EAGLE RIVER - The Winter Olympics in Russia are in February. But this weekend, some of the best high school athletes in the country will be competing. One of them is from the Northwoods.
Northland Pines junior Ryan Ozelie qualified in the 400 meters in the National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships.
The meet is in Greensboro North Carolina.
He'll begin competing on Friday.
Ryan qualified by finishing 5th at South Dakota earlier this month.
However, all is not well with the family. Last weekend, they had a funeral for Ryan's grandfather.
Ryan will be thinking about him when he runs.
Ryan says, "It's been hard, but it also motivates me. To think he would be proud. I learned a lot by competing in the Junior Olympics. To see how I match up against the best from the state and surrounding states."
"Strong willed, it's just the way Ryan is," Ryan's father Robert explains. "He's done it all himself. I just think it's awesome he's gone this far."
Ryan's track coaches suggested trying the Junior Olympics after the high school season was done. Ryan liked the idea of continuing his track and field year and representing Northland Pines as well as Eagle River.
As you can imagine, the cost of traveling can get expensive. The family hopes they can get some sponsorships to help cut the cost. Any additional money would go toward the Northland Pines track and field team. Anyone interested in helping as a sponsor can call Ryan's mother Gina at (715) 892-2683.
HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.
The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."
The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.
Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway. The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.
They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time. About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander factory that makes smoke flavoring caught fire early Monday morning.
Shortly before 6:00 a.m., Rhinelander, Crescent and Newbold Fire Departments responded to a fire at Red Arrow Products on Rhinelander's west side.
An employee says there were about eight workers inside at the time.
No one was injured.
"Flames were coming out of a conveyor area as high as the roof. We made an interior attack and knocked that flame down. Came in from the other side of the partition wall, then made another interior attack and knocked that down," says Chief Terry Williams.
As of 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters were still working to make sure the flames were out.
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