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Northwoods Spotlight - Rhinelander Swim Club Dec 18Submitted: 12/18/2013
Story By Marisa Silvas

Northwoods Spotlight - Rhinelander Swim Club Dec 18
RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Swim Club is having one of their best years ever. They're also celebrating a special anniversary.

These kids love the water.

13-year old Taylor Macak says, "I just want to do my best."

The Rhinelander Swim Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year... and with more than 100 swimmers, it's not showing any signs of aging.

Assistant coach Ken Heck explains, "Just to see the faces and their smiles. Watch them learn, watch them get faster and compete is a lot of fun."


Maria Kipper (13 Years Old) "I'm actually surprised we've been doing it this long," 13-year old Maria Kipper adds. "there's so many kids we've been doing it this long. It's awesome."

The young swimmers range from 5 to 17 years old and practice 3 nights a week to prepare for meets.

"I'm hoping for a ribbon or two," 9-year old Liana Teter proclaims. "But mostly I'm just hoping to come home happy."

The swim club wasn't always this popular. In fact, back in 2007, they didn't know if they'd make it to their 50th. But then along came the Olympics, and someone named Michael Phelps.

"Any time there's a successful Olympics, the year following that you should see some growth in your programs," Craig Catlin - the swim club's vice president explains. "We saw significant growth."

Being in the pool isn't the only reason these kids enjoy the club.

And if the numbers are any indication, the Rhinelander Swim Club will be making a splash for quite some time.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

HAZELHURST - A local Northwoods business works together to make better products than it did when it first began in 1925. 

Tomahawk Live Trap has grown and even relocated to Hazelhurst since then.

Greg Smith and his wife Jenny bought Tomahawk Live Trap about seven years ago.

And the company has been growing ever since.

Sales have more than doubled since Greg and Jenny took over.  But it's not just the sales that have grown.

"When we first came in here, the culture, I'm going to say was toxic," said Greg Smith.

But it's not toxic anymore. Tomahawk Live Trap has worked with UW-Stout and its Manufacturing Outreach Center to form a better team.

"You treat people like people, you empower people so they can do their jobs and you listen to them," said Smith.

Operations Coordinator, Chris Powers was there when the Smith's took over and has noticed the big improvement with the environment.

"We work together as a team to put out the best product we can, as fast as we can," said Powers.

The program uses a "lean" philosophy which helps trim unnecessary portions of a work area.

"Only using and having what you need in an area versus a bunch of clutter and stuff in an area," said Powers.

The biggest customers for Tomahawk Live Trap are mainly animal control companies. They sell to not only American companies, but also around the world.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - A 50-year-old Lac Du Flambeau man faces felony charges for sexual assault. 

Deputies found out about the allegations against the man in May. 

To protect the victims' identities, we are not releasing his name at this time.

The assaults took place in the Town of Birch in Lincoln County in the summer or 2016 and the spring of 2017. 

The two victims were teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18. 

The suspect appeared in Lincoln County Court today where he was formally charged with three felony counts. 

The suspect posted a $5,000 cash bond and has been released from jail.

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EAGLE RIVER - A $14,000 donation will help bring kids from urban areas to the Northwoods.

Baden-Powell Northwoods Experience donated the money earlier this month.

The Milwaukee-based group tried to use that money to save a Laona Boy Scout camp last year, but it wasn't able to raise enough money fast enough. 

So, the group decided to donate the left over funds to Trees for Tomorrow. 

Executive Director Robin Ginner said the two groups missions line up well. 

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HARSHAW - More than 50 people from Vilas, Forest, and Oneida counties came together Wednesday to learn leadership skills. 

Northwoods United Way hosted the second annual Leaderfest at Rondele Ranch in Harshaw. 

Executive Director Nancy Sattler was excited to present this opportunity to people in the area. 

"We want to offer the opportunity for enrichment, learning, and growth and the opportunity also to network with other people from the Northwoods and to learn from them and maybe they can help them in the future," said Sattler. 

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EAGLE RIVER - Wednesday's weather made it the perfect day for a group of people to grab their paddles and explore some Northwoods waters.

The Northwoods Land Trust invited the community on a tour of private and protected waters.

People met up to paddle down Deerskin River in Eagle River.

Executive Director of the Northwoods Land Trust Bryan Pierce said Deerskin River is special because it's a trout stream and known for its resources.

"Our intent is to try and keep it that high quality keep the water quality protected and also provide for both fish and wildlife habitat," said Pierce. 

Wednesday was also a celebration.

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RHINELANDER - Kids all over Wisconsin will head back to school soon.

However, workers at a Rhinelander bus service say knowing bus safety skills could safe your child's life.

"The song Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round inspired me so much. That's why I became a bus driver," said Jake Kriesel a Rhinelander bus driver who never puts a break on fun.

But Kriesel says bus safety is no laughing matter.
"Bus drivers only have one thing in mind and that is your safety," said Kriesel.

Kriesel drives for Bowen's Bus Service, and Thursday he will be a part of a School Bus Safety Open House.

"Making sure there're safe. That's really our number one job," said Kriesel.

The open house will have three bus emergency scenarios for kids to learn how to evacuate safely.

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EAGLE RIVER - Most of us go out on the boat for a day of fun and relaxation. But to Gary and Shele Fawcett, a trip out on the water means a chance to teach history.

"The Eagle River Chain of Lakes alone is about 350-400 miles of water," said Shele.

"We talk about Eagle River and the things that used to happen up here, but nobody knows the stuff that's going on on the lakes," said Gary.

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