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Remembering a hodag legend - behind the microphone, in the communitySubmitted: 06/25/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander knew him by voice alone.

But Todd McEldowney, the longtime voice of the Hodags, was much more than that to the community.

He died late last month.

"He was synonymous with Hodag sports. He was the voice of the Hodags," says Todd McEldowney, Todd's son.

The senior McEldowney became almost as much of an institution for Rhinelander athletics as the Hodag itself.

His 33 years behind the radio microphone and as a teacher at Rhinelander High School inspired, as well as entertained.

"People left him feeling better about themselves and better about the world they lived in, because he truly loved what he was doing," his son remembers.

Football to basketball, softball to snowmobile derbies, WOBT radio to a stint here at Channel 12, and the microphone to the classroom, the Rhinelander community knew and loved him.

"All in all, we had an excellent time together," says his longtime partner, Paul Ebert.

Ebert was with him in the booth for decades.

"I probably preferred basketball on the fact that it was indoors and warm," Ebert laughs.

"If I wasn't with him broadcasting, we were probably fishing for walleyes on the weekend," he says.

Many people thought he could go even bigger than the Northwoods.

"I would think he would have been network caliber," says Ebert.

"He decided that teaching was so important to him, and he loved being around the kids so much, that he was going to stay here in Rhinelander, support his Hodags, and teach for Rhinelander High School," says the junior McEldowney.

Stay, support, and teach - and be vital member of the Rhinelander community.

"He always thanked people that were listening. He mentioned specifically the shut-ins and the people that couldn't get to the games," says his son.

McEldowney signed off with his signature line for the last time in 1988.

"Win or lose, it's always a good idea to back your Hodags," he would say.

But that didn't end his love for Rhinelander.

"He was so proud and so loyal to the Hodags, and that's something he took with him until the day he died," his son says.

He died on May 26th, loving every minute of life.

"He always said in his closings that he hoped people enjoyed the broadcast as much as he enjoyed bringing it to them."

You can help remember McEldowney by aiding in building a new press box at Mike Webster Stadium, Rhinelander's football home.

Make donations out to McEldowney Memorial.

Send them to O'Melia, Schiek, and McEldowney, 4 South Stevens Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/31/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We will take you to Tomahawk where the Harley Davidson plant announced it will lay off 39 workers.

Renovations have begun at the Antigo Public Library. We'll give you details on what to expect when the project is finished.

And preparations are underway for this weekend's Mud Run in Manitowish Waters. Will show you some of the obstacles runners will encounter.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MOSINEE - After looking for several hours, searchers recovered a man's body after an apparent drowning near Mosinee.

About 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night, the Marathon County Sheriffs Office got word of a possible drowning near Beans Eddy Boat Landing.

The Sheriffs Dive team and fire personnel searched the scene.

According to the Marathon County Sheriff's Department, the man's body was found shortly before midnight.

He had apparently fallen into the water when he was pushing his pontoon boat off a sand bar.

The man's name has not be released.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People die from heroin overdoses every day throughout the U.S., and it's a problem we see here in the Northwoods as well. 

That's why Lac Du Flambeau hosted it's first Overdose Awareness Day to help people learn more about drug addiction.

"Having lost my sister last year, and other families that lost loved ones like that, an awareness and education needs to be done in Indian Communities," said organizer Jeanne Wolfe. 
 
A special agent gave a presentation about heroin.

Afterwards the people at the event could talk about ways to prevent drug use in the community.

The event was also a way to deal with grief.

"Nothing has really been done to recognize or talk about our sorrow and the loss a person goes through when somebody dies unexpectedly like that," Wolfe said. 

Wolfe hopes to host the event again next year.


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ANTIGO - A fire left some minor damage to a business in Antigo earlier today.

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ANTIGO - People hoping to use the Antigo library will need to find a different location for the next month.

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RHINELANDER - It all started with an idea.

 After visiting a church in Whitewater, Rhinelander's Barbra Thompson came back with an idea for her own community.

Thompson realized her community was missing something. 

The Table event started providing free meals to the people of Rhinelander 20 years ago. 

"A great, great opportunity to serve those in need, and I think our community in Rhinelander appreciates it," said a volunteer from St. Mary's Hospital.

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TOMAHAWK - It doesn't look like the candidates for northern Wisconsin's seat in Congress can agree on a debate schedule just yet. 

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Weston) said earlier this week he wants two debates, one in Superior and one in Wausau.

But that's apparently not enough for his democratic challenger. Mary Hoeft said she wants six debates.
Originally Hoeft said she wanted a debate in all 26 counties in the district.

"But people said to me, Mary, when you make this request to the Duffy campaign, make it reasonable," Hoeft said. "So alright I went in my head from 26 down to six." 

Hoeft said more debates would help voters make a more informed decision when they go to the polls. 

"But I'm happier than if he had said zero," Hoeft said. "But I'm not going to stop, though. I'm going to ask the people of the 7th Congressional District, if you want more forums, make sure that your voice is heard."

Hoeft hosted a meet and greet in Tomahawk Wednesday morning. She addressed a group of about 20 people. 

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