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


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

BAYFIELD - Authorities in northern Wisconsin say a teenage girl has died in an all-terrain vehicle rollover.

The Bayfield County sheriff's office says the 14-year-old left her home in the Town of Barnes on the ATV Tuesday. She was reported missing around 10 p.m.

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MERRILL - When you need to feed three children on a limited budget, Stanges Park becomes something of a summer oasis for Claire Barker.

"Two to three times a week we're here," Barker said.

The Merrill mother brought her kids to the daily free lunch program at the park Wednesday morning. For Barker, the healthy meals make a big difference in her life.

"The generosity, the park, we go to the library, so it's all in a convenient area," Barker said. "And, it's all healthy food."

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MADISON - A Sun Prairie man accused of decapitating his mother with a sword last year has been committed to a state mental hospital.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed with a psychiatrist's report Wednesday that 41-year-old Matthew Skalitzky was mentally ill at the time of the killing.

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- You might enjoy getting on the water during this holiday weekend, but watch out for foreign plants and animals hitching a ride on your boat. Aquatic invasive species can attach to people's boats and trailers as they're entering or leaving the water.

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PLUM LAKE - St. Germain ATV riders will need to find a new route that avoids Plum Lake.

That's because the Plum Lake Town Board voted against opening up parts of two roads: Kurtzweil Road and Birch Spring Road. Both are on the border of Sayner and St. Germain and are shared between the two towns.

A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

Maines said most of the people in Plum Lake don't want ATVs on their town roads. The board found this out from a survey of residents and taxpayers they sent out in 2015, where he said about two-thirds of non-resident property owners and about two-thirds of Plum Lake resident voters voted against allowing ATVs on town roads.

"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

About 6 towns in the eastern part of Vilas County allow ATVs on town roads, but the towns in the western part of the county don't allow them on town roads.

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WAUSAU - Police officers in Wausau will now wear body cameras, according to a department release Wednesday.

The department also released video from one of the department's first traffic stops using the body camera on its Facebook page.

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RHINELANDER - Celebrating our nation's birthday with family and friends can be a great time. But it's good to keep safety in mind this weekend too.

The Rhinelander Fire Department responds to a few injuries every year from fireworks. That's far better than the national average of more than 10,000 fireworks-related injuries. But the most common injury actually comes from a firework many parents consider safe.

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