STEVENS POINT - Popular sports like football and basketball generally get the biggest crowds. They also get a lot of attention on the high school level.
But some Northwoods teams believe they're just as worthy. Newswatch 12's Ben Meyer hits the lanes with more.
NAT: 1,2,3 Yeah!
The competitors might be a little different than traditional prep athletes. But walking into a packed alley might convince you high school bowling is absolutely legitimate.
"I think they would be amazed," Rhinelander bowling coach Mike Boarcier explains. "A lot of people don't understand this is a sport. They don't think it is a sport, but it is."
While it's not yet sanctioned by the WIAA, prep bowling is made attractive by the variety of bowlers – different ages, different genders, different skill levels, all on the same team.
"It's very diverse," Boarcier adds. "You don't have to be a top athlete…any shape, size, height, shortness, whatever, you can do this sport."
Comparing being on a bowling team to sports like football, softball, or basketball … depends on who you ask.
Tommy Strauss is a member of Rhinelander bowling team.
"It's completely different," Strauss said. "You really can't compare it. It's really more mental than it is physical."
Merrill bowler Zach Campbell adds, "I try to think of us, we're the same. I get crap a lot at school that says, it's not a real sport. But we do as much as they do like on a football team."
One difference is for sure, instead of a cutthroat competition mentality, bowlers can celebrate with their teammates, as well as opponents.
"The group dynamic of the whole thing intrigues me all of the time," Campbell explains. "I love it."
"What I like to do is I like to make sure everyone has fun," Strauss said. "You know, run around, and have everyone get involved. If you get too tense, you start thinking about it, and start messing up. If you just stay calm and start having fun, you'll do better."
The state bowling championships are in two weeks in Green Bay.
"We don't really get a lot of hype about this sport," Campbell said. "But we like it. There's really nothing else to it."
STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients. Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.
Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015. He then moved to Connecticut.
At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments. Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.
SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.
Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.
Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.
Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.
People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.
"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.
"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.
But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.
"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.
Those accusations baffle Thomas.
"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.
Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.
"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.
Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.
"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.
Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.
"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.
Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.
The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.
Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.
MADISON - A suspended University of Wisconsin-Madison student accused of sexually assaulting and harassing nearly a dozen women has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges.
Twenty-year-old Alec Cook faces a total of 21 counts, including strangulation, sexual assault, stalking and false imprisonment involving 10 women dating back to March 2015. Five of the charges are misdemeanors. The rest are felonies.
ONEIDA COUNTY - Once landfills run out of space, the county must decide where the garbage will go. At a meeting on Monday, it was announced that the Vilas County landfill has about 10 years left before it will have to find a new location to dispose of trash. Oneida County had a similar decision to make years ago.Â
Fifteen years ago, the Oneida County landfill was capped.Â
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