PEARSON - Most pet owners describe dogs as mans best friend, but to a group of sledders, dogs are their companion in competition.
Dogs pulled sled drivers through trails in Pearson Saturday morning. Trainers like Beth Castaldi say it's usually not cold enough to train dogs in the fall.
That's why the dryland races are miles shorter than snow races.
"We keep the mileage down, so we are not over working our dogs," Castaldi said. "So by the time January comes, when we are ready to run the longer races, they've a lot more training miles and they are in better condition."
Most trainers start running with their dogs when they're pups. Then they use ATV's and bicycles to train the dogs when they get older. But Castaldi says they keep a balance so they don't over work the dogs.
"You want to keep that incredible enthusiasm in the dog so that they want to run," Castaldi said. "You don't want them to be muscle sore or you don't want them to be like, oh I ran yesterday, I don't really want to run today, you know that kind of an attitude."
More than 80 teams competed at the Dirty Dog Dryland Derby. The Wisconsin Trailblazers Sled Dog Club will have another dry race in Wausau on November 16th.
HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.
The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."
The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.
Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander factory that makes smoke flavoring caught fire early Monday morning.
Shortly before 6:00 a.m., Rhinelander, Crescent and Newbold Fire Departments responded to a fire at Red Arrow Products on Rhinelander's west side.
An employee says there were about eight workers inside at the time.
No one was injured.
"Flames were coming out of a conveyor area as high as the roof. We made an interior attack and knocked that flame down. Came in from the other side of the partition wall, then made another interior attack and knocked that down," says Chief Terry Williams.
As of 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters were still working to make sure the flames were out.
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