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Forest County man accused of sex with child pleads not guiltySubmitted: 02/27/2013
Story By WJFW News Team

Forest County man accused of sex with child pleads not guilty
CRANDON - Michael George pleaded not guilty in Forest County court today. He is accused of having sex with and sodomizing a young child.

The criminal complaint says he had inappropriate contact with the victim around 20 times over the past few years.

George faces a class B felony-- that's the same category as manslaughter and reckless homicide.

If found guilty, he faces more than 100 years in prison.



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WOODRUFF - People came together in Woodruff on Saturday to raise money for a good cause. This was the fifth year for the Carrol Lake Ice Fishing Tournament.

In total about 175 people entered into the tournament. People could win prizes and could help themselves to some food throughout the day.

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TOMAHAWK - The near freezing temperatures will help snowmobile racers compete at the 2nd Annual Winter Hatchet Nationals Ice Oval Snowmobile Race at the Tomahawk Speedway.

Last year during the race, temperatures reached far above freezing causing track co-owner Andrew Bartelt to plan ahead.

"I actually covered this entire speedway with tents and stuff like that to block the UV rays. This year we were preemptive and we put a UV blocker in the water which came along with blue coloring so it looks pretty," said Bartelt.

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RHINELANDER - A Minocqua man accused of murdering his wife in 1982 listened to more than two hours of testimony against him on Friday. 
 
Police arrested Robin Mendez earlier this month for the death of his wife, Barbara. 

The State used a timeline to argue Robin Mendez had enough time to kill his wife at the Park City Credit Union where she worked.

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SHAWANO COUNTY - Thursday marked a big victory for a group of people wanting to keep a sex offender out of their Forest County neighborhood. A Shawano County Judge ruled in favor of continuing an order that stops Jeffrey LeVasseur from moving to Blackwell.

The hearing itself lasted about seven and a half hours on Thursday. But to the Blackwell residents in the civil case, the lengthy trial was worth the outcome.

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MERRILL - Merrill went without a homeless shelter for the last two winters. 

Now, construction is finally about to begin on a new one. 

The building was donated to the Merrill Community Homeless Center board in October.

Board Secretary Dee Olsen says Merrill has had 30 adults and five families suffering from homelessness in the last five months.

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EAGLE RIVER - Blink and you might miss him.  Patrik Sandell tends to understate things, but flying around on a frozen lake, sometimes at 100 miles per hour, is simply "normal" for him.

"I've been flying out here," Sandell said.  "For me, this is how I grew up."

Sandell learned to drive race cars under similar conditions as a youngster in Sweden.  The 35-year-old joined Subaru Rally Team USA and wanted to bring his ice driving experience to the states.  The racing style means drifting a car at high speeds through a curvy ice track.

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MINOCQUA - Every four years, winter sports gain popularity during the Olympics. For two weeks, athletes show the world what they can do. The skaters from the Lakeland Figure Skating Club aren't in the Olympics, but they've spent months perfecting their routines for a showcase this weekend. 

Ice skating has been a lifelong passion for Raven Carufel. 

"I originally saw the Disney movie Ice Princess and my parents got me a pair of skates for Christmas and it's been history since then," said 16-year-old Carufel. 

Now, she skates at the Lakeland Hawks Ice Arena to improving her skills and move up levels. Advancing is a big part of the sport. But skating also serves as a stress reliever. 

"I feel so confident when I'm on the ice it's kind of a release for everything in life," said Carufel. 

Carufel and the other skaters are preparing for the Lakeland Figure Skating Club's Ice Show this weekend.
Skaters of all ages and skills levels show off their routines.

"This is the only show I do out of the year, otherwise its mostly training for competing," said 17-year-old Lainie Kuckkahn. 

Lakeland Ice Arena is home for Kuckkahn. She also travels all over the state and country to compete.
"Right now my goal is to pass all my free skates and also continue competing and hopefully get a few higher scores," said Kuckkahn. 

These skaters spend weeks, months, and even years practicing. But every four years, their sport comes into the spotlight in the Olympics. They get to watch some of their favorite skaters perform. 

"My favorite skater is Evgenia from Russia," said Carufel. 

"I've always really liked Mirai Nagasu, so I was really happy when she landed her triple axel this year in competition."

Watching their favorite athletes on TV gives young skaters some extra motivation to keep getting better.
"Just seeing that strength they have kind of inspires me to strengthen my own skating," said Carufel. 

"It makes me feel good because sometimes I want to be in the Olympics. I kind of imagine me and my group being in the Olympics having just fun," said eight-year-old Addison Nelson. 

The shows will be held on Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Lakeland Hawks Ice Arena in Minocqua. 

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