Northwoods Spotlight - Snowmobile racing preview Jan 8Submitted: 01/08/2014
Story By Joe Dufek

EAGLE RIVER - The familiar roar of snowmobiles racing on the track returns this weekend. It's the annual Vintage snowmobile races at Eagle River Derby Track.

Steve Decker is the Chief Operations Officer at the track.

"The vintage weekend has grown," Steve explains. "Because guy grewe up watching the races. Now they're living their dream being out on the track."

The below normal temperatures this winter have actually made preparations better at the track. At last check, the ice depth on the track is 22 inches.

"We've got to have at least 15 inches of ice to make it through two weekends," Richard Decker - the track's Marketing Director adds. "Right now the weather looks great for vintage weekend. I think we'll have good racing."

Of course the World Championship Snowmobile Derby is next week. While the drivers race the older sleds this weekend, the event is a chance to also make sure things are top-notch for Derby weekend.

Richard is happy to have the weekends back to back.

"To open this place up - especially as cold as it has been - it takes the rough edges off for us," Richard explains. "Every year we get new volunteers. It gives them a break in time. Then when it is derby time - it helps out. It's a plus, plus for us."

Joe: Approximately 1,000 racers are expected to take part this weekend.

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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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