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Merrill's Sladek signs with Northern IllinoisSubmitted: 11/13/2013
Story By Joe Dufek

Merrill's Sladek signs with Northern Illinois
MERRILL - Wednesday was the first day of signing national letters of intent for several sports.

It was a big moment in the lives of a couple of Northwoods athletes.

Especially for Merrill senior Renee Sladek.

A year ago she suffered an ACL tear in her left knee during basketball season. She also cracked her knee cap and pulled a couple of tendons.

She put in a lot of hard work both in the weight room and the gym. She even played volleyball this year.


On Wednesday, she signed to play Division One college hoops at Northern Illinois. She will play for Kathi Bennett - the daughter of Wisconsin legend Dick Bennett.

Others signings include, Renee's teammate, Dawn Leland signed to play for Division Two MN-Crookston.

And in baseball, Tomahawk's Kevin Bolder is heading to St. Cloud State - another Division 2 program from Minnesota.

Congratulations to all of the area athletes who signed letters of intent.


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MILWAUKEE - Law enforcement officers are looking for 25-year-old inmate Tasir Bhatti who escaped from the Marshall Sherrer Correctional Center in Milwaukee. 

Bhatti was serving a five-year sentence for drug charges. The Department of Corrections reported the inmate's escape to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and the Milwaukee Police Department.

Bhatti is 5'9, 179 lbs., and has brown hair and eyes. Anyone with information regarding Bhatti's location should immediately contact law enforcement. 

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RHINELANDER - Dozens of people geared up for golf with top of the line, professional golfing equipment at Northwood Golf Club in Rhinelander Saturday.

The annual demo day let people try out the best clubs, grips and hedges on the market.

General Manager Kyle Christian says it's a great way to bring tourists to Rhinelander.

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RHINELANDER - Some people bought a brat Saturday in support of a Northwoods organization. Wild Instincts held a brat sale fundraiser outside of Trig's in Rhinelander.

Volunteers sold brats, hot dogs, and even veggie dogs for the sale. 

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TOWN OF RINGLE - Emergency responders got a report of a garage fire around 12:43 a.m. Saturday morning in the Town of Ringle according to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office.

When firefighters arrived to the 11000 block of Oasis Drive, the unattached garage was engulfed in flames. The sheriff's office reports the garage, which was used as a workshop, is a total loss. 

Ringle Fire, along with Wausau Fire, Easton Fire, and SAFER Fire, were able to extinguish the fire before the home became totally involved. But the side of the home does have significant damage.

The fire department and sheriff's office are investigating the cause of the fire. 



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CRANDON - Crandon High School honored dozens of students on Thursday as part of its Student of the Year Awards.

For the eighth year, teachers at the school were asked to select a student who excelled in their class.

This year's winners include:

Math: Claudia Krueger, Drew Boney, Jacob Wilson, Jordan Kalata, Hallie Henrie, Lindsay Littleton, Kilie Kramer

Social Studies: Allyson Stepper, Jonathon Strzyz, Jordan Brooks, Elizabeth Conway, Devon Evans, Erika Kern, Mc Kenna Jensen, Maddi Stroik, Lindsay Littleton

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TOMAHAWK - Many race car and dirt track drivers will rev up their engines at the Tomahawk Speedway Saturday, which is when the dirt season starts.

The dirt track season starts Saturday.

"It's awesome, the adrenaline rush is great," said race car driver Shauna Cottrell when she was doing some practice runs at the speedway.

"I'm not going to lie; it can be scary at times. But it's the thrill of a life time," said Cottrell.

After doing a few practice runs around the track last week, Cottrell is ready for the dirt racing season to kick off Sunday at the Tomahawk Speedway.

"It feels great to know that I can get out and compete with the guys," said Cottrell.

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TOMAHAWK - Two months ago, Governor Scott Walker signed a $100 million school safety plan into law. The bill includes grants specifically for security upgrades in schools. 

The Tomahawk School District plans to apply for a grant and hopes to use feedback from the community to come up with a plan. The school has to submit the grant by June 8. 

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"We thought we could get more information from our communities," said Superintendent Terry Reynolds. 

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