Northwoods Spotlight - Northland Pines basketball brothers - Mar 5
Story By Joe Dufek
EAGLE RIVER - Last week, the season ended for the Northland Pines boys basketball team. The team only won one game all season long.
But for one Eagle River family, great memories were made - despite the record.
That's because one of the sons is able to enjoy life from the sidelines - despite obstacles.
Ken Kluever of Eagle River and his wife Carie learned their second child - Austin has spinal bifida. It's is a developmental congenital disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube. Some vertebrae overlying the spinal cord are not fully formed. Austin will be bound to a wheel chair his whole life.
"I don't even let it be an issue," Austin explains. "I'd like to be either a coach or a sports therapist."
Austin loves sports - just like any teenager. In fact, the family enjoys watching their oldest son Zach play for the Northland Pines basketball team.
"All the guys like (Austin) when he hangs out with the team," Zach said. "Everyone knows him. He is always there. It's a fun time."
"I could see it from the coach's standpoint," Northland Pines head coach Brent Luebke adds. "(Zach) wanted to play for and get the opportunity to represent his brother and his family."
Winning just one game this year, it was a tough season for the Eagles. However, despite all of the losses, game night was always special.
"It's amazing to watch him play and see how good he is," Austin explains. "His shooting and dribbing."
But that doesn't mean Austin was above giving Zach grief after a game - typical for brothers.
"Every now and again, he would say something under his breath," Zach points out with a laugh. "Try not to make it obvious, but he was always there."
"It's made us closer," Ken adds. "We wouldn't change anything we have done."
PHILLIPS - About seven years ago, a driver killed a pedestrian walking across Lake Avenue, the main street in downtown Phillips. It was dark and misty that night, and the walker was trying to cross in the middle of a block.
But pedestrians are often at risk in Northwoods downtowns, even on sunny days, and even when they're using crosswalks.
NORTHWOODS - Children went back to school across the Northwoods Tuesday. That's why it's important to make sure you're prepared for anything.
Emergency workers say it's important to have a plan in place for all possible emergency situations. That plan should include emergency contacts, safe meeting locations, and emergency kits in homes and cars. Officials say taking time to plan and practice is crucial.
"Look at things before it happens," says Dawn Robinson, Oneida County Emergency Management Program Assistant. "Make sure your family, your loved ones, your neighbors, make sure everyone has a plan and practice those plans. That way when something does happen, it becomes more, that you know what to do, so be prepared as much as possible, and practice."
Part of being prepared is communication and knowing who to contact. Officials encourage parents to make sure that schools have up-to-date emergency contact information, especially for small children.
RHINELANDER - We'll enjoy great weather this week, but we know it won't last too long. Workers at golf courses across the area know that incoming fall weather spells the end of their season, so they're trying to capitalize on the next few weeks of warm forecasts.
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