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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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Alex Young, Chris Frederickson, and Scott Counter will be running in the general election in April.

Alex Young would like to think he's learned a thing or two about running a city.

"I recall being somewhat overwhelmed when I first got elected," said Young.

Young has served on Rhinelander's City Council for 13 years, while working as a computer software engineer. 

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OSHKOSH - On Sunday night, police in Oshkosh ended what became a statewide search for a Northwoods homicide suspect.

The Oshkosh Police Department arrested 19-year-old James Lussier, the last of the five men accused of killing Wayne Valliere Jr. near Mercer and hiding his body. Earlier this month, Lussier tried to turn himself in, but was let go on an officer's error in Vilas County.

In a press release, the Oshkosh Police Department said it made the arrest at about 7:30 p.m. Lussier is currently in the Winnebago County Jail.

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"Being able to try new things all the time with the flavors and getting suggestions from people," says Carmen Stamper.

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Nicolet College is now offering 22 textbook-free courses. 

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EAGLE RIVER - You probably did something wrong if you ended up snowmobiling with police.

But Monday, dozens of riders invited DNR wardens and police to ride with them for a little fun and safety advice.

"I'm living in the Northwoods, this is living in my paradise," said Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club President Howard Wolf.

Wolf was pleased to share "his paradise" with dozens of people Monday.

"God, I just feel so happy," said Wolf.


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The firehouse sits next to Minocqua's Chamber of Commerce building off highway 51. Chief Andy Petrowski says the biggest difference in the new building is how much more space they have in the new location.

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