Northwoods Spotlight - Snowmobile racing preview Jan 8
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.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
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