Northwoods Spotlight - Rhinelander native wins NCAA fishing national title - Mar 26Submitted: 03/26/2014
Story By Joe Dufek

- Without a doubt, fishing is one of the more popular sports in the Northwoods.

But imagine representing a college and winning a national championship.

A Rhinelander native and his teammate did just that.

For Chris Burgan, a local fishing club was how he began his journey into compeditive fishing.

"I got my start when I was 16, with the Hodag bass masters," Burgan explains. "I've been fishing since I could hold a rod in my hands. I've always been a competitive person."

"We started out fishing crappies," Chris' father Roy adds. "Then we got on a lake which had a lot of bass. He got hooked on bass fishing. I used to beat him once in awhile. Now I can't touch him."

Earlier this month, Burgan, and his fishing partner Austin Felix represented Minnesota and won college fishing's national championship. They knocked off the 2-time defending national champs Louisiana-Monroe to take the title.

"It was pretty crazy," Chris admits. "I was trying to keep my composure on the stage."

The team won a boat - which could go the University of Minnesota. They also earned a spot in the Forest Wood Cup tournament. That's considered the Masters tourney of bass-fishing.

"I have a chance to fish with some of the pros I've looked up to," Chris explains. "I shook Kevin VanDam's hand once. He's a Midwestern guy."

UW-Stevens Point also competed at the National Championships held in Seneca, South Carolina. The Pointers finished 27th out of 50 teams.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/01/2015

- Children covered the Christmas tree outside the Minocqua Town Hall with ornaments and decorations Tuesday, but they weren't any old ornaments. Tonight at 5, we'll show you how each one had a special message of thanks.

- Plus, it's the first night when high school basketball is in full swing in the Northwoods. We'll have a preview.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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HURLEY - More people in Iron County will get broadband internet soon.

Hurley will get three new towers for broadband access, thanks to a state Broadband Expansion Grant.

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RHINELANDER - After a weekend of deals and discounts, businesses now turned the tables. On December 1st, local and big business worked to give back to those in the community for "Giving Tuesday." 

"We try every day to do that because people deserve it and we would not be here without the people who shop here," said Rhinelander GM/Toyota Digital Marketing Coordinator Jo Hettwer. 

We had Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and now Giving Tuesday

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The district started using the Universal Free Breakfast program at North Elementary School and the Middle School.

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Thirty-eight-year-old Mark Spietz is accused of breaking into the home where Thomas and Jennifer Ayers were found murdered back in March.

Seventeen-year-old Ashlee Martinson faces homicide charges for their deaths.

Investigators believe Spietz stole things like ATVs, a trailer, and a lawn mower from the home in October.

Spietz had his cash bond reduced in Oneida County Court on Monday, and his case will move forward.

He will return to court at the end of this month.


Kaitlyn Howe contributed to this report.

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CHICAGO - Some Cook County and Chicago leaders say they're not satisfied with Mayor Rahm Emanuel dismissing Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

The mayor announced McCarthy's firing Tuesday amid an outcry about a newly released video showing a white Chicago police officer fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times.

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NORTHWOODS - Many people will decorate their houses with Christmas trees this season. You can cut down one from the national forest.

It costs $5 for a permit to cut down one tree. They can be purchased at any US Forest Service Ranger Station.

This year, fourth graders can get one free cutting permit. Each household is limited to five permits.

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