WEST ALLIS - Winter Olympics history tells us Americans can fly on ice.
Our nation's speed skaters have won more Olympic gold medals than skaters for any other country.
Wisconsin plays a big part in this success story.
Newswatch 12's Shardaa Gray takes us to West Allis where the Spirit of the North has driven speed skaters for decades.
"It hasn't really hit me yet, but once I'm there and getting into it and being with the team; it will start to sink in." said America's youngest speed skater, Emery Lehman.
17 year old Emery Lehman from Illinois is the youngest U.S. Olympic speed skater this year.
90 years ago a young speed skater named Charles Jewtraw was the first person ever to win a gold medal in the very first Winter Olympics.
Jewtraw won the 500 meter event in 1924 in Chamonix, France.
Emery isn't sure if he'll make history like Jewtraw, but he does have high hopes.
"My goals are probably to finish between 15th and 10th in the 5K," Emery said.
"Then 10K, only 16 skaters; probably I'm going in ranked like 16th. So anything better than last at this point."
Before leaving for Sochi, Lehman trained at the Pettit National Ice Center in West Allis.
He has been training there since he was 14 years old.
They've trained Olympians since 1992, after it was reconstructed to become an indoor facility.
"The impetus behind it was to create an Olympic training site. So it had to open by the end of 1992 for political reasons within the US speed skating," said Pettit Ice Center Executive Director, Randy Dean.
"The USOOC had to be open by the end of 1992 to be an official US Olympic training site."
The Pettit Center replaced the outdoor 24 year old Wisconsin Olympic Ice Rink.
"It was right here in this very site; almost not the exact place where the oval is today, but very close. They'd tell stories of the salt blowing off the expressway, the headwinds and how cold it was," Dean said.
"There wasn't any enclosed oval in the United States. So people got together here and raised some money, got some help from the state and built the Pettit Center here for about 14 million dollars."
85 speed skating medals have been won by American Olympians going into Sochi Games.
Out of that number, 70 medals were won by Olympians that trained or based at the Pettit Center.
Emery's mom remembers when he first put on speed skating skates.
"They loaned him a pair of boats, he got on the ice, he looked at me I was standing on the bleachers, kind of shrugged his shoulders looked down at his boots and started to skate and he fell in love with it." said Emery's mother, Marcia Lehman.
"He just had that intangible quality that you can see in some kids. It's like you can't really teach it. Once you see it's there to be developed." Emery's coach, Jeff Klaiber said.
"It's definitely paid off now. Traveling's a lot of fun and competing is a lot of fun. It's all worth it in the end," said Emery.
"Especially because I love it, it's a lot easier. It's probably a lot harder for my mom and dad who put in just as much dedication as I did, but they don't get to travel as much."
Emery raced Friday; finishing 16th out of 26 races in the men's 5,000 meters, the best finish by an American.
FOREST COUNTY - Bringing your pet along to watch fireworks might seem like a fun way to spend the Fourth of July, but you could be doing more harm than good.
July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for most animal shelters.
That's because fearful pets try to escape the bangs and flashes from fireworks and end up lost.
Forest County Humane Society president Jay Schaefer says don't let yourself add to your pet's stress.
Play it down, and make the fireworks a good thing with positive talk and treats.
"They're reading cues from us constantly. So be careful of your body language and the cues you're giving them. If you act like fireworks are a big scary thing they're gonna be like, 'oh my god fireworks are scary,'" says Schaefer.
Exercise can be another way to calm your pet before the big light show.
Burning off the energy earlier in the day may help your pet go to sleep early.
"Take them for a jog on the Fourth of July. I know it's hectic, but do something so they're not all amped up at night when the fireworks go off," says Schaefer.
Like many humans, pets like the smell of lavender.
You can try diffusing the scent around the house to put your pet at ease.
Make sure you have a well-fitting collar and identification tag on your pet.
If flashes are too bright, you might want to close the curtains.
MINOCQUA - Every two years, high school athletes in Wisconsin get the signature of a physician, saying they're healthy to play sports. That signature comes after a physical exam.
Chiropractors can't give that sign-off, but they soon might be allowed to do so. The state Assembly passed a bill which would give chiropractors that privilege.
"The pre-participation exam is certainly extremely important. It is the best way to catch underlying illness and risk factors before athletes participate in sports," said Marshfield Clinic Regional Medical Director Dr. William Melms, who works out of Minocqua.
THREE LAKES - Managing weeds can be a challenge for many cranberry growers across the state.
James Lake Farms in Three Lakes has been certified organic since 2007.
As organic growers, they are not allowed to use synthetic materials or herbicides to control their weeds.
This spring, they purchased weed eating geese from a nursery to help get rid of the weeds.
"We came across an article from 1954 in a trade magazine that showed that one of our marshes had used weeder geese back then in order to reduce the weed pressure, and we thought, well, this might be a novel approach," said owner John Stauner.
WAUSAU - Every year, firefighters around the country ask their communities to fill up boots with money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Wausau Fire Department kicked off its "Fill the Boot" campaign Tuesday morning.
The fire department will be at local events throughout the summer to collect donations.
The fundraiser helps with research and treatment for neuromuscular diseases for kids and adults.
"It's kind of a rewarding part of the job. Most of what we do is off camera, you don't really get to see all aspects of the fire department. It is a great chance for us to get out there and see all the programs we are involved in to help,"says firefighter Matt Tormohlen.
EAGLE RIVER - When your entire theater production fits in the back of your SUV, you need to know how to do -- and be -- just about everything.
"You kind of have to be the jack of all trades," actor Chris Cummings said.
Cummings is a stagehand, a set designer, and this summer a bug. He and fellow actor Jennifer Schreiner travel the Midwest out of their Chicago-area homes for the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company, which is based in Portland, Oregon.
CHETEK, WI - A preliminary report from federal aviation investigators says witnesses described hearing an engine backfire before a small plane crashed in Wisconsin last month, killing the teenage pilot and seriously injuring a passenger.
The Leader-Telegram reports that the National Transportation Safety Board interviewed several witnesses who were fishing in a pond near the Red Cedar River at the time of crash on May 24.
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