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Northwoods Spotlight: Record Vintage crowd; 20K expected for DerbySubmitted: 01/16/2013
Story By Joe Dufek


EAGLE RIVER - Last weekend was the first of two world championship snowmobile races in Eagle River.
Racers took us back in time, hopping on sleds at least a quarter-century old.

The Vintage Snowmobile Championships showed drivers racing on sleds which were made before 1985. Several Northwoods racers took the checkered flag on the final day of action. Including Jeff Stoxen of Rhinelander - winning in the 440 Sport Mod. Racing these old machines is a thrill.

"It's been getting bigger, and bigger," says Jeff Stoxen of Rhinelander - one of the vintage racers. "Everybody is one big family for vintage. Everyone helps everybody out."


A record 7,000 fans watched the Vintage races here at Eagle River Derby Track. Over 20,000 are expected for this weekend's World Championship Derby.

Derby track owner Chuck Decker adds, "the big news is the $60,000 prize to the World Champion this year. Just the one class alone is going to pay out $90,000."

Last year's defending champion Nick Van Strydonk will return to defend his crown. The Tomahawk racer is excited to be racing with the event celebrating it's 50th year.

Several past champions will be honored on Friday night. Time trials get underway Thursday. The World Championship is set for 3pm Sunday afternoon.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

ONEIDA COUNTY - 65 species of native mammals call Wisconsin home.

The DNR wants help collecting data about all of them.

"Snapshot Wisconsin" is a statewide wildlife monitoring program. It relies on volunteers to host a trail camera throughout the year.

"We ask a volunteer to set the camera out for us and go out and check it periodically, change the camera chip, change the batteries. Then they upload the photos to a central site," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz.

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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin, K-12 schools and the Department of Natural Resources will all be in the spotlight as the Legislature's budget-writing committee completes three days of briefings.

The Joint Finance Committee meeting on Thursday comes after a 14-hour marathon Wednesday that saw Republicans on the panel disagreeing sharply with key planks of Gov. Scott Walker's budget.

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MINOCQUA - Minocqua's Northwoods Zip line Adventure Tours added new attractions for the upcoming season in hopes of bringing more people to the Northwoods.

The Northwoods Zip Line Adventure Tours has been a travel destination for thrill seekers around the country.

Owner Josh Russart wanted to bring an extreme outdoor activity to the Northwoods.

"We have something for everyone," said Russart.

But Russart wasn't content with just zip lining. He added more attractions every year since he opened the canopy tours in 2014. Last summer he added an aerial adventure tour.

General manager Andrew Warner says it's a mix of an obstacle course and zip lining.

"Our aerial adventure is going to offer a little bit more of a challenge for people that maybe are a little bit more of a thrill seeker," said Warner.

But Warner says not to worry if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground

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CRANDON - A woman charged with helping sneak prescription pills into the Forest County Jail will need several thousand dollars to get out of jail.

52-year-old Patricia Kirker had her initial appearance in Crandon on Thursday.  Police say she supplied 20 pills for an inmate on work release to sell in the jail.

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RHINELANDER - You can watch fake doctors perform fake surgeries on TV almost any night of the week.  It's not every day you get to watch an actually surgery performed.

Students from the Northwoods learned their experience Wednesday was not for the faint of heart.

High school and college students filled the Nicolet College Theater in Rhinelander to watch a live stream of an open heart surgery.  Doctors, nurses, and other surgical staff from a hospital in Illinois were on camera and answered questions as they put in a left ventricular assistive device in a 37-year-old man's heart.

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SCHOFIELD - Today begins the second and final day of ceremonies for fallen Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland.

People already have begun saying their goodbyes.

Funeral services take place DC Everest High School.

You can find a link to a YouTube stream of the funeral services below.

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CRESCENT - Once Eurasian Water Milfoil invades a lake, it likely won't ever leave a lake.

The invasive species has slowly been making its way into lakes here in the Northwoods.

It first occurred in Squash Lake in Oneida County in 2009. The Lake Association had luck containing the plant by using divers.

"We decided to use divers to pull Eurasian Water Milfoil. Over the years we've worked with divers to do that. It cost roughly $25,000 a year to do that," said Squash Lake Association Board Member Craig Zarley.

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