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Northwoods Spotlight - Rhinelander Sharp Shooter July 10Submitted: 07/10/2013
Story By Joe Dufek


RHINELANDER - Some hunting enthusiasts like to stay sharp be shooting sporting clays. A few even compete in area competitions.

And then, there's the elite shooters.

Rhinelander's Jim Sarkauskas is one of the top shooters in the state. He's earned his second All-American team honor in three years.

"The points tallied not unlike NASCAR," Sarkauskas said. "The bigger events you get more points The high you finish, the more points you have."


Joe: Jim has been competing for 25 years. He's also the owner of Rancho del Zorro shooting academy. Teaching others the sport is almost as fun as winning.

Jim will typically shoot about 500 rounds each week to stay sharp. A Typical competition may have between 600-800 rounds. Jim put the ultimate test to his teaching skills and had Joe Dufek take a couple of shots.

"The key is hitting the targets where they're headed, not where they are," Jim explained.

At first, Sarkauskas almost had Joe shooting like a pro. "I got it."

But ultimately, Joe does need a little work. "Knew I wasn't going to hit them all."

"What I enjoy is the individual competition just like in golf," Jim says. "It's you against the ball. It's you against the target. I prefer to shoot."

Last weekend, Jim won the senior veterans title at a state competition in Hudson. He connected on 111 of 150 targets. In 1999, he won a world championship in 20-gauge shotgun.

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PHILLIPS - Police want to figure out what caused the death of a 16 year old girl in Phillips.

Officers were called to an apartment in downtown Phillips with a report of a medical emergency.

The call was made about 6:00 Thursday morning, after the girl was found not breathing and unresponsive.

She was determined to be dead, but there was no apparent cause.

An autopsy was requested by the Price County Coroner.

No foul play is suspected, but the death remains under investigation.

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CRANDON - Pounding rain, howling winds, and flashing lightning�"not the most ideal conditions for camping on Saturday night.

In fact, Saturday night's bad weather couldn't have picked a worse time for thousands of people to set up camp at the Crandon Race Track.

"We were holding onto the awning last night," said Keegan Kincaid, a racer from Crandon. ."It was pouring."

"Our canopy [got] rained [on] so much we had to keep pushing it up so it wouldn't collapse," said Paul Posbrig, a fan from Green Bay.

"It was coming in all over," said Jessie Braden, a fan from Richfield.

But for Crandon fans, the rain certainly didn't dampen the weekend.

"But we made the best of it," said Braden, who comes to Crandon every summer for the Brush Run.

"We had a canopy at one point and put up tarps on the walls as we got downpoured on and it was all windy," Braden said. "If we're going camping, it's going to rain!"

The fans also got their fair share of noise because the rain didn't really affect the race schedule.

"We just had to wait a little bit longer before we could put crews out on the track," said the raceway's announcer, Dave Mullins. "So needed it to dry off a little bit first. But really it was only about a half hour."

But it certainly changed the racers' strategy.

"And so you'll see a lot of changes in trucks and driving styles," Kincaid said.
"Figure out the track, sort out where the grip is, where it's wet, where it's dry," said Arie Luyendyk, Jr., a racer from Arizona.

But Crandon's track is pretty resilient.

"Most tracks we wouldn't be able to race on it the next day, but Crandon has a lot of clay," Kincaid said.

"Because this is a clay track, it doesn't absorb the water as much, it makes it more like a mud pit," Mullins said.

Sunday's nice weather quickly brought the track's conditions back to normal.

"I thought we were going to be racing in the mud, but turns out because of the sun and wind we're actually going back to our setup we had yesterday," Luyendyk, Jr., said. 

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According to the Wood County Sheriff's Office, it happened around 11 p.m. in the Township of Biron.

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According to the Price County Sheriff's Office, it happened at the intersection of County Road D and the Canadian National Railroad tracks in the Township of Knox.

Police think a 76-year-old man was driving the truck with a 76-year-old woman in the passenger seat, and the truck and the train collided.

Several different agencies responded, including Canadian National Railroad investigators.

Crews took the man to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, and they took the woman to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau where she later died.

Police are still investigating and will not yet release the names.

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Rhinelander firefighters now call Adam Granger, 7, a hero.

"He tells me over and over how he wasn't scared and just wanted to save his sister's life and didn't want her to die," said Jenny Schroeder, Adam's mother.

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