Northwoods Spotlight - Eagle River Derby recap Jan 22Submitted: 01/22/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas

Northwoods Spotlight - Eagle River Derby recap Jan 22
EAGLE RIVER - Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk won the world championship in 2012. He knows Eagle River is the place to be.

"You can't put it into words," Van Strydonk said. "It's its own special feeling."

Amateur sno cross racer Lance Rutledge of Rhinelander adds, "The adrenaline rush you get, especially in that last lap, it all comes into play."

Speed, adversity and triumph, Derby Weekend had it all - including talented local drivers.

"We do it for the fans," Van Strydonk adds. "We're not out here to make money. We're not out here to prove anything to the guys we race against. We're out here for the fans, we like to put on a show and have fun."

It wasn't just the guys tearing it up. 17 year old Sabrina Blanchet from Quebec set out to become the first female to qualify for the final race, but she had a tough weekend.

"It's disappointing but I'm not mad or upset," Blanchet explained. "The team does a lot of work to give me the best machine they can. We'll come back and try to do it all over again."

Another tradition that dates back to the early years is the Derby Queen. Northland Pines hockey star Jessica Roach won that honor for 2014.

"It's definitely awesome being part of the derby," Roach said. "We're a big hockey town but the Derby is what people look forward to in the winter."

The sleds that race out here aren't like anything you'd see on a trail. They're hand built from the ground up and hits speeds up to 100 miles per hour on the track.

In the end, it was Malcolm Chartier winning the granddaddy of them all... and becoming a back to back champ.

"We did our homework, Chartier explained. "We did it last year and tried to replicate what we did last year and did it again."

"To be able to live in a little town like Eagle River and have a business because there's not that much other tourism it's just very gratifying," Eagle River Derby Track Marketing Manager Richard Decker adds. "It's a lot of hard work but believe me, everything is worth it. We love it."

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VILAS AND ONEIDA COUNTIES - Oneida and Vilas Counties will close their snowmobile trails this week. 

Lincoln County will also close its remaining trails. Zones 2 and 3 are already closed. Zone 1 will close at midnight on Monday, March 19.

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MINOCQUA - You can travel all of Latin America and Spain and never leave the dinner table in Minocqua.

Minocqua Brewing Company is hosting a " Tango, Tapas, and Tempranillo" wine dinner Tuesday night.

Getting culturally creative with food can be tough during a slow tourism season.

That's why learning about new cuisine and sharing it with the locals is the chef's favorite part.

"I have used Chimichurri for fifteen years, but to actually research and find out where it came from and the story behind it is kind of cool," says Chef Scott Conley.

Minocqua Brewing hosts a wine dinner and cooking class each month.

For more info, click the link below.

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TOMAHAWK - If you feel stir-crazy this time of year, taking a quick drive Tuesday afternoon might help.

Hometown Chiropractic in Rhinelander and Tomahawk hopes to spread smiles during, "Sunshine on the Streets."

The doctors will wave signs with their favorite positive quotes starting at 12:30 in the afternoon.

Chiropractors normally work to get your physical health in check, but they want to help your mental health, too.

"I want to say we are one of the smaller countries in the world, but we take almost 80 percent of the world's anti-depressants. So we want to make sure we have positivity energy and positive thoughts because it will help us heal better and feel better," says Dr. Grace Zuiker Nash.

"Sunshine on the Streets" also marks the First Official Day of Spring.

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MADISON (AP) - An environmental organization and the U.S. Forest Service are working together to harvest timber in northern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the 2014 Farm Bill has allowed the two groups to enter into a stewardship agreement. The conservancy will hire loggers, sell timber and use the proceeds for projects the Forest Service can't afford to do.

The conservancy plans to use some money to restore Simpson Creek by rerouting the channel and exposing the gravel floor that fish need to spawn. The group also plans to rebuild a handicap accessible boardwalk on the Oconto River and will use funds to restore habitat for the endangered Kirtland's warbler.

Forest Supervisor Paul Strong says the Forest Service's budget has been stretched by efforts to fight wildfire that have become more frequent and more intense.

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WAUSAU - Seven of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates participated in a public forum this weekend. Citizen Action of Wisconsin held the event at the Wausau Labor Temple.

Citizen Action is a statewide grassroots organization. Dozens of people came out to hear the candidates' opinions on many topics including prison reform. health care, and rural broadband.

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TOMAHAWK - A popular Tomahawk event welcomed a sold out crowd over the weekend.
350 people attended the 15th annual Taste of Tomahawk.
Local restaurants, breweries and wineries displayed the best they had to offer at the Inshallah Country Club.
Organizer Jesica said the event successfully shows what Tomahawk has to offer.
"We want to feature the region and all the wonderful things we have to offer. So we hope we get a lot of folks to come to Taste of Tomahawk, that maybe don't visit us other times of year. We can really show them what Tomahawk's all about," said Jesica.

Some vendors used the event as an opportunity to show products and flavors people may not be familiar with.
The Silver Birch Supper Club has attended Taste of Tomahawk since the beginning.
"[It's great] seeing it grow, from just starting out to seeing what it is today. The costumes are great. Great costumes for St. Patty's Day," said Silver Birch Supper Club General Manager Chris Copiskey,

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MADISON (AP) - Wisconsin voters will decide April 3 whether to eliminate the office of state treasurer.

The little-known position dates to territorial days, but Republicans say it's outlived its usefulness. The office has already been stripped of most of its duties over the past decade.

But it has defenders, who say it's an essential check on executive power. They argue it should have powers restored so it can function as a strong independent watchdog.

Attempts to remove the office have been voted on in the Legislature for decades, but it's never gotten enough support to go to voters until now.

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