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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

GREEN BAY - Going to a game at Lambeau Field might feel a little more like a trip to the airport.

Some football fans heading into Lambeau Field Saturday will pass through newly installed metal detectors.

Ticket holders using the Shopko gate will be the first to use the walk-through metal detectors.

The NFL has mandated their use at all stadium gates by 2016.

The Packers will install the detectors at all remaining gates next season.

They're a little different than the screening machines at airports.

Fans won't have to remove jackets, belts, keys, wallets or watches.

They will be asked to temporarily place cell phones, cameras, tablets and other larger metal objects in a tray near the machine.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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RHINELANDER - We expect trees on our property to suffer when it gets very dry, but for tree health, drought severity may not be as important as another factor. Researchers for the U.S. Forest Service have been studying the impacts of drought on trees across the Midwest, including the Northwoods. One ecologist at the Northern Research Station in Rhinelander found surprising results.

"It was the length of drought that was more important than determining the severity," explained Northern Research Station Ecologist Dr. Eric Gustafson. "Trees have the ability to survive droughts by drawing on their energy reserves, and when the drought is long, those energy reserves get depleted."

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EAGLE RIVER - You may know the derby track in Eagle River for its snowmobiling championships every winter. This weekend it welcomes some different outdoor vehicles.

On Friday, the AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack will host its first World Championship UTV & ATV Derby.

Derbytrack workers said it took about 300 truck loads of dirt and sand to get this track ready.

The weekend will be a lot like the snowmobile derby with qualifiers, final rounds and a championship race.

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MERRILL - A new first aid kit will help Merrill's K-9 unit stay safe.

It was a donation, and all they needed to do was post a picture on Facebook.

The kit was donated through the We Ride to Provide organization.

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ROANOKE, VA - A former colleague killed a reporter and photographer on live television in Virginia Wednesday. 

Reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were killed.

Police say a former reporter Vester Flanagan killed them.

Vicki Gardner, the woman being interviewed was hurt.

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WAUSAU - Prosecutors want to prove a Stevens Point man put many people in danger by allegedly taking part in a shootout last month.

Brian Fisher, 35, was in court Thursday. He faces multiple felony counts of recklessly endangering safety and one count of having a gun as a convicted felon.

Police say Fisher shot his gun at 36-year-old Morgan Sykes on July 8th at It's Our Clubhouse bar. They say they used video from a surveillance camera to identify Fisher in the shooting.

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MINOCQUA - Too many times, Minocqua-area fishing guide Greg Bohn has heard the stories of tragedy.

A parent on Wisconsin waters jumps in to try to rescue their child, who is in the water without a life jacket. But the parent, also not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD), drowns, even if the child survives.

It happened in July on Shawano Lake in Shawano County, and on Minocqua Lake a few years ago.

"Accidents can happen in seconds, and there's total chaos and emergency," Bohn says while touring Minocqua Lake on his fishing boat.

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