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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RHINELANDER - The Northwoods Land Trust helps protect about 12,000 acres of natural lands in six northern Wisconsin counties.

That amount of conservation is a big job. But the organization employs just one full-time and two part-time staff members.

The Land Trust relies on the help of about 40 volunteers to accomplish its mission, volunteers like Nancy Richmond.

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RHINELANDER - Thanks to funds from one company, Wild Instincts in Rhinelander will get to expand its facility. The non-profit got a $4,400 Green Gift from Cellcom.

Wild Instincts was one of 22 organizations to get a 2016 Cellcom Green Gift. Cellcom gave almost $38,000 in funds out this year.

Wild Instincts has helped rehabilitate wildlife across the state since 2011. Director Mark Naniot explained that with a growing need to help animals comes a growing need for space.

The Green Gift program uses funds from Cellcom's cell phone recycling program to fund green non-profit initiatives.

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RHINELANDER - When people think first responders, cops, firefighters and EMTs usually come to mind. 

But the true first responder is often the person they'll never meet.

It's Nicole Lea's job to be at her best when you're at your worst.

"There's no other reason your calling us to say, 'Hey, hope you're having a great day.' It is their worst day when they're calling us," said Lea.

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MADISON - Wisconsin may be the dairy state, but we've seen a decline in the number of dairy farms.

A report from the federal Agriculture Department shows that Wisconsin lost almost 400 dairy farms in the last year.

About 94-thousand dairy herds were active in the state as of October 1st.

Wisconsin Dairy Business Association President Gordon Speirs says the number of lost farms this year is low compared to previous years.

Annual losses reached as high as 1-thousand in some years.

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MADISON - About 30 percent of all absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin so far come from the state's most heavily Democratic counties.

The latest data posted on the Wisconsin Elections Commission website shows 55,000 ballots cast in Milwaukee and Dane counties.

21,700 have come in from three conservative counties near Milwaukee.

Over 183,000 were cast statewide.

Republican candidates typically must do well in those Milwaukee suburban counties to counter the Democratic votes in Milwaukee and Madison.

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GREEN BAY - MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has to accept results of the election, even though Trump hasn't said whether he will if Hillary Clinton wins.

WLUK-TV reports Thursday that Walker said following an event in Green Bay that "The bottom line is whether he does or doesn't, there's going to be a new president."

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ST. GERMAIN - Helping patients feel better comes first for one pharmacist in St. Germain, but every Wednesday in October these patients are returning the favor by buying her cupcakes for a cause.

People know to head to pharmacist Jennifer Hansen when they're sick; however, many of them also know they can walk out of St. Germain Pharmacy with one of her cupcakes for Down Syndrome Awareness month.

This is the fourth year Jennifer is baking the cupcakes for her sons' Lakeland Area Special Olympics team.

One of her sons has Down Syndrome and the other has Autism.

"It's not about disabilities or what they can't do. It is shining and highlighting what they can do and all the many things they can do," said Hansen.

Donations from the cupcakes allowed her kids and fellow teammates to get new uniforms and head to different tournaments around the state.

Just as much as she knows patients by name, they know about her sons and always ask about them.

Jennifer says the generosity of the Northwoods community is overwhelming.

Many of her customers ask about the cupcakes months in advance to make sure they can donate.

"I'll still do them as long as my oven keeps working and nothing else bad happens," said Hansen.

Jennifer's boys and their teammates will be heading to Merrill for a bowling tournament this weekend.

Cupcake sales go through the end of October.

Jennifer also has cupcakes in exchange for donations in April for Autism Awareness Month.

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