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)."
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."
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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