Are you a member of this prestigious angler's club?Submitted: 07/17/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

WOODRUFF - Nobody knows exactly when or by whom a prestigious anglers club was founded here in the Northwoods. But you can bet you know someone in it.

"Probably, I'm going to guess seven or eight times," says Kurt Justice.

You could call the fishing guide a platinum member of an exclusive Northwoods angler's club. But a trophy Musky won't get you a membership. To join this club you have to catch.... yourself, or other people.

"Oh, we at least see three or four a day," says Carrie Kehoe, a Howard Young emergency room Nurse.

Ministry Howard Young Medical Center and Eagle River Memorial Hospital treated so many patients with fish hooks stuck in them, they started the People Catcher's Club.

"So this is our People Catchers Club card that everybody gets. They get a name, and their number and what year it occurred. And here is the Ministry Healthcare bobber," says Kehoe.

Last season alone 105 people joined the club. Adults are members... kids are members... dogs are even members. Treating all those members can take some unorthodox methods.

"A lot of times we'll use a wire cutter to actually cut the hook away from the lure. And then we've got good ole' vice grips," says Dr. Roderick Brodhead, Ministry EMS Medical Director.

While these injuries can be serious, most of them aren't. And the stories behind them are the stuff that legends are made of.

"It was a husband and wife team and they were up here just visiting. She caught the hook right in the center of his head. And as they were trying to get it out she sat on one and got it hooked onto her buttocks," says Kehoe.

"Augie being a puppy was very curious and came over to see what I was doing as I was trying to pick the hooks out. He stuck his nose down, yanked back and got one of the hooks right through his nose. As he did so one of the hooks went right through my thumb. So he started bawling, pulling me around the house," says Justice.

Justice hears all kinds of stories at his sport shop. It's common for people to renew their membership; some even manage to join twice in one day! Justice wasn't the only person to tell this story.

"We always ask people if they want to hang their lure on the wall of fame or if they want to take the lure. In this case the gentleman said it was his favorite lure and he was taking it along. He walked out of the ER and threw the lure on the seat of his truck and then climbed in, and came back five minutes later with it in his buttock," says Dr. Brodhead.

The People Catchers Club helps make people, especially kids, a lot happier leaving the ER than they were coming in.

"They're basically scared. And so we try to make it a little better experience for them so that they won't be scared the next time it happens," says Dr. Brodhead.

And since the Northwoods is a fisherman's playground, the odds are good there will be a next time.

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WOOD COUNTY - We now know the names of the people involved in a Wood County Crash that killed two people Tuesday afternoon.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department says the cars crashed head-on along Highway 80 in the Town of Dexter around 3:30.

71-year-old Barbara Baldwin of New Lisbon was driving one of the cars, and died in the crash.

Her passenger, 74 year old Louise Hemenway of New Lisbon, also died.

Another passenger in the car, 72-year-old Dona Sharp, was hurt....as was the driver of the second car, 30-year-old Greg Kopelke of Wisconsin Rapids.

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TOMAH - The Tomah VA Medical Center will end a lease agreement for a shelter for homeless veterans.

The Veterans Assistance Foundation has operated the shelter for nearly 20 years.

Tomah VA spokesman Matthew Gowan says there have been more than 30 incidents involving shelter residents recently.

They include a suicide attempt, a drug overdose and criminal violations.

The center has given the foundation notice that it will end the lease in January.

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THREE LAKES - Baseball fans in Three Lakes watched the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the World Series on Tuesday night.

A few of those fans might live on Cy Williams Road, or down the street from Cy Williams Park. As they watched, they may have drawn the connection between that Northwoods man, Cy Williams, and the game they were watching on the field.

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EAGLE RIVER - The Northwoods didn't get a lot of bitter cold or snow early last winter.  That forced Vilas County to keep its snowmobile trails closed much later than it hoped.

But the county set its target opening date for this year, with hopes we see a very different winter.

The county set a projected date to open trails of December 12.  That allows deer hunters to get through their season without worrying about snowmobiles in the woods.

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CRANDON - Kids learn math and English in school, but this evening, the Crandon school district taught their students how to stay drug free. All year long, the school has been promoting values such as respect and forgiveness and tonight was no different.

The Red Ribbon Walk started at the courthouse and then went to Crandon High School. Along the way, walkers saw signs with facts about living a drug free life. No matter how young the students were, they still heard the message loud and clear.

"It's really good for the youth because they can see not to do drugs. To have this event, it should be about a fun experience and it's really good for kids," said 5th grader Bryce Marshall.

Even with the cold temps and rainy weather, there was still a great turnout. After the walk, there was a presentation by motivational speaker Mike McGowan to really push the message of staying drug free.

"I think it's important that we bring forward all the reasons why drugs are bad for kids. They know drugs are bad but how does it affect their lives?" said Crandon parent and teacher Agnes Keller.

The Red Ribbon walk was just one of many events that the school will have over the year to show students how to live out good, positive values.

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MERRILL - A former Merrill High School choir teacher will go to jail after a judge found him guilty of sexual assault last month. 

26-year-old Chase Tonar will spend three years on probation and 15 years on a sex offender registry. As a part of that probation, Tonar will serve four months in jail.

Tonar had sex with a student both while he was a teacher at Merrill High School and after he resigned last May.

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MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.

The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.

When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.

"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.

Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.

Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.

"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.

The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.

Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.

Call (715) 536-1207 for more information.

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