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

Northwoods Spotlight - Snowmobile Derby recap Jan 22
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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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/20/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill into law that makes it easier for people to waterski without a spotter. We talk to area water-skiers to get their reaction to the bill and a state senator who cites studies favoring the bill.

We'll take you to a Minocqua tattoo shop that's trying to get rid of a myth by helping others.

And a member of the Merrill School Forest Program received special recognition today. We'll take you to the presentation and talk to the recipient.

We'll bring you all this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - Sixty-two-year-old Kenneth Welsh lasted just eight days as a free man before being arrested in Oneida County again.

Welsh is now in Oneida County Jail, accused of making terrorist threats.

Those threats put hospitals in Rhinelander and Tomahawk on lockdown on Thursday.

Oneida County Sheriff Grady Hartman said Welsh made the threats to a hospice company after they withdrew service from his terminally-ill wife.

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MERRILL - A member of the Merrill School Forest Program received special recognition on Friday. Director Russell Noland earned a LEAF award from Wisconsin's School Forest Program.

Students, parents, and other community members came together to witness the award presentation.

The award honors people that excel in leading learning experiences and activities in forestry.

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MERRILL - A Northwoods group that supports victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault took the time to thank those whose support makes the program possible. HAVEN (Household Abuse Victims Emergency Network) hosted an open house on Friday in Merrill. 

The open house was held in part to celebrate the program's 35th anniversary. It also allowed people who have supported HAVEN over the years to get a tour of the facility and get to know the employees there. 

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CANTON, MI - Student across the country walked out of theirs schools today, in part for the Columbine anniversary, but to also protest gun violence.

In Michigan, hundreds of student from three different high schools gathered on a campus football field.

In New York, Students staged a mass "die-in" on the steps of the State Capitol to call for stricter gun control laws.

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MADISON - Researchers examining forests in northern Wisconsin say Native American reservations have older trees and better plant diversity and tree regeneration than surrounding state or national forests.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that Dartmouth College and University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers recently published their findings in an issue of the Ecology and Society journal. Researchers studied forests on four Native American reservations.

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GREEN BAY - Former Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green avoided jail time under a plea agreement that included dismissal of a felony child abuse charge.

The 41-year-old Green on Thursday entered an Alford plea of no contest to criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct. Prosecutors amended the child abuse charge to a non-abuse charge of damage to property.

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