EAGLE RIVER - If you were out on a lake near the Eagle River area last weekend, you might have seen a lot of gray hats. Anglers spread out on seven lake families. They were all hoping to win the 28th National Championship Musky Open.
Anglers take part in many musky competitions in the Northwoods, but one continues to break records with participation.
Larry Slagowski is the president of the Musky Clubs Alliance (MCA) of WI. He says, "This year we had 1,222 people."
Charlie Pulchinski (Rudolph) "If we catch a fish, that's going to be great," adds Charlie Pulchinski of Rudolph. "But just to be out here is something special."
Dave Allen, the MCA's executive director explains, "Basically we're all fishing for trophies. There's no money involved. Everyone just comes here and has a good time and we give away a lot of prizes."
The largest amateur musky tournament in the U.S. prides itself on bringing fun to fishing.
Steven Tilque (Pound, WI) "There's more friendly people than any other tournament I've fished, ever," Steven Tilque of Pound, WI adds.
This tournament also stresses the importance of families bringing out the younger generations of fishermen, in order to grow the sport.
"It's a really great feeling when you catch a fish and then when you show it to your dad," 12-year old Joseph Pulchinski of Pound says. "and he says I wish I caught that one."
There were 219 muskies caught over the weekend. And for the first time in the open's history, a woman took home the top prize.
Michelle Peplinski of Bear Creek was all smiles after the tournament. "It was a great way to end the summer."
BOULDER JUNCTION - Pilots find very little room for error when they make a landing. Wings, flaps, and landing gear all need to work properly. Then there's the runway itself, which needs to be flat and smooth.
So, when pilots found ruts and divots torn into the grass runway at Boulder Junction's airport, folks were more than upset, they were worried about safe landings. Airfield president Jeff Long thinks someone used a pickup truck to do the damage. It happened right before the airfield's busiest weekend of the year, the Musky Day fly-in.
"To see somebody disregard that, disrespect that, and then again the safety, where somebody could get hurt that we're inviting up here for summer fun, doesn't make you feel very good," Long said.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander and Oneida County will consider borrowing $15 million to help develop a manufacturer in Rhinelander, according to an Oneida County Economic Development Corporation release Tuesday.
The money would help Rhinelander Coated Products start work inside the former Printpack building on Kemp Street.
MADISON - New state regulations designed to retain teachers are going into effect.
The package was published Tuesday. The provisions allow retired teachers or teachers nearing retirement to apply for a nonrenewable five-year license without submitting a professional development plan. They also increase the time that short-term substitute teachers can serve in the same assignment from 20 days to 45 days.
THREE LAKES - Pollinators play an essential role in the growth of plants, and it's not just bees that help pollinate.
Butterflies, bats, and even mosquitoes are pollinators, but those populations have been in decline in recent years.
"Across the U.S., pollinators have been seeing big declines," said Oneida County Conservationist Michele Sadauskas. "We've been hearing more and more about our honeybee pollinations. The monarch populations have had dramatic decreases. So we're seeing it across the board."
EAGLE RIVER - Cities across the Northwoods drop tens of thousands of dollars every winter on crack sealing roads. The Eagle River Airport is no different. The airport spent about $25,000 in 2016 patching up its main runway.
Arguably, that runway is even older than most roads people drive on. The runway was last redone in 1971. On a busy day, the 5,000-foot runway hosts upwards of 80 takeoffs and landings. Airport manager Rob Hom showed Newswatch 12 a number of places where the pavement is buckling and cracked. That can lead to dangerous landings for small planes.
"Relative to a car or a truck [a prop-powered airplane is] pretty light relatively speaking, so having a smooth runway is imperative," Hom said.
CRANDON - For some Northwoods families, it can be hard to find the money to pay for their kids' school supplies every year, but a back-to-school program in Forest County is giving children the supplies they need to succeed.
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