TOMAHAWK - This summer, Olympic athletes grabbed our attention for two weeks.
But another set of athletes will compete this winter in the Special Olympics, and there to coach them - a teacher from right here in the Northwoods.
Bonnie Kahn started Tomahawk's Special Olympics program back in 1988.
Since then, she's traveled to the World Games four times as a coach.
She's back at it again, heading to South Korea in January with 200 Special Olympics athletes.
Bonnie works with about 14 adapted needs students every day.
She coaches bowling, cross country skiing, snowshoe racing and track and field.
But she gets as much as she gives.
"The group is very compassionate, they're very courageous, I think they are goal-oriented in a way, that they always try to do their best. They like to please, and it's a joy to work with them. I always feel like I get more out of working with them than they get out of working with me," she said.
Bonnie has already been to the Games in Alaska, Japan, Idaho, and Greece.
But she said there's no place like home.
"I truly believe in the athletes, and I feel like even though I'm going to South Korea and all these places I've traveled, I still represent Tomahawk," she said. "My heart is with my athletes here, and that's what I take with me wherever I am."
Bonnie is headed to Korea with three Wisconsin athletes and one other coach.
EAGLE RIVER - Snowmobile trails open at 6 p.m. in most of Vilas County.
Local businesses that cater to snowmobilers look forward to a successful season.
The trails already have a lot more snow than they did last year at this time.
"Anytime you bring people to the Northwoods, whether it's just the snowmobilers, it's not only helping our business, it helps everybody. They bring family up so they'll go to the Children's Museum, or the downtown and restaraunts. They utilize all the area businesses," said Greg Cook from Track Side in Eagle River.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill aimed at curbing underage drinking.
The so-called ``Brown Jug bill'' creates an additional $1,000 fine for those under age 21 who buy or drink alcohol.
The measure gives bars the ability to report underage drinkers to police and then take them to court.
The underage drinker would be required to pay the business owner $1,000 if found guilty. The fine would be in addition to the $250 to $1,000 fine an underage drinker would receive from law enforcement.
The Capital Times (http://bit.ly/1dak7QJ ) reports the Tavern League of Wisconsin is pleased with Walker's decision to sign the bill.
Opponents say fines were already in place for underage drinkers.
The bill is named after an Alaskan bar that had a similar law passed.
RHINELANDER - When you’re celebrating the holidays that often means drinking.
Because of that, there are more alcohol-related accidents and deaths this time of year.
But the Oneida County Sheriff’s office wants to prevent as many as accidents as it can.
The Booze and Belts campaign runs through December 21. The campaign is part of the OWI enforcement grant the sheriff's office received in October.
Throughout the campaign, you’ll see three extra squads on patrol looking out for drunk drivers and people who are not wearing their seat belts.
Lloyd Gauthier, Oneida County Patrol lieutenant, says it's all about making the right choices after you've been drinking.
"We really want people to come and enjoy the holiday season, it's Christmas time here in the Northwoods. Whether it's a family coming to one of the resorts that we have here in the area, or just enjoying the different things that we offer," said Gauthier." "We just want people to make good decisions. And you realize that if you don't make good decision, that can affect other people."
Booze and Belts is a statewide program.
It puts more officers on the streets before the holidays.
The Department of Transportation reports that's when the most accidents happen. Lieutenant Gauthier says your choices can have a range of impact.
Gauthier thinks that's because of early celebrations like office Christmas parties and private gatherings.
"Whether it's a traffic crash where you end up killing someone because you're intoxicated, or you seriously injure somebody else, a family member, or yourself," said Gauthier. "Also driving too fast, with the winter conditions roads can change rapidly."
The Sheriff's department says more officers patrolling for OWI's will keep everyone safe.
The Department of Transportation reports most accidents happen between 7pm and 3am.
Vilas county is also participating in the Booze and Belts campaign.
PELICAN - Pelican Elementary school will close Friday because of sickness at the school.
The school made the announcement Thursday.
Kerri Schmidt, School Nurse for the School District of Rhinelander, says she's mostly seen vomiting, nausea and headaches.
But some of those affected are showing other flu like symptoms like high fever.
"It's been cold out, kids haven't been able to get out for recess and we had concerts here." Schmidt said. "So anytime you get a large number of people getting together and the right transmission takes place, you certainly can have the breeding grounds for illness."
The school started seeing lots of kids sick Wednesday. They decided to cancel school Friday because even more kids were getting sick Thursday. All co-curricular activities are canceled in conjunction with this school closure.
The decision was ultimately a joint decision between the School District of Rhinelander and the Oneida County Health Department.
"We try to keep the healthy kids at school and send the sick children home," Schmidt said. "But when your whole day becomes continue more sick kids going home, you know the transmission is still taking place."
The school hopes the three day weekend will help stop the spread of the sickness. About 30 percent of the school's 295 students are sick.
Parents should keep their kids home at least 48 hours after showing the first signs of symptoms.
This is the first time since 2002 that a Rhinelander school has shut down because of sickness.
To stop the spread of illness people should: • Drink plenty of liquid (juice, water) • Keep the sick person as comfortable as possible. Rest is important • For fever, sore throat and muscle aches, use ibuprofen (Motrin) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Do not use Aspirin with children or teenagers; it can cause Reye’s syndrome, a life-threatening illness. • Be sure everyone in your home washes their hands frequently. • Keep the people who are sick away from the people who are not sick.
For more information, call your healthcare provider or contact the Oneida County Health Department at 715-369-6111.
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