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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight: Merrill Karate Kids - May 15Submitted: 05/15/2013
Story By Marisa Silvas


MERRILL - Most of us don't have the chance to travel internationally... but some Karate students in the Northwoods are hoping to take their talents across the pond.

The Merrill Karate Club has been around since the early 1980's. They pride themselves in offering unique, high quality training for students of all ages.

Jon Gartmann is the Chief Instructor. "All it is is making the things they need to learn and the discipline and respect and the stances and the moves, and just putting a fun spin on it."

"You get to do the obstacle course and freeze tag," adds eight year old Kati Drury.


Seven year old Riley Gallagher says, "I like working with weapons. I have my own sword."

People choose to learn martial arts for many different reasons.

"I came here because of stress at work. I came to relieve some stress," explains Derek Berghammer another competitor. "I fell in love with it after that."

Jacob LePage recently earned a Black Belt. He's come a long way from when he first tried Martial Arts.

"I was really flippy," says LePage. "I would always jump off the couch."

The students have had so much success that 5 of them were invited to compete in Dublin, Ireland. But in order to get there, they're going to have to do some serious fundraising.

$30,000 in seven weeks to be exact.

They qualified in Watersmeet, Michigan. And will be 5 of only 75 people to represent Team USA in August.

"Team USA - we get a uniform and have lots of practice," young Kati Drury explains.

"Just amazing going to Ireland, adds LePage. "I'm just excited to see the scenery. Also excited for the tournament."


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - Hundreds of people gathered in Merrill on Monday to honor the lives of the service men and women lost over the years.

"From the Second World War, there were over 400,000 men and women who lost their lives, and it took a tremendous toll on our young people," said World War II veteran Richard Bjorklund.

The ceremony featured a guest speaker and acknowledged those still alive who served. People young and old remembered friends and family who are no longer here.

"Everybody worked together, and we still lost guys," said Vietnam War veteran John Jirovec. "It's hard to forget. Really hard to forget."

For one mother, every day is Memorial Day.
 
"My son Ryan, Sergeant Ryan Jopek, was killed in action on August 2, 2006," said Jopek's mother Tracy. "He just turned 20 and was coming home in a couple weeks, but fate didn't have it quite that way, and he didn't make it home, and we miss him every day."

Tears were shed thinking of the memories of loved ones, remembering freedom comes with a price.

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ST. GERMAIN - A popular Northwoods tradition kicked off its 40th season today. The St. Germain Flea Market draws thousands of bargain hunters each week during the summer.

The market attracts nearly 400 vendors every week. Vendors showcase everything from homemade crafts and artwork to plants and homemade treats.

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MINOCQUA - Many golf courses in the Northwoods need to work hard to make a profit each year. Cold northern springs and falls mean a shorter playing season than other parts of the state. Many increase their rates near the peak of tourism season.

One Northwoods course went the other direction during the last week of April and tried something new. Timber Ridge Golf Club in Minocqua offered something unheard of - completely free golf for everyone.

"We all just kind of thought, what a nice idea, to just say thank you to all of our customers. (We thought,) come on out for a free week of golf," said Timber Ridge PGA Professional Jerry Collins.

The course was in great shape by late April. Golfers flooded in to play during the entire week.


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ONEIDA COUNTY - Last Thursday, 15 members of the Oneida County community graduated from Leadership Oneida County. The nine-month program aims to give participants a better understanding of the county's resources and to improve participation in organizations throughout the county.

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EDGAR - Marathon County authorities say a woman has died from drowning in a pool in Edgar in central Wisconsin.

Lt. Tim Burkholder of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department says it happened sometime after midnight Monday.

While the investigation is ongoing, he says the drowning appears to be accidental.

The department is withholding the victim's name and other details for now.

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RHINELANDER -  A Northwoods veterans group wants people to remember those who died serving our country. 

The Oneida County Veterans Council held a Memorial Day ceremony in Rhinelander on Monday.

The Rhinelander High School band and choir performed at the ceremony.

Mayor Dick Johns was the speaker. 

Event organizers hope people take time on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

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WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin DNR wants to know if it has the right plans for beavers in the state. The final public feedback period is open for the new beaver management plan.

The document will guide decisions on beavers through 2025. The final draft touches on topics like population, habitat, and damage management. The current draft recommends keeping beaver populations mostly stable in the state.

Public input for the final beaver management plan is open through June 22. The DNR will also host a public meeting on June 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the DNR Service Center in Rhinelander to take comments.

You can read the final draft of the plan by clicking the link below. Another link shows opportunities for feedback.

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