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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight - Dirt Track Racing July 31Submitted: 07/31/2013
Story By Joe Dufek


EAGLE RIVER - Summer in the Northwoods for many folks means baseball, fishing, and vacation. For several, it can also mean racing.

Several days a week hundreds of area drivers racing for trophies and glory. Eagle River Speedway is one of the tracks in the Northwoods. Rhinelander's Jered Cech grew up watched his dad compete in drag racing. It motivated him to get a car and burn rubber.

"To be honest, I finally was able to get the money to race," Cech explains. "You can pay anywhere from $3500 to $35,000 for a car. This is closer to $20,000. The cost is high, but it's also cost effective."


It's not just the adults. Brian Retzlaff's son Parker also races. Cost can be an issue. But some of the lessons he's learning isn't just about racing.

"He loves it and it keeps in active," says Brian. "It keeps him from doing stuff he shouldn't be doing."

Depending on the class, these cars can go between 60 and 100 miles per hour. Joe Dufek had the chance to try one of these out on the track.

Joe didn't go very fast on the slippery track - averaging around 40 miles per hour.

The sport seems to be very strong in the Northwoods. It's thanks in part to a unique code shared by some of the drivers.

"It's the only sport I know where you might help someone, and they could turn around and beat you," says Bob Kleinschmidt of Arbor Vitae.

"It's a lot safer than people think," Retzlaff adds. "They have everything the NASCAR guys do. Hans devise. Fire suit. It's pretty safe for (his son Parker)."


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 IN OTHER NEWS

ARBOR VITAE - Fire destroyed a home in Arbor Vitae early Thursday morning but everyone inside got out safely.

A 911 call came into the Vilas County Sheriff's Department at 4:00 a.m., reporting a fire at 2075 Soik Road.

People in the home woke up to the smell of smoke.

They told police they found flames coming from one of the walls.

After trying to put out the fire, they got out of the home.

No one was hurt, but the home was a total loss.

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VILAS COUNTY - Whether you're in the Northwoods for Labor Day Weekend or you call it home, you will have to be more careful around mosquitoes.

A dead crow in Vilas County tested positive for West Nile Virus, which is carried by mosquitoes.

According to a Vilas County Public Health Department press release, this is the first bird this summer to test positive for it.

Gina Egan of the Vilas County Health Department said over the years the county has found infected birds.

Egan suggests avoiding mosquitoes and wearing bug spray. She also suggests getting rid of standing water outside your home, such as bird baths or gutters.

Public health nurses stress that most people who do get West Nile do not get sick.

"Twenty percent of the people have it really mild," said Oneida County public health nurse Dawn Klink. "Eighty percent of the people have no symptoms. And less than one percent get really really deathly ill. And those are usually the ones that get tested for it and go in. Other people just think they've got a bug and don't go in."

Nurses want you to call the local health department if you do see a dead bird.

If you do feel you have severe symptoms of West Nile, nurses say to go to your doctor to get tested. 

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RHINELANDER - This year the PotatoFest in Rhinelander will still have the favorites, like the French Fry Frenzy and Polka Sunday.

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Sheriff's deputies arrested Matthew Hornung at the Wausau American Legion Golf Course Thursday morning.  Someone saw the 31-year-old man hiding in the woods near the golf course and called police.  

Hornung disappeared Wednesday.

He was cleared to go to an off-site meeting, but cut off his GPS tracker and vanished.

He is in custody on an Alernative to Revocation for his probation.

Court records show Hornung was convicted of misdemeanor battery in 2012.

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RHINELANDER - Most of northern Wisconsin will be able to hunt bucks this year only during deer hunting season, but in Rhinelander, people might be able to hunt does as part of a city hunt.

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It's held citywide hunts before.

Rhinelander's Police Chief Mike Steffes says it hasn't in a couple of years.

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