RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander High School volleyball team did something unprecedented for their program last year: win a conference championship.
Their quest to repeat in the Great Northern Conference got off to a good start Tuesday night at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium, as the Hodags defeated Lakeland in four games.
Three players had double-digit kills for Rhinelander. The Hodags were forced to rally back from a game one defeat to take the 18-25, 25-15, 25-21, 27-25 victory.
The Thunderbirds used a string of nine straight points to pull ahead and put away the opening game.
"We started out really slow, really tight, being our first game at home, especially some of the younger players. It took us a little too long to get into it and we gave away game one," said Rhinelander coach Paul Mildebrandt after the match.
But then the Hodags got going. Rhinelander eased into an offensive and defensive comfort zone to win game two and reverse the momentum.
"We started reading some of their transitions and their weapons a little bit better," Mildebrandt said.
Rhinelander also used some well-placed serves to their advantage. For the match, the Hodags tallied 14 service aces.
The home team ripped off nine points in a row in game three to take a commanding lead, but the Thunderbirds clawed back to tie it at 21-21. Then, Rhinelander flipped the momentum once again, putting away the final four points.
That surge carried over to game four, when the Hodags won the first five points. But Lakeland mounted another comeback, and claimed a 18-16 lead late in the game. After working their way back to a 22-22 tie, Rhinelander squandered two opportunities to end the match before finally putting Lakeland away.
Brianna Gilbert led the Hodags with 16 kills. Returning first-team all-conference selection Katie Berrell added 14, and Riley Aschenbrenner chipped in with ten.
Before the match, RHS athletic director Brian Paulson welcomed back longtime Hodags coach Kathy Wawrzynowicz in a special ceremony. Wawrzynowicz had been tending to an emotional family illness and death, but has made her way back into the program on a limited basis.
"This summer has been really hard on her. But being part of this volleyball program is part of her healing process," Mildebrandt said.
The Hodags next travel to Beaver Dam for a Saturday invitational. They return to Great Northern Conference action next Tuesday, visiting Northland Pines.
RHINELANDER - Emergency first responders save lives and build trust in the community.
And now the Rhinelander Police Department has a new member to do that.
They swore in the new officer Friday morning.
Mark Raddatz and his family gathered at the Rhinelander City Hall for the ceremony.
Raddatz is excited to be in Rhinelander and to make a positive impact in the community.
"I think it's very important for people to know what we do and how involved we are with the community and how much good we do. A lot of times people don't see us doing all the behind the scenes things and good acts," said Raddatz.
Raddatz is the 17th member on the police force, making the department full again. That addition will help with involvement around town as well.
"We have the ability to do extra programming out in the community. Our officers have more time to spend building more positive relationships within the community, instead of just reacting to calls," said Police Chief Michael Steffes.
Raddatz has worked in other departments across Wisconsin and he's looking forward to being in Rhinelander.
RHINELADER - During the summer months, camps look forward to welcoming campers and counselors.
They certainly don't look forward to those hot and humid days that make it hard to enjoy being outdoors.
This week, Rhinelander's Camp Birchrock has focused on keeping their campers cool all day long.
"We've been getting in the water, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Doing a lot of fun things to keep us cool," said 11-year-old Genevion Boid.
This is his first year as a camper at Birchrock.
Camp Director Johanna Sommers says the heat hasn't stopped them from doing any activities, but they do remain mindful of the sun.
"We make sure that they're drinking water all day," Sommers said. "Water bottles are a must and sunscreen, especially. We put it on every hour at least."
Luckily at the camp there's a lot of shade created by trees, giving the campers and counselors some relief from all of that heat. In a lot of areas around the camp, they also have water fountains.
In addition to keeping the campers hydrated, counselors also make sure to limit time in the sun.
"We do a little bit less of hiking and sports field activities, because the sports field is kind of open to the sun," Sommers said. "We try not to do too much out there just so they don't get overheated and over exhausted."
12-year-old Eleanor Domnick says she doesn't mind the heat. It gives her a chance to enjoy the outdoors.
"It's really fun to go swimming and just go in the play field and hang out with your friends," Domnick said.
The campers at Camp Birchrock are sure enjoying staying cool, while also having some fun.
The camp offers overnight sessions and regular day camp programs every summer.
MADISON - State attorneys have asked a federal judge to stay a ruling allowing people to vote without photo identification pending an appeal.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee issued a preliminary injunction this week allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explain why they couldn't get the identification.
LANGLADE COUNTY - A dead crow found in Langlade County last week tested positive for West Nile virus. It's the first crow to test positive in Langlade County since surveillance started for the virus on May 1.
The Langlade County Health Department wants people to be more careful when trying to prevent mosquito bites. The virus is spread to humans through infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes get the virus from infected birds.
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