EAGLE RIVER - Imagine yourself running a 5k. Does the thought exhaust you?
Now imagine running a 5k where you're only about chest-height compared to the rest of the runners.
Dozens of fourth and fifth graders from Northland Pines are up to the challenge.
The "Mission Possible" running club will take on the Journey's Marathon 5k this weekend after seven weeks of training.
"I think I'm ready for it," said fifth grader Brady Snedden.
He's been training with 71 other students from Northland Pines Elementary School.
Teacher Megan Hoffman started Mission Possible last year with just 30 students.
"We just saw some of the kids not veering down the right path," Hoffman said. "[They were] not making the right decisions as far as the foods they were eating and activities they were doing."
That's not an issue for fourth grader Lakken Ludwig.
"I love to run with my friends and I just like to be active," she said.
Ludwig plays soccer, too. But running feels different.
"You can just run and you don't have to worry about anything."
That idea makes running accessible to almost anyone.
"All of the kids can participate," Hoffman said. "Whether they're here to walk or whether they're here to run, they don't really necessarily have to have a special talent. Everyone is welcome."
"I feel good because every night when I go home, my parents are proud of me because I did it and it just makes me feel like I'm always in shape," Ludwig said.
That kind of encouragement is important, but the big payoff is the big race.
"It plays a huge role in our community, to see the kids out there with their families – some of the parents are running, aunts and uncles are running, because [the kids] are running," Hoffman said. "It's just played such a huge impact beyond the school and in the community."
"It's just fun to train for something you know is big and that you want to accomplish," Snedden said.
CONOVER - June 22 makes it the 14th day of rainfall for us this month, and it's not been very convenient.
People all over northcentral Wisconsin have had to deal with storm damage or flooding in some way.
Pioneer Lake in Conover has had a particularly tough time with flooding not only because of the rain, but also because of a dam upstream.
"We've got 20 piers here, and they're floating away, they're underwater," said Maple View Resort and Campground Owner Tony Osiecki. "I've never seen it like this in fifty years."
Osiecki blames the deluge of rain we've gotten in the past few weeks for the flooding in his resort. But he and many others on the lake also blame a dam upstream.
It's located on the southwest side of South Twin Lake in Phelps. It's owned by Wausau-based Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company, and it's meant to maintain the levels of the Twin Lakes. Peter Hansen, the company's Vice President of Operation, admits they are releasing a lot of water--because they are federally required to.
"We are releasing an amount of water that is more than the 500-year rain event," Hansen said. "That means the rain that we've had, according to our calculations, is only supposed to happen every 500 years...We're doing everything within our federal license to lower the water level on Twin."
Downstream of the dam is the Twin River, which flows into Pioneer Lake. Hansen says the company is not responsible for what happens downstream.
That leaves some people frustrated
"[People] have been calling wanting to know what we're doing about the water and what they've got to do to fix it," said Pioneer Lake Association President Terry Wright. "If it's affecting us we have to have somebody we can call to change it."
In the meantime, Osiecki deals with the flooding.
"Move everything back a bit and try to get someone to close the dam and compromise," Osiecki said.
Hansen says the company has been able to cut back on the water release in the past few days, but with more rain in the forecast, that might change. He says Pioneer Lake does not have a controlled structure to help with the lake's water levels.
RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.
There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.
"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.
All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.
"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."
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