Sixth annual Three Lakes Shootout brings the crowds outSubmitted: 06/22/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Photos By Shardaa Gray

THREE LAKES - A shootout in Three Lakes brought hundreds of people out to Big Stone Lake.

But there were no guns involved, just boats.

"Oh it's a blast. It's better than anything out there. Just hanging it loose and see what happens." said speed boat racer, George Girten.

Hundreds of people wanted to see what would happen when a boat goes 100 miles per hour on a lake.

Saturday marked the 6th annual Three Lakes Shootout on Big Stone Lake.

The event started because they needed to build a second fire house in Three Lakes.

"This allowed us to use tourist dollars to build the fire house rather than having to raise taxes even more," said event chairman, Jim Leatzow.

"So we thought that made a lot of sense. So we started that."

They were able to raise the money for the second fire house.

They contributed $18,500, but it was mainly paid for by the Three Lakes Town Board and electors over the course of five years.

The total cost for the fire house was $181,500.

To show their appreciation the town dedicated a plaque and sign to the fire chief who helped make it all happen.

"The town has been super supportive of that project and the community has been very supportive," former Fire Chief, Herb Stuckert said.

"I can't say enough for everybody who has been around us. Even the spectators."

To many, the purpose for this water show touches home.

"My uncle's a fireman in Illinois. So this is a great way to get money for everyone else around here that's in a fire department." said Arlington Heights, Illinois resident, Julie Schmitz.

Another unique show on the water also helped bring people out, the Sledfooters Sled and Ski Show.

"We've snowmobiled in the past. I would never ever think of putting one on a lake. It was really cool," Arlington Heights, Illinois resident, Linda Schmitz said.

"We've water skied, never would we water ski behind a snowmobile, but that's awesome. It's fun to watch."

Stuckert says they're already planning for next year to be bigger and better.

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PARK FALLS - Many people in the Northwoods go to church on Sunday mornings, and for some of them it may be begrudgingly.

But there are plenty of people, often elderly or sick, who want to go to church but have a hard time doing so.

Peace Lutheran Church in Park Falls wanted to change that. Since May, they've been undergoing some construction. On Sunday, the church had a dedication ceremony for a special new addition—an elevator.

Now people like 100-year-old Ruth Olson can worship with greater ease.

Before the elevator, Olson said she would get to church by literally pulling herself up the stairs using the railing.

Olson's story is like many. As the older population grows, church buildings don't evolve with them. The buildings are often old and sometimes lack accomodating features for the elderly or disabled, and takes money to update the buildings.

"We have churches where the people are getting older and it's very hard for people to get around," said Rev. Dwayne Lueck, the district president for the North Wisconsin District Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.

Some parishoners couldn't do what Ruth used to do, and so they would have to worship at a service held across the street in the day care center, instead of in the beautiful church.

"Now all the services can be over here," said Rev. Dale Heinlein, the pastor of Peace Lutheran.

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"We been talking and planning this for...a long time," said Dick Ross, president of the congregation. "Pretty hard for some of the people, and I think you saw them, pretty hard for some of the people to worship here, so it was time."

"You can see it in their eyes more than anything when they know they have access and when they come up here and just enter the building and no steps, it's a great thing," said Buzz Peters, a parishoner who helped design the new elevator and space.

"We can finally have access for everybody to get into the worship facility, free access, that's what this is all about," Heinlein said. 

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