MINOCQUA - Racers hit the water on Jet Skis for the Great Lakes Watercross Racing Series in Minocqua on Saturday. The event was sanctioned by the International Jet Sports Boating Association. The people who partake in watersports start because of their love for water. "It's just cause they like playing out on the water," said Scott Hyke, the event producer for the Great Lakes Watercross Racing Series. "You got that natural attraction to swimming and everything. I liked water and I liked motor cross. As I got older I could wipe out on a jet ski and I didn't get hurt so this was a big attraction to me." With all the lakes in this region of the country, to spend some time on a jet ski and enjoy the water is a great idea.
"There's nothing like being on the beach and in the water on a great sunny day, especially here in the Midwest," said Gary Burtka, a professional Jet Ski freestyler and racer. "We get so many cold days in the winter, you really look forward to these hot sunny days here in the summer time." It takes more than just cruising water to be an achieving athlete in water sports. "These guys are quite the athletes," Hyke said. "It's comparable to motorcross. I've done that in my life. It's a lot of work. You fight the waves and water conditions constantly." "It's harder than people think," said Steve King, a vintage Jet Ski racer. "People think you are just riding around in a jet ski, but actually it's pretty taxing" Everyone who entered Saturday's races qualified for the International Jet Sports Boating Association World Finals in Lake Havasu, Arizona in October. Some of the participants have already had success in the World Final. "I've raced at World Finals a couple times," King said. "That's the real deal. There's the best people in the whole world there. The best I've ever finished there is third." "We'll be representing the Midwest there," Burtka said. "Hopefully do well. Last year a little problem with the electrical. I was able to do a no-hander lander back flip for the first time, which was the world's no hander lander backhander." The Aqua Bowl Open displayed how exciting watersports can be.
RHINELANDER - Thursday Rhinelander turned into the city of lights. The Light of the Northwoods kicked off its drive-through light show at Hodag Park today. "We never got to do anything like this when I was a kid," said volunteer Corey Passmore. However, Passmore's son will get the chance to experience a Christmas in a way his father was never able to. "As far as I can think back we've never had anything like this in Rhinelander," said Passmore. Months of preparation, hundreds of hours setting up, and more than a dozen creative minds helped create magic in Rhinelander. "Symbolizes an opportunity for community to come together," said YMCA of the Northwoods CEO Ryan Zietlow.
RHINELANDER - It costs nearly $240,000 to run Rhinelander's homeless shelter every year.
Frederick Place got an extra boost this month to help cover those costs with two grants totaling $8,000.
"With our just shy of $240,000 annual operating budget, we typically only get $40,000 from the state and federal government. So we are raising that $200,000 every single year," said NATH Executive Director Tammy Modic.
RHINELANDER - The initial emergency call -- someone screaming for help on a lake near Rhinelander Thursday afternoon -- sounded bad, but it appears it was a false alarm.
Search and rescue crews called in Newbold's air boat to search Lake Thompson around 1:45 p.m.
Pelican Deputy Fire Chief Norman Peterson said first responders first searched the west bay shoreline on foot. They then used the air boat to sweep the entire lake, but didn't find anyone, any tracks, or any places someone might have gone through the ice.
IRMA - Until Thursday, we never got an inside look at Lincoln Hills School and Youth Prison. We have heard from Lincoln Hills line staff and the Department of Corrections, but never were able to see the facility.
Thursday the DOC held a guided media tour of the school and living units. Newswatch12's Rose McBride has been following the stories that come out of Lincoln Hills for months now, and she went on that media tour.
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