RHINELANDER - If you can believe it, the Olympic games are almost here. Competition begins Thursday. It's also the perfect time to remind everyone that a former Olympian calls Rhinelander home.
Putting on skis is second nature for Chris Cook. The Rhinelander native started racing when he was just 3 years old. In high school, he became focused on seeing where the journey could take him.
"I really wanted to do everything to pursue professional athletics," Cook explained. "I went to Northern Michigan University and wanted to win a national title there - which I did. It put me on the U.S. developmental team, the U.S. ski team. It was step by step."
Cook continued to heat up the trails becoming the US Nationals Sprint Champ at the age of 25. His talent and drive landed him at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino.
"The opening ceremonies, walking in with the entire team was an eye-opening moment," Cook adds. "That was a dream-realized moment."
Having been to the games himself, Chris has a lot of insight into how this years athletes are preparing, both physically and mentally.
"I'm good friends with Andy Newell," Cook said. "This is his third games. He's focused on a medal. For the rookie, it's a little bit different. (It's) your first games. It's trying not to let the media and all of the hoopla of the games affect you."
Cook retired from competition two years ago. He has mixed feelings about being a spectator this time around.
"I miss the racing," Cook said. "I don't miss the training, but I miss the racing. But I do enjoy watching the racing and supporting the guys who are there."
WAUSAU - A contractor fell from a ladder and died at the construction site of the new Hilton Garden Inn in Wausau last week. Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.
Marathon County Sheriff's Captain Dale Wisnewski said Shane J. Cash, 45, of Wisconsin Rapids was drilling holes in the ceiling on Thursday when he fell from his ladder and died on scene.
RHINELANDER - Cracked concrete, twisted rebar, and overgrown trees and bushes don't paint the most ideal picture for a park. But a Rhinelander alderman sees the perfect chance for a peaceful place to enjoy nature.
Alderman Alex Young hopes to turn an old snow dumping dock site into a "pocket park." The site sits where Norway Street runs into the Wisconsin River behind Ripco Credit Union and the DNR Service Center building.
RHINELANDER - People lived through detours, dust, and demolition throughout most of 2016 in downtown Rhinelander. Residents won't see that kind of work in 2017, but the city is planning more closures and road work to finish up the Streetscape Project.
Crews will start with the Davenport Street Bridge shutting down for a month in starting April 17. Public Works Director Tim Kingman says some sections of concrete, sidewalk, and asphalt pavement shifted, settled and cracked over the winter.
TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk High School sporting events got an attendance boost this winter. At the same time, local charities benefited from the community's generosity.
The school's Varsity Club sponsored six nights of special events, one for each winter sport. The Varsity Club gave out T-shirts printed with team rosters. Meanwhile, fans brought donations for local charities.
"Each kid would walk in and they'd put on their T-shirt," said Varsity Club member Jackie Elliott. "When we got our student section going, they were all together, and you just had this block of white. It was awesome."
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