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Granite Peak ski and snowboard season starts this weekendSubmitted: 11/14/2013
Story By Dan McKinney


RIB MOUNTAIN - Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau started making snow two weeks ago. Starting saturday skiers and snowboarders can start using the hill.

It's 7 a.m. at the Granite Peak Ski Area and the day is just starting for Matt Howe.

"Love being out in the elements," says Matt Howe, snowmaker at Granite Peak.

He's a veteran snowmaker whose hand guides the snow cat like he's playing a videogame.

"You got to kind of shave it I guess is the way I like to do it," says Howe.

"We make piles, and then we push it around and that's how we make the corduroy," says Howe.

Rib Mountain has more than 70 runs.

Matt shapes and builds them throughout the season.

"We got a variety of terrain here so it kind of suits everybody," says Howe.

Before Matt shapes the snow, he has to make it.

"The cold weather it kind of gets the blood going, you know I mean work hard all summer trying to get everything ready and that's what we work for is this time of year," says Howe.

This time of year is busy for snowmakers at Granite Peak.

The season starts in 2 days.

"This is my favorite part of the job, this is what I live for all year round is to be in the cat and push snow and build runs," says Howe.

This ski and snowboard season Granite Peak is set to produce more than 40 inches of man-made snow but of course there always looking for a little help from Mother Nature.




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 IN OTHER NEWS

WAUSAU - During a national push to prescribe fewer painkillers, a new Wisconsin proposal appeared that it would let chiropractors prescribe prescription drugsâ€"including painkillers.

After speaking with one of the bill's authors, that notion is not at all true. 

John Murray, the executive director of the Wisconsin Chiropractic Association, which supports the bill, said it was never the bill's intention to include narcotics, or any drugs not related to neuro-muscular skeletal healing. The bill is in its early stages, having had a co-sponsor hearing on Tuesday, and future drafts of the bill will not have that broad language. 

"It is the position of the WCA that going forward that was never the intention and that's not the intention going forward to have opioids and highly addictive schedules to be part of this," Murray said. 

What the bill is meant for, he said, is to allow chiropractorsâ€"with 60 credit hours of additional education and hours of clinical trainingâ€"to be able to prescribe non-narcotic pain medication, such as muscle relaxants or steroids. This they could do instead of referring their patients out to a medical doctor for such prescriptions, as all chiropractors do now. He said this would make it more convenient for the patient and better that they see the same doctor for a medication instead of two. 

"It's not that we think referring out to other providers is a bad thing," Murray said. "But there are situations in which a patient comes in and has something that a chiropractor with proper training could treat in the short term with some pharmaceutical intervention."

Not all chiropractors agree with this bill despite its clarifications. 

Dr. Scott Bautch, D.C., of Bautch Chiropractic in Wausau, wants to stay true to being "the non-drug option" to health care. 

He would rather continue referring his patients out to medical doctors.  He presented on behalf of the Chiropractic Society of Wisconsin, which does not support the bill, at the bill's hearing in Madison on Tuesday. 

"I'm going to counsel people on what they eat, I'm going to counsel people on how they move, I'm going to counsel people on what they think," Bautch said. "But if we need to have help with something your body can't heal, I'll refer you out. In my 33 years plus of practice, I've not had a problem. And if I've had to send a patient out because the pain was so unretractable, it's not been a difficult situation at all. If I call them that day, I've had patients that we call, and they get them in in an hour."

Murray says it's up to each chiropractor in the state to decide how they want to practice.

"We have great respect for chiropractors who want to work that way," Murray said. "But there are chiropractors in the state who want to have those extra clinical tools and practice that way. It's about freedom of practice."

The bill still has a few legislative steps before, and if, it becomes law.


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EAGLE RIVER - A ranch in Eagle River will be giving back this summer while serving delicious food.

Kula Ranch is partnering with different charities, raising money through farm-to-table breakfasts.

Each Sunday morning breakfast will support a different charity. The meals will either be homemade with food from the farm or locally sourced.

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PRENTICE/OGEMA - Prentice High School senior Aubrey Edinger likes making art with all different kinds of materials. She makes pottery, oil paintings, acrylic paintings, and drawings, among other works.

But it was a sculpture with polymer clay that earned her all-conference recognition in a recent Northwoods art show. Her "Fight Scene" piece was selected as one of the best in the Marawood Conference.

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HILES - Community members got together to celebrate some students' hard work Thursday afternoon. Students from Crandon High School built a visitors' kiosk in Hiles.

There was a ribbon cutting Thursday to announce that the kiosk is officially open. About 15 students built the kiosk.

It features community events, trail maps, and more for everyone to use.

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AMHERST - The small town of Amherst recently broke ground on a project to replace its aging dam.

The dam was built on the Tomorrow River decades ago to power the local feed mill.

But now the Wisconsin DNR believes the structure does not meet it's 500-year flood criteria, so it gave the town a choice.

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MADISON - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he has obtained data that proves university tenure means jobs for life.

Vos released an email Thursday that UW System State Relations Director Jeff Schoenfeldt sent to his office this week in response to a request for historical tenure data. Schoenfeldt said that six tenured faculty have been dismissed for cause system-wide between 1996 and 2015.

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EAGLE RIVER - Inside a Northland Pines fitness room, the laughter comes a little easier than the exercises.

"By God, we have a good time," Denise Simon said with a laugh.

Twice weekly, more than a dozen women sweat, strain, and snicker their way through the Strong Women fitness program at the high school.  It's a lively atmosphere that Denise Simon says keeps her coming back.

"This is just as important physically and socially equally," Simon said.  "And then to be dropped into this group of women, there's where the gift is."

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