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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

MERRILL - Lincoln County Sheriff Jeff Jaeger will retire.

Jaeger announced Thursday morning he will not run for re-election, and will step down at the end of this year.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Oneida County loggers saw a spike in sales this past year.

Local loggers say that record came as a surprise.

Enterprise Forest Products owner Dennis Schoeneck has been logging for more than 40 years.

"I've been through a lot of ups and downs," said Schoeneck.

One of those downs happened to be last year.
"It rained. It rained so much. [There was] so much rain we couldn't get a break," said Schoeneck.

But to Dennis's surprise, Oneida County broke a two-year-old timber sales record in 2017.

"We're just trying to do the best we can," said Schoeneck.

Oneida County Forestry Director John Bilogan says the record was half a million dollars more than their average annual sales.

"We brought in $1,925,000 worth of timber revenue," said Bilogan.

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PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office released the names of two snowmobilers killed in a crash over the weekend.

Garrett Peterson, 37, of Wausau and Adam Wolf, 33, of Spencer died when their snowmobile apparently crashed into the shoreline.  Their bodies were found on the southern end of Long Lake in the township of Elk.

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WISCONSIN - On Tuesday, the State Assembly passed legislation that aims to change how violent sex offenders are placed on supervised release in the state.

Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) cosponsored the bill and says the changes are meant to help protect rural areas of the state.

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VILAS COUNTY - All but 11 counties in Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for contributing to the opioid crisis.

The lawsuit says certain companies use "deceptive marking" and have "created a false perception of the safety of opioids."

Vilas County is one of the 11 that hasn't joined yet. 

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MERRILL - Pastor James Weiland of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church remains in critical condition after a crash with a semi-truck on Friday afternoon, near Rhinelander.

After the crash, medics took Pastor Weiland in an ambulance and later flew him to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, where he is now.

The Pastor's truck and the semi crashed a few miles west of Rhinelander on Highway 8. The semi-truck driver wasn't injured.

Weiland has lead the congregation at Christ Evangelical for more than 20 years and is a large part of the entire Northwoods community. 

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RHINELANDER - Three years ago Petco bought Doctors Foster and Smith in Rhinelander with the intention of keeping all local jobs in place. But Tuesday, the company announced it would lay off 55 people. 

Those employees worked in marketing, merchandising, and ecommerce support. Petco issued a statement saying the positions will go to the National Support Center in San Diego. 

Now, dozens of people at one of Rhinelander's largest employers are out of a job.

Petco purchased Doctors Foster and Smith back in February of 2015. 

Petco will still employ more than 450 people in Rhinelander in the pharmacy, customer care, and Live Aquaria businesses as well as the distribution center and retail store. 

Petco said the change came because they want to expand "key operational areas" in Rhinelander.
Laid off employees found out Tuesday. 

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