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NEWS STORIES

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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ANTIGO - Dealing with allergic reactions to bee stings can be one of the biggest health threats to students.

"If we were seeing a reaction, for example a tingling of the mouth, swelling of the throat, a visual that a student might give us if they are unable to breath at that time, we would immediately administer an EpiPen," Director of Pupil Services Unified School District of Antigo Karen Baker.

Teachers watch carefully for possible allergic reactions, especially at recess and on field trips.

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RHINELANDER - Last year, a valve malfunction in eastern Wisconsin sent natural gas leaking into the air. A similar situation in the Northwoods could cut off gas supply to a whole city and be dangerous to people in the nearby area.

Wisconsin Public Service wants to be ready in case something like that happens. A natural gas station near the intersection of Highways 8 and 47 provides natural gas to most of Rhinelander. Workers rushed there on Monday, simulating their response to a leak.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many people enjoy freshly roasted coffee. But, the process to roast those coffee beans can be a science.

"We start with green coffee. It comes in 130 to 155 pound sacks of coffee," said owner of Eagle River Roasters Dan Beihoff.

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MILWAUKEE - Police have arrested four protesters who sat in the middle of a downtown Milwaukee intersection during a demonstration calling for more diversity at Marquette University.

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RHINELANDER - Fields of an invasive plant called phragmites stand all along Wisconsin's Lake Michigan shore. Invasive species workers hope most of the plants stay away from the Northwoods.

Workers chopped down a stand of phragmites on Monday. It stood on Highway 8 just west of Rhinelander. It had been chemically treated in the fall. Hopefully, that will help control the spread of the species.

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MERRILL - The Community Warming Center in Merrill finished up its first winter season a few weeks ago. The center provides a place to stay for people in need from November through April.

The guest's ages ranged from 22 to 45 years old. The center is run through the Merrill United Way. The Warming Center's director said its first year went much better than expected.

"It's kind of like building the field of dreams and not knowing if anyone will come to play, or to stay in our case," said Merrill United Way Executive Director Dee Olsen. "But what ended up happening was the community was responsive and we ended up with 11 guests throughout the season with 90 user nights."

The center is already preparing for the next season. They have new blankets and pillows ready for their next year.

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Local kids help protect batsSubmitted: 04/27/2015

RHINELANDER - Seventh graders in Rhinelander will help protect bats this summer. That's thanks to help from the U.S. Forest Service.

Kids in Rhinelander Monday learned about endangered bats across Wisconsin on Monday. A bat expert with Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest showed the importance of keeping bats healthy. The students helped local scientists by building new homes for the bats.

"Ms. Swaney showed us a presentation about the bats with a speaker and now we're building them," said 7th grader Jackie Wells.

"They have predators and it will kind of keep them safe in their little bat homes," said 7th Grader Connor Lund.

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