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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight - State-bound youth basketball teams - Mar 19Submitted: 03/19/2014
Story By Joe Dufek


RHINELANDER - You don't have to be in college to be part of March Madness. Young teams from Northland Pines and Rhinelander received invites to their version of the Big Dance.

"Our team has done very well, considering we weren't as good last year," Alex Fortier of Rhinelander's 5th Grade Team explains. "We've changed a lot and now we're going to state."

"All the kids are looking up to the March Madness people, the college players," Northland Pines 6th grade player Ryan Peterson adds. "But now we get to have our own tournament that's this big too."


More than 700 boys and girls teams from 5th through 8th grade will play in the Wisconsin State Invitational Championship Tournament.

"The jitters of the bigger gymnasiums, the big crowds- it's exciting," Northland Pines head coach Jim Swenson said.

This will be the Eagles second time at state. Several of them got a taste of the high level of competition last year.

"I was kind of happy, kind of nervous because last year we didn't do very good," Northland Pines player Joe Misina admits.

The boys had a scrimmage Monday night. Both squads saw it as an chance to improve.

It's becoming more and more important for young athletes to have opportunities like this. They need experiences on a big stage to prepare them for high school competition.

"The only way we're going to prepare these kids is to start them out now," Rhinelander head coach Todd McEldowney explains. "And not to play against poor competition but to play against the best kids we can. Because that's how they're going to improve."

Other teams taking part include Antigo and Merrill's 5th grade girls teams, Medford and D.C. Everest in 8th grade girls, and Rhinelander and Wittenberg-Birnamwood's 8th grade boys teams.

It runs March 29th through April 13th throughout the state. Appleton, Stevens Point, and Wausau are among several cities hosting the tournament.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - A Rhinelander man went to the hospital after his motorcycle hit a deer near Merrill.

Lincoln County deputies tell us a call came in just before nine Wednesday night.

The caller did not have an exact location, but believed they were on State Highway 107.

A deputy found the crash site on Highway 107 near Sugar Maple Road.

The driver, a 51 year old-man from Rhinelander, suffered injuries that could be life threatening.

He's being treated at a hospital in Wausau.

The 49 year old woman riding on the back of the motorcycle was not hurt.

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RHINELANDER - Students at Rhinelander High School hoped they would be driving home in a new car Wednesday afternoon. The prize was part of the school's year-end celebration. The car was the top prize connected to the school's Positive Behavior Initiatives and Supports initiative.

This is the third year that the school district has been involved with the initiative. Throughout the year students who display good behaviors such as being on time and assisting others in the classroom can receive special green cards.

These cards are collected and are put into drawings where students can win prizes such as free pizzas from Dominos. The drawings are a weekly event but the green cards are also held over the year for an end of the year grand prize drawing.

Brittany Haakenson, an art teacher at Rhinelander High School, has been very involved with the initiative and the planning for Wednesday's assembly. She was excited for the work the initiative has been able to accomplish and for the grand prize; a new car. "It's totally random and whoever gets that special key, there is going to be six keys that won't open the car, but there will be that one winner," said Haakenson.

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SHAWANO - A minivan hit and killed a construction worker in Shawano County Tuesday.

30-year-old Derek Stempa of Shawano had been flagging traffic.

68-year-old Dennis St. John of Hurley was driving the minivan when he struck Stempa.

The Shawano County Highway Department had been doing road work in the area.

That's on Highway 47 near the Menominee Indian Reservation.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is in charge of the investigation.

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MONTREAL, WI - Three-year-old Kolton Ouellette spends his days in a crib, a chair, or a piece of equipment that looks like it belongs in a hospital.

Kolton is not like most three-year-olds. He can't walk, he can't talk, and in fact, he can't even open his eyes fully.

Nineteen months have passed since the crime that put Kolton in this state, suffering from severe and permanent brain damage.

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Rain, storms affect golf seasonSubmitted: 05/27/2015

RHINELANDER - The rainy weather could be hurting some golf courses in the Northwoods. The Northwood Golf Club in Rhinelander has had fewer golfers than normal this month.

The club usually has many people pre-book their tee-times for the summer. But this year, not as many people are doing that. The club says it actually had more golfers playing in April than in May this year.

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WISCONSIN - The bee population could be in danger. Beekeepers in the US lost more than 42% of their colonies in the past year, according to the Bee Informed Partnership. In Wisconsin, beekeepers lost even more than that.

Some beekeepers in Wisconsin lost more than 60% of their colonies over the past year. They think long Wisconsin winters could be one of the reasons why so many bees die.

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MERRILL - A one-of-a kind business opened in Merrill this month.   Again and Again is part resale and part online auction, using its own website. The owner moved the business from Wausau after three years partly due to competition.

"In Wausau, I would say yes, the market was already full," said Again and Again Owner Jody Malsack. "You were competing against people that were friends of yours and you knew, and you don't want to step on too many toes. So here (Merrill) it's kind of unique to this area, and I like it that way."

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