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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight - Min-Aqua Bats July 24Submitted: 07/24/2013
Story By Marisa Silvas


MINOCQUA - The Northwoods provides many summer activities to enjoy outdoors. But not all of them include free entertainment... Three nights a week, you can head to Lake Minocqua and take in a waterski show.

Andrew McFerrin "We're a 100% amateur waterski club," Andrew McFerrin explains. He's one of the members of the Min-Aqua Bats.

Another member, Elin Wahman adds, "It's been one of the best things I've done in my life."

Since 1950, the Min-Aqua Bats have been entertaining locals and tourists with a top notch ski show. The performers range from pre-teens to 25 years old and it's clear they love what they do.


"It's like acrobatics on waterskis and it's an incredible thing to watch," says Anna Tedstrom also from the Min-Aqua Bats.

Mary Beyer is a fan.

"It's nice enjoyment and it's wonderful to see what the kids do out there."

For many of the skiers, being a Min-aqua bat runs in the family.

Elin "My mom was a Min-Aqua Bat," Elin Wahman proudly proclaims.

Connor Tedstrom adds, "My grandma was a Min-Aqua Bat in the '50's."

Some just grew up liking the idea of performing.

Christian Wahman says, "I definitely thought that these people watersking were so cool and I wanted to be one of them when I was older."

Anna Tedstrom adds, "I used to watch the shows and be like, oh my god, that's the girl on top of the pyramid, I want to be her."

They're known as the world's oldest amateur waterski team... and they perform a wide variety of exciting acts.

The shows here attract quite a crowd and the skiers become local celebrities.

"It's fun to walk downtown with a bunch of our Min-Aqua Bat friends and they're like, oh those are the Min-Aqua Bats," Anna Tedstrom explains.

Christian Wahman says, "It's great to have all the little kids come down and ask for autographs after the show."

And this talented group shows no signs of slowing down.

Chris Coleman is a former Min-Aqua Bat.

"I'm hopeful that the club continues and that they can maintain the heritage that we've built."

Connor Tedstrom says, "There's a lot of traditions here and we've just got to keep it going for another 64 years."


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - Hundreds of people gathered in Merrill on Monday to honor the lives of the service men and women lost over the years.

"From the Second World War, there were over 400,000 men and women who lost their lives, and it took a tremendous toll on our young people," said World War II veteran Richard Bjorklund.

The ceremony featured a guest speaker and acknowledged those still alive who served. People young and old remembered friends and family who are no longer here.

"Everybody worked together, and we still lost guys," said Vietnam War veteran John Jirovec. "It's hard to forget. Really hard to forget."

For one mother, every day is Memorial Day.
 
"My son Ryan, Sergeant Ryan Jopek, was killed in action on August 2, 2006," said Jopek's mother Tracy. "He just turned 20 and was coming home in a couple weeks, but fate didn't have it quite that way, and he didn't make it home, and we miss him every day."

Tears were shed thinking of the memories of loved ones, remembering freedom comes with a price.

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ST. GERMAIN - A popular Northwoods tradition kicked off its 40th season today. The St. Germain Flea Market draws thousands of bargain hunters each week during the summer.

The market attracts nearly 400 vendors every week. Vendors showcase everything from homemade crafts and artwork to plants and homemade treats.

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MINOCQUA - Many golf courses in the Northwoods need to work hard to make a profit each year. Cold northern springs and falls mean a shorter playing season than other parts of the state. Many increase their rates near the peak of tourism season.

One Northwoods course went the other direction during the last week of April and tried something new. Timber Ridge Golf Club in Minocqua offered something unheard of - completely free golf for everyone.

"We all just kind of thought, what a nice idea, to just say thank you to all of our customers. (We thought,) come on out for a free week of golf," said Timber Ridge PGA Professional Jerry Collins.

The course was in great shape by late April. Golfers flooded in to play during the entire week.


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ONEIDA COUNTY - Last Thursday, 15 members of the Oneida County community graduated from Leadership Oneida County. The nine-month program aims to give participants a better understanding of the county's resources and to improve participation in organizations throughout the county.

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EDGAR - Marathon County authorities say a woman has died from drowning in a pool in Edgar in central Wisconsin.

Lt. Tim Burkholder of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department says it happened sometime after midnight Monday.

While the investigation is ongoing, he says the drowning appears to be accidental.

The department is withholding the victim's name and other details for now.

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RHINELANDER -  A Northwoods veterans group wants people to remember those who died serving our country. 

The Oneida County Veterans Council held a Memorial Day ceremony in Rhinelander on Monday.

The Rhinelander High School band and choir performed at the ceremony.

Mayor Dick Johns was the speaker. 

Event organizers hope people take time on Memorial Day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

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WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin DNR wants to know if it has the right plans for beavers in the state. The final public feedback period is open for the new beaver management plan.

The document will guide decisions on beavers through 2025. The final draft touches on topics like population, habitat, and damage management. The current draft recommends keeping beaver populations mostly stable in the state.

Public input for the final beaver management plan is open through June 22. The DNR will also host a public meeting on June 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the DNR Service Center in Rhinelander to take comments.

You can read the final draft of the plan by clicking the link below. Another link shows opportunities for feedback.

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