former Printpack building on Kemp Street.
MADISON - New state regulations designed to retain teachers are going into effect.
The package was published Tuesday. The provisions allow retired teachers or teachers nearing retirement to apply for a nonrenewable five-year license without submitting a professional development plan. They also increase the time that short-term substitute teachers can serve in the same assignment from 20 days to 45 days.
THREE LAKES - Pollinators play an essential role in the growth of plants, and it's not just bees that help pollinate.
Butterflies, bats, and even mosquitoes are pollinators, but those populations have been in decline in recent years.
"Across the U.S., pollinators have been seeing big declines," said Oneida County Conservationist Michele Sadauskas. "We've been hearing more and more about our honeybee pollinations. The monarch populations have had dramatic decreases. So we're seeing it across the board."
EAGLE RIVER - Cities across the Northwoods drop tens of thousands of dollars every winter on crack sealing roads. The Eagle River Airport is no different. The airport spent about $25,000 in 2016 patching up its main runway.
Arguably, that runway is even older than most roads people drive on. The runway was last redone in 1971. On a busy day, the 5,000-foot runway hosts upwards of 80 takeoffs and landings. Airport manager Rob Hom showed Newswatch 12 a number of places where the pavement is buckling and cracked. That can lead to dangerous landings for small planes.
"Relative to a car or a truck [a prop-powered airplane is] pretty light relatively speaking, so having a smooth runway is imperative," Hom said.
CRANDON - For some Northwoods families, it can be hard to find the money to pay for their kids' school supplies every year, but a back-to-school program in Forest County is giving children the supplies they need to succeed.
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