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NEWS STORIES

Warming prompts closure of Lake Superior ice cavesSubmitted: 03/17/2014
Story By Associated Press

BAYFIELD - The popular ice caves on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands are now closed, concluding an unprecedented wave of tourism and exploration.

The National Park Service says the caves along Lake Superior were closed just after midnight Monday. The park service says the ice was getting too weak to support foot traffic to the caves, which are accessible by kayak in the summer.

Park service spokeswoman Julie Van Stappen says 138,000 people visited the caves this winter. That figure dwarfs the 12,700 people who visited in 2009, the last time the lake froze enough to make the caves reachable by foot.

When the ice caves were inaccessible in 2012, there were 6,700 people who visited the park.

Van Stappen says this season's attendance was ``amazing.''



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MEDFORD - Members of the Medford Curling Club celebrated their 100 year anniversary this weekend. The club began its first curling season in July of 1914 and has steadily built a following during the past century. Club members believe media exposure has brought more attention to curling locally and across the country.

"I think the Olympics have done a great boost for curling, clubs are popping up all over the United States now," said Centennial Committee Chairman Jeff Mueller. "You can meet people all over the country, you mention curling, they say they saw it on the Olympics. Unlike years ago when they thought it was just some boring shuffleboard on ice type of thing, people really get into it."

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THREE LAKES - Many people get their tax forms at Northwoods libraries. But they might not get everything they need to file their taxes at the library this year.

The IRS won't be able to send local libraries every free tax form and instruction booklets because of budget cuts.

At the Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes, the free tax forms are usually a popular service. The library's director think many people will be let down. But the library will still offer some of the tax forms people will need.

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KENOSHA - The Kenosha mayor says he's very disappointed Gov. Scott Walker decided against a request to build a casino there.

Gov. Scott Walker on Friday denied the Menominee Nation's request for permission to build an off-reservation casino in Kenosha, saying it could leave the state owing a rival tribe millions of dollars.

Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman says he's frustrated with Walker's denial of the tribal casino at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park.

He said the loss of $800 million in investment and the expected thousands of construction and permanent jobs is a blow to the city.

Bosman said the process has been very frustrating.

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ATLANTA - Police who searched two airplanes in Atlanta found no bombs following online threats made against the aircraft.

FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said law enforcement officials finished their search Saturday night at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The threats targeted Southwest Airlines Flight 2492, which arrived from Milwaukee, and Delta Air Lines Flight 1156, which arrived from Portland, Oregon.

Both flights arrived safely.
NORAD spokesman Preston Schlachter said the threats were made through Twitter, an online social media network. The military dispatched two F-16 fighter jets to shadow the planes until they reached the airport.

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MEDFORD - 28 middle aged and elderly people will need to find housing after an apartment fire in Medford Saturday.

It happened a little before 1 p.m. The Medford Police Department says the fire happened in Riverview Village Apartments on the third floor.

Medford Police Chief Ken Coyer says a neighbor smelled and saw smoke.

The 28 people who lived there were displaced due to smoke, fire and water damage throughout the building. Red Cross helped them at Medford Area Senior High School to make arrangments for housing.

The chief says this was an accidental fire.

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WAKEFIELD - Close to 3,000 people in Gogebic County experienced a widespread power outage Friday.

The Gogebic County Sheriff's Office aren't sure how it happened, but power is being restored.

They say the outage affected much of the county, but it was narrowed down to the city of Wakefield. About 50 percent of the city was without power.

Deputies say the city of Wakefield maintains its own power grid. They say Wakefield Electric Department and Xcel Energy worked all day Saturday to restore power.

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MINOCQUA - A large crowd had the chance to try a wide variety of tasty chilli Saturday.

The Minocqua Brewing Company hosted their fourth annual Chilly Chili Challenge. People had the chance to try 10 different chili's.

Minocqua Brewing Company Manager Doug Etten says the warm weather might have played a roll in how many people came out Saturday.

"It's so nice out this weekend that we've got a lot of people in the area, but they'll be out doing some stuff," said Etten. "We understand that and they should be because that's why they come to the Northwoods."

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