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Special Olympians Hit the Slopes on Granite PeakSubmitted: 01/20/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Special Olympians Hit the Slopes on Granite Peak
WAUSAU - The weather didn't cooperate this weekend for the Special Olympics Wisconsin Winter Games in Wausau.

Three hundred athletes were expected for the event Saturday. The snowshoe and cross country ski events had to be canceled due to lack of snow.

But 35 competitors still got to hit the slopes at Granite Peak for snowboarding and alpine skiing.

One of the snowboarders competing Saturday may have been even more excited for another event coming up.

Dana Shilts from Neillsville, Wisconsin will travel to South Korea to compete for Team USA in the Special Olympics.

"This is my first time competing in a world games. I'm very excited. My number one supporter is coming with me, so I'm very excited," says Shilts, who is taking her mother with her to South Korea.

Three Wisconsin athletes made Team USA. Jason Suino from Hayward will compete in cross country, and Alexander Guild from De Pere will snowshoe.

Organizers say these athletes are what make volunteering worth it.

"The athletes is Special Olympics represent probably the truest example of sports; people who are in this just for the pure enjoyment of being in sports. We don't have the types of sportsmanship issues that a lot of other organizations have. It's just when you see the difference it makes in an athlete's life; not just the joy of competing and getting an award, but what they're able to accomplish, and what they're able to do," says Bob Whitehead.

Team USA leaves for South Korea this Wednesday.

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You might not recognize this sign in its beginning stages.

Mike Patek makes these handmade signs under the name "Vintage Cabin Signs" in Manitowish Waters.

He controls everything from the cut to the paint.

His signs go all over the country.

They're based off of Northwoods vacation images from the 30s and 40s; think old fishing magazines, travel posters, and postcards.

"Some of them need a certain softness to it. And that can really only be done by hand," says Patek.

The aged, rusty, worn and torn look doesn't take years to get that way, it's hand done.

Mike has silk screened since he was about 14. The process hasn't worn on him yet.

" It's different. You're never doing the exact same thing every day," says Patek.

He is always finding "new" antique images to use for inspiration in his work.

"There's more out there than I will ever be able to do. It's picking the ones you like that's the hardest part."

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Tarantino lives in Mercer, but trains for marathons in Lac du Flambeau.  He started pulling a tire on a chain a few years ago after reading about it in a fitness magazine.  People often stop to take his picture.

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RHINELANDER - Cancer survivors and supporters gathered at Ministry St. Mary's Hospital for the 10th annual Celebration of Life Thursday. The event honors those battling cancer or survivors of cancer and shows people what kinds of services the James Beck Cancer Center offers. 

The center's namesake lost his life to cancer, but now others will be able to benefit from his gift to the hospital.

"With his vision and his dollars we were able to put this cancer center here in Rhinelander so patients don't have to travel to larger cities," said Director of Cancer Services Kimberly Hetland. 

This year's speaker was Mike Regole, a survivor of tonsil cancer. He spoke about his experience at the center, how family and support affected his journey, and how he ran a business while having cancer.

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