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NEWS STORIES

Packers 'Bike Brigade' one of the most beloved training camp traditionsSubmitted: 07/26/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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GREEN BAY - Of all the traditions that make the Packers franchise special for fans, one activity stands out as one of the most unique in the NFL. And it's thanks to some of the players youngest fans.

Day one of training camp kicked off today... Newswatch 12's Lyndsey Stemm takes us to the Bike Brigade.

Training camp is much the same for all NFL teams: weeks of grueling practice in the summer heat; players showing off what they've built on during the offseason; it's where starters are made and jobs are earned. But in Green Bay it all starts on teeny... tiny... bikes.

"We were way over there by the Oneida Nation gate and there was like this open area where all the Packers came out. And we just stood there with our bikes. And you could ask all the Packers to ride on your bike," says Jason Yaeso, from Shawano.

"Getting picked out of everyone else here; I think that's just a rush of adrenaline," says Jonathan O'Connell, from Suamico.

Legend has it nearly fifty years ago Vince Lombardi saw some of his players riding local kids bikes out to the practice field. He decided it should be a daily training camp ritual to help players connect with fans. And in true Packer form, connect with fans they did... and have been doing ever since.

"The kids really like it. They get to be with some of their favorite football players; riding bikes with them. I think it's a great tradition. I'd never seen anything like it when I came in as a rookie," says Bryan Bulaga, Packers Offensive Tackle.

They lined up by the dozens this morning to taxi the men in green and gold to practice.

"I got number 69 to ride my bike, and I think his name was Brian. And we talked about how old I was," says Madison Fellons, from Winchester.

"(We talked about) how I play baseball and football and basketball," says Ethan Sauer, from Green Bay.

"I had M.D. Jennings ride my bike because he rides my bike every day, because he's my permanent rider," says Callie Vanlaanen, from Ashwaubenon.

Some players pick new kids every time. But some form a bond that first time and become permanent bike buddies.

"I just raised my hand and he picked me," says Vanlaanen.

The hilarity of seeing a grown man on a bike with training wheels has never gotten old. But some players operate on the theory that the bigger the man, the tinier, and pinker the bike.

"It's tough for anybody to ride a bike like that. I think I saw James Starks with a bike like that and he just had the little girl ride it and he walked next to her. I think I had one of those my rookie year too," says Bulaga.

No matter the size of the player, the kid, or the bike, this tradition gives the teams youngest fans an experience they'll remember forever.

"We get to see Packer players in person and not on a TV screen," says Sauer.

"It's pretty cool. I get a Packer to ride my bike every day," says Vanlaanen.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
Bottled milk makes a comback in Crandon Submitted: 11/23/2014

CRANDON - Not many people buy bottled milk anymore. But a locally owned store in Crandon recently brought it back.

"Grandpa sold bottled milk in 1935 when he came to Crandon and for many years after that,"

Now third generation Jay Schaefer is continuing the tradition at Schaefer's IGA in Crandon.

He's selling another locally owned business product on his shelves.

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Snow, warmer temperatures lead to successful hunting opener in parts of NorthwoodsSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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MERRILL - Northwoods hunters seemed to love the combination of warmer temperatures, light winds, and snow cover for Saturday's opener of the gun deer season.

In parts of the area, that led to day-one success for hunters.

This year, Northwoods counties are buck-only hunting counties.

Successful hunters brought those bucks to registration stations and told their stories.

Hunters liked what they saw in the woods and fields.

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Empty Bowls event fills Rothschild with soup, hopeSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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ROTHSCHILD - The Rothschild Pavilion couldn't easily hold the huge number of people on Saturday who wanted something simple " soup.

Lines snaked out the door for the 7th annual Empty Bowls event.

Everyone who tried one of 41 different soups will help fight hunger for others in northcentral Wisconsin.

"It's a true reflection of the caring quality of Marathon County," said The Neighbors' Place Executive Director Tom Rau.

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Tiffany, Wisconsin GOP skeptical of billions of dollars of budget requests from state agenciesSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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Projections show the state will take in $2.2 billion fewer than its agencies want to spend from mid-2015 to mid-2017.

The state legislature and Gov. Scott Walker will need to figure out how to make the numbers work.

Northwoods Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) points out the money the agencies want is more than the agencies will get.

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Steps to prepare for freezing rain Submitted: 11/22/2014

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NORTHWOODS - We could see freezing rain in the Northwoods Sunday. If we do, leaders in Oneida County want people to be prepared.

The Oneida County Emergency Management director says it's hard to tell when the roads are slippery. So they want you to take your time on the roads and on the sidewalks.

"Freezing rain, a lot of times you can't tell that it's actually frozen. The ground is frozen," said Oneida County Emergency Management director Ken Kortenhof. "So even when you're walking on your sidewalks, stuff like that, be careful not to slip. Make sure if you have salt you can salt your sidewalks so you don't have problems there as well."

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Wives and girlfriends enjoy Holiday Open HouseSubmitted: 11/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - The start of the deer hunting season normally leaves wives and girlfriends at home by themselves, but an organization in Rhinelander wants to get them out of the house.

This was the first time Downtown Rhinelander Inc. hosted Holiday Open House Saturday. Businesses along Brown street welcomed wives, girlfriends and families into the their stores.

The owner of Hext Theater in Rhinelander believes this is kind of like a kick-off for the holiday season.

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Wisconsin gun hunt beginsSubmitted: 11/22/2014

MADISON - A Wisconsin tradition is continuing as the state's nine-day gun deer hunt gets underway.

The season opens as the sun rises Saturday and will run through Nov. 30. Forecasts for opening weekend called for freezing rain and fog with highs ranging from the upper 30s to the low 40s both days.

As of Wednesday the state Department of Natural Resources had sold 615,644 licenses, about 15,400 fewer than at the same point last year. The agency sold 635,165 licenses in all last year.

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