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Northwoods Spotlight: 50th World Championship Snowmobile DerbySubmitted: 01/23/2013
Story By Newswatch 12 Sports


EAGLE RIVER - This year's World Championship Snowmobile Derby was seen by more fans than the last 10 years. Over 30,000 made their way to Eagle River to catch the high-speed action.

"I'm here with my son," said Jerry Bolf of Schofield. "We come every year."

"It's great how every thing has come together," adds derby track manager Todd Achterberg. "All the volunteers made me look good."

Governor Walker was at the races on Friday Night. Governor Walker declared the week Snowmobile Safety Week. Past Derby champions and Derby Queens were recognized. Fireworks both in the skies and on the course. The drivers loved being a part of event.


Matt Schulz of Wausau finished third in the World Championship Derby. He says, "Eagle River is a big deal. There is probably 150 people who come up from Wausau to see me."

Among some of the Northwoods drivers competing... Eagle River's Nick Dolezel won the Outlow 600 class. Tomahawk's Nick Van Strydonk fell in his quest for a second straight championship. Howver, Van Strydonk captured the Factory 600 Title. Malcolm Chartier of Marine City, Michigan won this year's World Championships -not to mention $60,000 first prize.


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Only rubble and a stubborn brick chimney remain there right now. Fire ripped through the building in late November. Now, those charred remains have been torn down.

Owner Karen Davis said they plan to rebuild. She said her goal is to have it open again by the end of the year.

Laona Fire Chief Dave Rosio said he has yet to receive a report from the state fire marshal, who investigated the cause of the fire.


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RHINELANDER - Cracked concrete, twisted rebar, and overgrown trees and bushes doesn't paint the most ideal picture for a park.  But a Rhinelander alderman sees the perfect chance for a peaceful place to enjoy nature.

Alderman Alex Young hopes to turn an old snow dumping dock site into a "pocket park."  The site sits where Norway Street runs into the Wisconsin River behind Ripco Credit Union and the DNR Service Center building.

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VILAS COUNTY - For more than three years, Vilas County tried to create a campground and trail system in the eastern side of the county. 

Thanks to land easements and secured funding, that plan is now becoming a reality.

The 10-mile trail will follow an old railroad corridor between Eagle River and Conover.

The trail will connect the new campground on Torch Lake to the two communities.

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TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk High School sporting events got an attendance boost this winter. At the same time, local charities benefited from the community's generosity.

The school's Varsity Club sponsored six nights of special events, one for each winter sport. The Varsity Club gave out T-shirts printed with team rosters. Meanwhile, fans brought donations for local charities.

"Each kid would walk in and they'd put on their T-shirt," said Varsity Club member Jackie Elliott. "When we got our student section going, they were all together, and you just had this block of white. It was awesome."

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WAUSAU - A contractor fell from a ladder and died at the construction site of the new Hilton Garden Inn in Wausau last week. Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.

Marathon County Sheriff's Captain Dale Wisnewski said Shane J. Cash, 45, of Wisconsin Rapids was drilling holes in the ceiling on Thursday when he fell from his ladder and died on scene.

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WESTON - Dozens of people planned to show up to Sunday's vigil. Community members brought balloons, ribbons and, of course, candles.

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MADISON - The Legislature's finance committee is set to take up a package of bills designed to curb opioid addiction.

Republican Rep. John Nygren has written 11 bills based on recommendations from Gov. Scott Walker's opioid task force. Walker called a special legislative session in January to pass the bills. The finance committee is expected to vote on seven of the proposals Monday.

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