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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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TOMAHAWK - A dance group in Tomahawk gets a second opportunity to show thousands of people what small town dancers can do. The Tomahawk Dance Team will perform at the Liberty Bowl half time show in Memphis In two weeks.
"We get to go out with a bang," said 17- year- old dancer Emma Gane.
At the end of the year seniors Emma Gane and Morgan Dischen will walk away from the dance team that brought them together four years ago.

"It's emotional to think about how fast things have gone," said Dischen.
However, first they'll step on stage in front of more than 60 thousand people.
"It's taking girls from this small town and putting them on this national platform," said Tomahawk Dance Team Coach Marina Olson. 

On December 30 the 11 girls on the Tomahawk Dance team will perform during the Liberty Bowl Halftime Show in Memphis Tennessee.
"It's just going to be different from our everyday small town life," said first year dance team member Semra Marquardt.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/15/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Olson Memorial Library in Eagle River held a grand RE-opening that shows patience and perseverance pays off. We talk to the Library Foundation president and vice-president as well as Governor Scott Walker who attended the event.

We'll show you a half-court basketball shot a Rhinelander eighth-grader made that won money for him and raised money the Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation.

And tonight on Friday Night Blitz we'll bring you scores from high school games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following basketball games:

Phelps vs. Laona Wabeno (Boys and Girls)

Rhinelander vs. Northland Pines (Boys and Girls)

Elcho vs. Crandon (Boys)


That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll bring you all this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MINOCQUA - Earlier this month, the Minocqua Fire Department celebrated the opening of its new fire station. 

Now, thanks to a Northwoods couple, the fire department has yet another thing to celebrate. 

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RHINELANDER - If you're still waiting on those holiday gifts to come in the mail, you're not alone!

Cyber Monday orders hit an all-time high record, and now, UPS is struggling to keep up.

Last week the company said to expect a two day delay on standard shipping time.

So what does this mean for you?

"You can get a little bit of a backlog. A lot of people have to do a lot of sorting with all those packages," says Postal Express manager Wendy Thompson.

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EAGLE RIVER - The Vilas County snowmobile trails officially opened Friday at 5 p.m. But, the start of the snowmobile season isn't just exciting for those who plan to go out riding.

"We're ready for an opening today," said Brian Scheid, the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club Trail Master.

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CRANDON - Alyssa Samz spends her days washing, blow drying, and trimming the fur on dogs, and she couldn't be happier.

"It's fun. I love to be able to do something I enjoy every day," said Samz.

Samz spent the last year working for a groomer in Argonne, but now she's decided to branch out on her own.

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RHINELANDER - Oneida County Circuit Judge Michael Bloom apparently didn't appreciate a standoff suspect's letter to him.

Mathew Smith, 21, wrote Bloom requesting a speedy trial, saying he "will not stand for this."

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