Northwoods Spotlight: Merrill Karate Kids - May 15Submitted: 05/15/2013
Story By Marisa Silvas

MERRILL - Most of us don't have the chance to travel internationally... but some Karate students in the Northwoods are hoping to take their talents across the pond.

The Merrill Karate Club has been around since the early 1980's. They pride themselves in offering unique, high quality training for students of all ages.

Jon Gartmann is the Chief Instructor. "All it is is making the things they need to learn and the discipline and respect and the stances and the moves, and just putting a fun spin on it."

"You get to do the obstacle course and freeze tag," adds eight year old Kati Drury.

Seven year old Riley Gallagher says, "I like working with weapons. I have my own sword."

People choose to learn martial arts for many different reasons.

"I came here because of stress at work. I came to relieve some stress," explains Derek Berghammer another competitor. "I fell in love with it after that."

Jacob LePage recently earned a Black Belt. He's come a long way from when he first tried Martial Arts.

"I was really flippy," says LePage. "I would always jump off the couch."

The students have had so much success that 5 of them were invited to compete in Dublin, Ireland. But in order to get there, they're going to have to do some serious fundraising.

$30,000 in seven weeks to be exact.

They qualified in Watersmeet, Michigan. And will be 5 of only 75 people to represent Team USA in August.

"Team USA - we get a uniform and have lots of practice," young Kati Drury explains.

"Just amazing going to Ireland, adds LePage. "I'm just excited to see the scenery. Also excited for the tournament."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.

Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.

The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.

Mauston is about 70 miles northwest of Madison.

+ Read More

WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.

Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.

A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.

The nine-day season runs through Sunday.

+ Read More

MOUNT HOREB - A southern Wisconsin school district has cancelled plans for elementary school students to read a children's book about a transgender girl after a group threatened to sue.

The Capital Times reports (http://bit.ly/1TadnaG ) that the Mount Horeb Area School District released a statement saying it won't proceed with its planned reading of "I Am Jazz."

Parents were told last week that Mount Horeb Primary Center students would read the book because one student identifies as a girl but was born with male anatomy.

A Florida-based group, the Liberty Counsel, threatened to sue, saying concerned parents had reached out and that reading the book would violate parental rights.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the Liberty Counsel as a hate group that advocates for "anti-LGBT discrimination, under the guise of religious liberty."

+ Read More

APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.

The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.

The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.

Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."

+ Read More

TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.

The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.

The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.

Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.

Several Tomah VA officials including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.

+ Read More

Play Video

MOSINEE - This past week, hunters took the time to head out in the woods, sit in their tree stands, and wait for a buck to come their way.

But not everyone plays by the rules.

Every year, wildlife officers work hard to catch deer poachers.

+ Read More

Play Video

ANTIGO - As successful hunters look to fill their freezers with venison, they often don't have a use for the deer's heart. But donating that heart can be a big help to an area rehab center.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here