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NEWS STORIES

Wisconsin contributes to successful Olympic speed skaters Submitted: 02/10/2014
Story By Shardaa Gray


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.

The 10K comes next Tuesday.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

GREEN BAY - Lambeau field should be safe from being renamed to make money.

The president of the Green Bay Packers doesn't want to sell the naming rights to Lambeau Field.

Mark Murphy says it doesn't make sense to put a corporate tag on the name of the historic stadium.

Murphy talked to shareholders at the franchise's annual meeting on Tuesday at Lambeau.

Stadium naming rights have become a way for professional sports teams to make a lot of money.

The Packers are not hurting for cash.

They made $375-million in revenue in 2015.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

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SUPERIOR - Investigators think they know why two skydiving planes crashed mid-air near Superior two years ago.

They blame a lack of guidance from the Federal Aviation Administration and improper training.

The crash happened in November 2013.

All nine skydivers on the two planes and one pilot jumped to safety.

The other pilot landed the damaged plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the FAA doesn't have many rules on how pilots should fly formation flights with skydivers.

Because of that, the owner of the skydiving company did not give its pilots training.

Footage from helmet cameras shows one plane coming down on the back of another, damaging the lead plane's right wing.

(Copyright 2015 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)

+ Read More

OCONTO - A tree from northeast Wisconsin will take center stage at the White House for the 2016 holiday season.

Whispering Pines Tree Farm in Oconto says it has won the National Christmas Tree Association's competition.

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White House staff members get final say on which tree is selected.

The National Christmas Tree Association has presented the official White House Christmas tree since 1966.


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MADISON - The plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena now shifts to the local level.

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SUGAR CAMP - A 48-year-old Sheboygan Falls man faces abuse charges for allegedly punching and kicking his 11-year-old son who lives with autism. Witnesses say he punched the boy in the face.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says the bill passed by the Wisconsin State Assembly committing $250 million in taxpayer money toward paying for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena is a "good deal all the way around."

Walker made his comments Tuesday while speaking with reporters in Philadelphia.

Walker says he is ready to sign the bill, which passed on a bipartisan 52-34 vote. There were 35 Republicans and 17 Democrats in support, with 20 Republicans and 14 Democrats against.

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