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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight - Snowmobile Derby recap Jan 22Submitted: 01/23/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas


EAGLE RIVER - Tomahawk's Nick Van Strydonk won the world championship in 2012. He knows
competing at Eagle River Derby Track is special.

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

Lance Rutledge is an amatuer sno cross racer from Rhinelander.

"The adrenaline rush you get, especially in that last lap, it all comes into
play," Rutledge adds.


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

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 explains. "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 said. "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," derby
track marketing manager Richard Decker points out. "It's a lot of hard work but
believe me, everything is worth it. We love it."


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MERRILL - Merrill should get a new grandstand by next summer.

The Merrill Committee of the Whole voted on the project last week.

The project will cost $1,149,000.

The city will get insurance money from Lincoln County to pay for it.

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RHINELANDER - Three racers from the Hodag BMX Club took first place in their Division at the State Championships in Oshkosh this weekend.

No one in the club placed lower the fourth.

Coach Robbie Deede said the Hodag BMX program continues to grow better and stronger each year.
He was proud of everyone who competed this year.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County Humane Society needs a lot of money to take care of all the animals in its care.

The shelter relies on fundraisers to help raise that money.

One of the shelter's biggest fundraiser is its Jog for the Dogs event. The run is scheduled for Saturday September 12th this year.

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WISCONSIN - Hunters like to predict how the deer season will go this time of year. But the DNR is focused on working with land owners to create better habitat for deer. That could mean a more successful hunt in a few years.

It's working with public and private land owners through the Deer Management Assistance Program. The 2012 Deer Trustees report led to the creation of the program.

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NORTHWOODS - Around this time, people start noticing webbed nests on tree branches in their yards and woods. Fall webworm activity peaks in August. The insects are native to northern Wisconsin and live on hardwoods. Caterpillars form nests and feed on the leaves inside the nest.

"They do make a very messy web nest and people would be seeing that at this time of year," DNR forest health specialist Linda Williams. "The web nests that we see in trees in the fall will be out at the ends of branches."

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EAGLE RIVER - The first-ever ATV & UTV Side by Side World Championship Derby finished up Sunday afternoon. 

Races started on Saturday and continued through the weekend. 

Spectators, racers and event staff all say they were pleased with how the event turned out.

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RHINELANDER - The school district of Rhinelander upgraded Mike Webster Stadium this summer.

Workers built up the track, added a new scoreboard, better lights and improved the bleachers.

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