Northwoods Spotlight - Holiday memories Dec 25Submitted: 12/25/2013
Story By Joe Dufek

- Virtually no sports happening in the Northwoods until at least Thursday.

Many athletes including the Packers enjoyed Christmas with family and friends. Several shared some of their favorites holiday memories and traditions.

"I have two favorite Christmas presents," Joe Piskula - a member of the Nashville Predators organization and an Antigo native explains. "One was a snowmobile. The other was when we got a chocolate lab with my siblings. That was probably the best."

Elcho girls basketball star Makayla Raith was seven years old when she received her favorite gift.

"It was an American Girl doll. It had blonde hair, kinda looked like me at the time. Her name was Kaylee."

Packers wide receiver James Jones' favorite tradition is "on Christmas Eve, we all get to open one present."

Nicholas Cirese of the Phelps boys basketball team enjoys, "watching "Home Alone" alot. That movie is pretty funny. Just the two guys trying to chase the kid - I think they're the two funniest characters."

For some folks, it's a chance to get together with family who is several miles away.

Lakeland boys swimming star Nick Garcia's family is making a trip.

"We like to go down to Milwaukee and visit with my brother. We don't get to see him as much as I like."

"My family lives far away," adds Jackie Samuelson of the Phelps girls basketball team. "So my favorite thing is going to see them. It's so happy and fun. I just love it."

Packers fullback John Kuhn is looking forward to, "probably getting to open one gift on Christmas Eve, I think that's neat."

Justin Berg is a pitcher with the Colorado Rockies organization and an Antigo native.

"Being a baseball player, as crazy as it sounds, my favorite gift was a snowmobile. Either that or when my dad built a hockey rink in the back yard. My family all loves to play hockey too. That and a snowmobile."

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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MERRILL - Firefighters need to be prepared to rescue people from more than just fires.

People can get trapped in tree stands, water, or a tight spot. 

Local fire departments respond to those emergencies.

Merrill's first Citizen's Fire Academy learned about these specialized rescues Thursday night.

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ACROSS WISCONSIN - Abbotsford 62, Thorp 6

Algoma 24, Sturgeon Bay 8

Almond-Bancroft 61, Tigerton/Marion 6

Amherst 56, Manawa 6

Antigo 42, Lakeland 28

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