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Spotlight: We go behind the scenes at CrandonSubmitted: 09/04/2013
Story By Joe Dufek


CRANDON - The trucks were roaring. Everyone with one goal. To win. Rhinelander's Mark Steinhardt proved to be too much. He not only won Saturday's 1600 Buggy class, he captured the TORC series championship for the second straight year.

Mark Steinhardt said, "You set your goals at the beginning of the year and obviously the goal just like any football team is to win the championship."

Other local drivers winning over the weekend include Jeff Kincaid of Crandon. He won the Pro 2 wheeldrive final. He dedicated the win to his father who recently passed away.

Scott Taylor of Illinois competed in Crandon for 40 years. Completed 40 years of racing in Crandon. He had his signature truck. Tiger logo on the front, and tiger tail on the back. He wanted to compete in the Northwoods one last time.

Scott Taylor added, "The folks up here are great. Crandon's been my favorite race to come to. This is the Daytona 500 of off road racing."

While the drivers get all of the attention, it's the people working behind the scenes which make this event a success.

Pace car driver Rich Kulal said, "To live 5 miles down the road, from the biggest track and the biggest race in the world is something amazing."

One state study estimated the Championships bring in over $8-million dollars to the local economy. An expected attendance record of more than 20,000 fans watched the action Labor Day weekend.



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SAYNER - Bill Carper lost count of the number of rounds he's played at Plum Lake Golf Club in Sayner long ago.

"It's well over a thousand," he said.

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VILAS COUNTY - Police still need to arrest the person who killed a Phelps woman back in May.

Hikers found the body of 47-year-old Luann Beckman on a trail near Noseeum Lake.

Investigators then ruled it a homicide and sent all the evidence to the state crime lab in Madison.

The Vilas County Sheriff told Newswatch 12 they've interviewed dozens of people and have a list of suspects, but they need DNA evidence for an arrest.

"We're waiting for the science to point us in the right direction," said Vilas County Sheriff Joe Fath. "It would be wonderful to develop a DNA profile to lead us to somebody. Or be able to get a full profile to be able to compare to people in the area that we've gotten leads on."

Sheriff Fath told Newswatch investigators had to submit some evidence to the FBI crime lab. He said the state crime lab found a partial DNA profile and needs to send it to a place with more advanced technology.

"I mean we still get calls from the community, but it's not substantive," Fath said. "You know it's, I heard this, I heard that, I think this, I think you might want to talk to this guy, which we do. But we will continue to follow up on those leads."

He said investigators do think the suspect is local and someone Beckman knew.

If you have any information, you can call the anonymous tip line, 1-800-78-CRIME. 

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TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk ran away from Phillips in the second half of Friday night's contest. It was just 8-6 at the halfway point but the Hatchets overwhelmed the Loggers during the second stanza.

Easton Phalin fired a first half touchdown pass to Jackson List in the first half for the Hatchets. They'd go on to win 40-6.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander High School's class of 2020 will come in strong with a class of nearly 175 students.

The student government held a new student orientation to ease some of the first-day jitters. 

The incoming class includes students from James Williams Middle School and Nativity. 

The orientation was held for freshman as well as transfer students.

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CRANDON - This upcoming school year, Crandon students will learn more about forgiveness and kindness as part of a new initiative.

The Crandon School District called on 2016 Wisconsin Elementary Principal of the Year Melissa Herek to help introduce some of these new practices earlier this week.

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MADISON - A new study suggests that Wisconsin's villages have struggled more with economic recovery than larger cities since the big recession of 2008-09.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the study also found the controversial Act 10 that was passed to limit collective bargaining by public workers saved local governments about $100 million, or 1.5 percent of total spending, in 2012.

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ST. GERMAIN - A brand new rental in St. Germain just opened for business last year. 

"I stumbled across the house and noticed it was vacant," said Roger Bauer.

Three years ago, with grass up to his knees, Roger knew he had a lot of work ahead of him. 

"[It was] a complete gut job, down to the bare studs," said Roger.

Starting work on a house that sat vacant for about 20 years didn't make for the most fun work.

"[It was] was miserable because it was 45 below the first night we started doing demo on the how," said Roger.

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