ANTIGO - Last week a 52-year-old Dallas woman died after falling from one of the country's tallest roller coasters at Six Flags. Carnivals and fairs happen without incident every day throughout the summer across the country. But we often only hear about the rides when something tragic happens.
The Langlade County Fair is this weekend. The company that owns the rides at the fair is ANP Enterprise. The family owned business has been traveling to county fairs throughout Wisconsin for more than 40 years. So they're MORE than familiar with safety standards in the fair ride industry.
In addition to running the company, two of the brothers are also certified ride safety inspectors. They say keeping the rides safe is the REAL full time job when it comes to running this business. And it's not just something they worry about when setting up at a new location, it's every day.
"It's out on a midway and we start our visuals and walk-arounds and if there is something that is reported to us by the operator from the previous day, we take that as a priority and take a look at that stuff. It's every ride here. It's 21 rides that we have here and we go through everything," says David Kedrowicz, ANP Enterprise Owner.
The woman who died in Texas was said to have been too big for the roller coaster she was on. Enforcing those size limits can be a delicate task, but it's one Kedrowicz says they don't take lightly.
"We'd be setting ourselves up for some court dates down the road so we pleasantly tell them 'Look, we cannot ride you' and they either understand or they ride something else that they're appropriate sized for," said Kedrowicz.
The Kedrowicz brothers spend much of the off-season in safety seminars to keep up with the latest safety standards in the industryÖ and the state of Wisconsin does random inspections of all fair ride companies twice a year.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - On a busy stretch of Highway 47 near Lac du Flambeau -- where hundreds of wheels spin at 55 miles-per-hour each day -- just one tire drags at a slower pace, pulled by one man: the Tire Man.
"I guess I'm the only one nutty enough to do it, I suppose," Frank Tarantino said with a laugh.
Tarantino lives in Mercer, but trains for marathons in Lac du Flambeau. ¬†He started pulling a tire on a chain a few years ago after reading about it in a fitness magazine. ¬†People often stop to take his picture.
"Little by little you run a little further, a little further," Tarantino said.
SAYNER - A needle and thread means more to Pat Andersen than just sewing.
"I started quilting when I was 19 so it's been a passion of mine for a long time," said Pat.
Quilting gives her a community of ladies in the Northwoods.
"Sayner needs something like this, it needs something for the women to do," said Pat.
After moving to Sayner with her husband Don last spring, the two decided to buy the building that now houses Plum Lake Quilts. Pat needed somewhere to put her long arm machine and that eventually turned into a little retail business.
"I mean little and then it grew a little bit and it grew a little bit more," said Don Andersen.
RHINELANDER - Cancer survivors and supporters gathered at Ministry St. Mary's Hospital for the 10th annual Celebration of Life Thursday. The event honors those battling cancer or survivors of cancer and shows people what kinds of services the James Beck Cancer Center offers.
The center's namesake lost his life to cancer, but now others will be able to benefit from his gift to the hospital.
"With his vision and his dollars we were able to put this cancer center here in Rhinelander so patients don't have to travel to larger cities," said Director of Cancer Services Kimberly Hetland.
This year's speaker was Mike Regole, a survivor of tonsil cancer. He spoke about his experience at the center, how family and support affected his journey, and how he ran a business while having cancer.
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