Catholic church transforms into fully equipped gym in PhillipsSubmitted: 09/06/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

PHILLIPS - The sounds of hymns and choirs don't usually mix with sounds of dumbbells and workout music.

But in Phillips, the connection is closer than you might think.

We found out more on a visit to Price County.

For a century, this was a Catholic church in Phillips.

Starting this year, a fully equipped gym.

This is unconventional new role for this Catholic church.

It's been around since the turn of the century.

But the look has changed since fitness man Brian Duba took over.

"The pews were in place when I bought it. The altar was still up there. The cross was up there. The organ was up there. It was your Catholic church," Brian says.

Now, he runs something truly unique.

"There's never been one here before. There's never been a fitness facility in Price County, ever," he says.

The old church and a location in Park Falls form Triple B Health and Fitness.

Brian's critics said it couldn't be done.

They said people in northern Wisconsin didn't care about physical fitness and a gym would fail.

"We want to turn that around. We want to get people north of Highway 8 to reap the same rewards that people elsewhere that have figured it out are enjoying," he says.

But - a gym in a church?

"We were looking for a big, open space. A big, vaulted ceiling like this works out great for a fitness center," says Brian.

In the basement, renovations uncovered the original stone walls.

"It had that rough, rugged look for the hardcore lifters," Brian says.

But it's not just hardcore athletes Brian looks to attract.

Brian hopes the every member of people's families come to get fit and stay fit.

That's in part because Triple B is a family business itself.

"Brandon, Brianna, Bridgette. My son's name is Brandon, my daughter here is Brianna, and that's Bridgette back there. Triple B."

You might think it's a crazy idea, a gym in a church.

But Triple B thinks it's just a unique way of changing fitness in northern Wisconsin.

"We all want to turn this into something really big, and it should be," Brian says.

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board always knew it would need to replace Supervisor Bryan Jennings eventually.  But the board didn't think it happen so soon.

Jennings died September 8, two days after he was struck by lightning while walking his dog.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim says the town is now accepting letters of interest from anyone wanting to fill Jennings' seat.

Hartzheim wanted to wait until January to start looking, but the board was having trouble getting enough members for official town votes.  Hartzheim says he hoped to get through budget season and the holidays, but couldn't wait any longer.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many of us already put out the scary decorations and pumpkins for some Halloween spirit.

If you're looking to take it up a notch, dress like a zombie and grab your running shoes this Saturday.

The 2016 Zombie 5K Fun Run starts at 5 p.m. at Three Eagle Trail in Eagle River.

Zombie Fun Run is still in great need of runners.

Registration is $30 for a t-shirt and a spot as either a runner or a zombie.

Run times don't matter for this race; it is just a race for the fun.

Runners will be given flags attached to a belt to wear throughout the race.

Zombies will then hide on the trail and run after the runners to steal their flags.

Runners with flags left at the end of the race are the winners.

"It's something different. Nothing you know that is normal," said Hallow Fest co-chair Susie Erikson.

You must be over 13-years-old to participate.

Feel free to come in full costume and make-up for the race.

Registration begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday after Hallow Fest.

You can register up until 15 minutes before the race starts on Saturday.

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RHINELANDER - With a little over two weeks before the presidential election, local officials continue to campaign for their pick for President of the United States.

Wisconsin's former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton visited Rhinelander Saturday to show her support for Hillary Clinton.

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 Republican politicians in Wisconsin still have something to add to this election.  

On Sunday Governor Scott Walker, Senator Ron Johnson and Representative Sean Duffy all stopped by the Wisconsin GOP office. 

They came together to encourage voters to get out and vote early. 

About 30 people came out to hear what the politicians had to say.

"We need to convince people who maybe we don't know where their opinions are in terms of election," said Governor Walker.

 "But we work with them, we live next to them, we go to church with them those are the people we need to reach out [to]."

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RHINELANDER - We all have Tylenol and other medicines in our cabinets at home, but what do you do with them when they expire?

Saturday, local officials helped people properly dispose of those unwanted medicines as part of Wisconsin's Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

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MINOCQUA - Every year thousands of kids go hungry. 

On Saturday nearly 600 volunteers from the Northwoods decided to help feed some of those children. 

The "Food for Kidz" organization, invited people to Lakeland Union High School, to help package non- perishable goods.

 The packages will be donated worldwide and to nearby food pantries.

Within the past eight years volunteers have packaged one million meals.

 Last year was the first year the organization started donating to local food pantries. 

This year volunteers will give 30,000 meals to the Northwoods community.

"It's just the recurring exuberance of the people that come in and do the packing we have many, repeat people that come year after year," said "Food for Kidz" Co-chairman John Breiten. 

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Nearby Fire Departments often rely on each other when they need extra man power. 

On Saturday firefighters from around the Northwoods came together as one. 
"It's vital to have that community bond between the fire departments," said Arbor Vitae Fire and Rescue Chief Mike VanMeter.

The bond between local departments led to a rare training opportunity. 

"Being able to share an opportunity like this is vital," said Boulder Junction Fire Department Chief Matthew Reuss. 

A donated house in Boulder Junction was lit on fire so that the fire departments could practice structure training.  

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