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Young Runners Prepare for Journeys RaceSubmitted: 05/08/2013
Story By Lex Gray

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.

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THREE LAKES - Dozens of people gathered at Three Lakes Watersports to waterski today for the third annual Pass the Handle Day.

This worldwide project was started by two legendary wake-boarders.

People of all ages and levels geared up to ski for free.

One of the boats honks as a skier lands in the water. That's the sound of a successful trip around the lake.

Corey Seemann is one of the instructors at Three Lakes Watersports. He knows how important these moments are for kids.

"It's what makes it special," Seemann said. "Seeing people that have never had the opportunity to come out and kind of live their dream, you know, and see some of the kids just have a blast."

Kids of all different ages came out for an action packed day. Some with more experience than others.

"It's just really fun," said 8-year-old Katie Swendson. "Getting out on the water."

She just learned how to get up on one ski.

For some of the skiers, this was their first time skiing on water.

"Nervous, but once I get up I get excited that I'm up," said 10-year-old Blake Slizwski.

One of the youngest skiers was 6-year-old Jack Westfall.

He went out with only one thing in mind.

"I'm here to water ski to get a puppy," Westfall said.

His sister says they've been trying to get him to ski for a long time and puppy was an incentive to get him out there.

"Little does he know, he's getting a stuffed puppy," said his sister, Anna.
 
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Three Lakes Watersports is open all summer long.

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MERRILL - Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he didn't want to spend too much time at the Republican National Convention last week because he wanted to get back to campaigning in his home state.

The senator from Oshkosh stopped at the Lincoln County Fair on Saturday.

He faces a tight races against former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis). 

Johnson gave a speech on Tuesday in Cleveland about national security, as he is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.

He seems pleased with the Republican presidential ticket.

"I think it's really complimentary to the skills Donald Trump brings to the table," Johnson said. "You got Donald Trump with the private sector experience. You got Mike Pence with a real record accomplishment both in the House and as the governor of Indiana. I think it's a pretty good pairing."

He said he wouldn't pay too much attention to the speeches at the Democratic National Convention this week.

"They've got their ticket, we've got our ticket," Johnson said. "They'll make a bunch of promises they can't deliver on. And what we're going to focus on is economic growth, strengthen our economy so we can strengthen our military, so we can defeat ISIS and secure our borders." 

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SHAWANO COUNTY - UPDATE 5:13 p.m.--Police say six people, including children, were taken to area hospitals after two sport utility vehicles carrying Boy Scouts crashed in Shawano County.

The accident happened Saturday morning on Highway 29 near Bonduel.

Police say one of the SUVs was towing a trailer with equipment. The driver of that vehicle went off the roadway then overcorrected and lost control. The second SUV hit the first, and both went off the road. The trailer flipped and the second SUV landed partially on top of the first.

Bonduel police Chief Todd Chaney tells the Green Bay Press Gazette that one of the injured, a troop leader, was airlifted to St. Vincent's Hospital in Green Bay with a head injury.

Chaney said he didn't think any of the injuries were life threatening.



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MADISON - Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson sees Donald Trump as the big winner at the recently completed Republican National Convention, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is the biggest loser.

Thompson spoke to The Associated Press on Friday after attending his 11th national convention. He's been to every one since 1976.

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MADISON - State attorneys have asked a federal judge to stay a ruling allowing people to vote without photo identification in November's election pending an appeal.

In Milwaukee this week, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued a preliminary injunction allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explaining why they couldn't get the identification.

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RHINELADER - During the summer months, camps look forward to welcoming campers and counselors.

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