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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight - Snowmobile Derby recap Jan 22Submitted: 01/23/2014

Marisa Silvas
Morning Anchor/Reporter
msilvas@wjfw.com

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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: 10/01/2014

- Four Wisconsin State Assembly candidates will debate in Wausau tonight. The two Democrats and Republicans will argue about topics like jobs, healthcare and the direction of the area. We'll have a preview of the debate tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Cranberry Fest draws about 40,000 people to Eagle River each year. Organizers think this year will be no exception. They started preparing for this weekend's festival today. Find out more tonight on Newswatch 12.

- The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will perform tonight in Rhinelander. We caught them earlier today at a special concert for students in Rhinelander. Hear what brought them here and how you can go to their concert tonight.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Organizers prepare for Cranberry FestSubmitted: 10/01/2014

EAGLE RIVER - Cranberry Fest draws about 40,000 people to Eagle River each year.

Organizers think this year will be no exception.

They started preparing the fairgrounds on Wednesday for this weekend's festival.

A majority of people who come to the festival are visiting from out of town.

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Walker slightly ahead of Burke in new pollSubmitted: 10/01/2014

MADISON - With less than five weeks until Election Day, a new poll shows Gov. Scott Walker is slightly ahead of Democrat Mary Burke in the race for Wisconsin governor.

The Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday shows Walker with 50.5 percent support among likely voters compared with 44.7 percent for Burke.

That 5.8-point lead is just above the poll's 4.5 percentage point margin of error.

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Young eagles struggling to find foodSubmitted: 10/01/2014

RHINELANDER - Birds of prey in the Northwoods could struggle to find food this fall. Young eagles in particular are struggling to feed right now. Animal rehabilitation groups have seen spikes in the number of starving eagles this year. The late start to the spring may be one of the problems.

"It's not the most amount of eagles that we've ever had, but it's the largest amount of starved juvenile eagles that we've ever had," said Wild Instincts Director Mark Naniot. "We saw a lot of the eagle chicks coming in that were very small compared to what we usually see. They normally fledge around the 4th of July or about a week before they start leaving the nest. We were getting some that were not even close to leaving the nest at the end of July."

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DNR begins Little Rice dam repairs, some homeowners unhappy about water levelsSubmitted: 10/01/2014

CRANDON - The Wisconsin DNR will start repairing the Little Rice dam this month.

But in order to do their work, the agency will have to lower water levels earlier than usual and that's upset some people living on the water.

The dam was built in the 1930s.

"There's leaks, there's chips and cracks and it was time to do some major repair," says DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz.

The structure creates the Little Rice Flowage by damming the Wolf River just outside of Crandon.

The DNR started lowering water levels in the flowage Wednesday to repair the dam.

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Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra visits RhinelanderSubmitted: 10/01/2014

RHINELANDER - Sounds of Mozart, Beethoven and Rossini filled Rhinelander High School's auditorium Wednesday.

Those same sounds were in concert Wednesday night.

Students attended a concert by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra that morning.

The Northwoods Concert Association brought the symphony into town.

They were able to play at the high school thanks to the Hodag Schools Foundation.

+ Read More
Craft brewing discussion teaches public about beer industrySubmitted: 10/01/2014

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MINOCQUA - Brewing craft beers in Wisconsin gets more popular every year.

People always want to learn more about it.

Minocqua Brewing Company turned into a classroom for beer enthusiasts Wednesday night.

Experts from around the state shared the history and science of making beer in Wisconsin.

People could also learn how big of an industry brewing is turning into.

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