PHILLIPS - Chances are, Kayla Dalka can lift more weight than you. That strength has earned her a spot in the Special Olympics USA Games. She'll be representing Wisconsin in powerlifting.
"I like powerlifting because I like to go to the meets," Kayla explains. "And every time I make a lift that's right, I like to see my coach smile."
Kayla was born with a cognitive disability which affects her IQ. She may have some limitations, but her spirit is undeniable.
"It makes me feel like a champion," says Kayla.
"She wanted to meet different friends and get to know the different kids around school," Kayla's mom Pam Lentz adds. "So she started out in powerlifting."
More than 3,500 athletes will travel to New Jersey to showcase their talents this week.
"When she passed and mom told me she was gonna go, I was really excited for her," Phillips powerlifting coach Jeff Schillinger explains. "I've had five kids make it to worlds and this is just as cool if not better than those kids that were world champions."
One of Kayla's biggest cheerleaders is her lifting partner Damien.
"She's awesome. She did really good, really good," Damien Klepac said. "It's like way to go!"
Kayla's favorite event is the deadlift. At the Wisconsin State Special Olympics she lifted a personal record 305 pounds.
"If you do the right techniques then the good weights will come," Schillinger adds.
She's also flourished working at Club 13 in Phillips.
"Always on time, does whatever you ask her to do, keeps up very well," owner Mike Reed said. "She does a very good job for us."
Powerlifting has helped Kayla grow in many ways.
"She can talk in front of crowds, she opens up her mouth now. She's got a lot more confidence," adds Lentz.
"Kayla will get first place," Klepac exclaims. "She rocks!"
EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River's annual Paul Bunyan Fest brings out thousands of people. This year was no exception. Organizers say about 3,000 people filled the streets of downtown Eagle River on Wednesday.
The 37th annual Paul Bunyan Fest featured chainsaw carving demonstrations, more than 80 arts and craft booths, and music.
RHINELANDER - You probably wouldn't consider a dark, smelly alley an ideal place to sit and relax. Maggie Steffen agrees, which is why she's planning to transform an alley on Brown Street in Rhinelander.
Steffen plans to tackle the project in three phases. Phase one is lighting the alley, which sits between The Brick restaurant and Bath and Body Creations. Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. agreed to pay about $2,800 for five LED lights if the city would pay for the electricity.
RHINELANDER - DNR Furbearer Research Scientist Dr. Nathan Roberts calls bobcats "a conservation success story." Their population numbers are up across the United States.
The DNR doubled the harvest quota this year at 750 bobcats because of that healthy population size.
"While the population's grown, we've also increased our understanding of bobcats considerably. Working together with hunters and trappers across the state we've increased our understanding of bobcats and our ability to monitor bobcats," said Roberts.
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