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


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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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 01/20/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Mild temperatures are expected for this weekend's World Championships Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River. Tonight we talk to the derby president to see how the warmer weather effects the event.

We'll show you how the Tomahawk Public Works Department determines when it would be required for residents to keep their water running in cold weather.

We'll take you to a Merrill restaurant that has a special menu for Inauguration Day.

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 games:

College Hockey:

UW-Eau Claire vs. UW-Stevens Point


Boys Basketball:

Lakeland vs. Rhinelander

Florence vs. Crandon

Assumption vs. Marathon

Mosinee vs. Tomahawk


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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MERRILL - The T.B. Scott Free Library first opened its doors back in the 1800s. Light bulbs had been invented just 10 years prior.

Now, another technological advance will help the Merrill library go solar in the next few months.

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EAGLE RIVER - Northwoods emergency workers should find some small comforts of home when they're out fighting fires or running search-and-rescue operations for hours at a time.

The area's Salvation Army Emergency Radio Network--or SATERN--now has a mobile canteen trailer. The trailer can carry food, beverages, and radio equipment.  Mississippi-based sports drink company Sqwincher had the trailer sitting around and donated it to the Salvation Army.

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PARK FALLS - People in Park Falls can look forward to a summer of major road construction in the city's downtown. After it's done, they can look forward to a more appealing downtown layout.

But for several months, the work will literally split the city in two.

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SUGAR CAMP - On Friday, we will officially call Donald Trump the President of the United States.

One Sugar Camp bar owner has been counting down the days on a sign outside his bar.

"We had people stopping by and taking pictures and coming in and giving me a thumbs up," says Gator's Landing owner, Frank Pirolo.

Pirolo has owned the bar for 12 years and has lived in the Northwoods for 18 years.

"People have been noticing my Obama countdown sign," Pirolo said. "I been doing that since there was 89 days to go. Haven't missed a day."

Pirolo is excited to see President Elect Donald Trump take office. He takes on a straightforwardness not unlike the man he voted for.

"I'm kind of outspoken," Pirolo said. "I've been kind of referred to as the Archie Bunker of Sugar Camp."

He also has a sign outside of his bar that advertises his burgers, but people likely flock to his bar because he's frank.

"I see something on the news that bothers me, I'll come up with a quip and maybe put it out there," Pirolo says.

But that doesn't discourage him.

"I see good things going to happen," Pirolo said. "A lot of people say he's arrogant. My wife and I for the first time in 44 years have agreed on a political person." 

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RHINELANDER - A Northwoods teacher is being recognized for connecting her students with the world. 

Linda Goldsworthy, a social studies teacher at Rhinelander High School, won the second annual Global Educator of the Year Award. 

She is the only teacher in the state to win the award.

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RHINELANDER - Rejection can be difficult for anyone to handle.

A Rhinelander woman faced rejection four times already. But Dawn Knudsen plans to try again a fifth time.

"I'm not going to give up in life," said Knudsen.

This is the fifth time she'll be auditioning for NBC's The Voice. The reality show is a singing competition with celebrity judges

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