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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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They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

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Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


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