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Northwoods Spotlight - Deer hunters struggle on opening weekend Nov 27Submitted: 11/27/2013
Story By Joe Dufek


- Cold.

Quiet.

Those two words best describe last week's opening weekend of deer hunting. It wasn't just the Northwoods struggling. Every county in the state was down from last year's totals. Several factors caused the drop.

"With winds gusting near 20 m.p.h. people were not sitting in the woods as long," DNR wildlife technician Eric Borchart explains. "Also our dder numbers are lower than a year ago."


The harsh spring suffered this year was the cause of that.

According to preliminary numbers from the DNR, Oneida, Lincoln, Langlade, and Florence coutnies were among many in the area which had a drop of between 26 - and 47%. Vilas county only suffered a 10% drop in the number of deer kills. Iron county saw one of the highlest drops in the state - 61%. In all - Wisconsin had a drop of 17.8 percent.

But that doesn't mean everyone was getting skunked. Steve Schultz of Twin Lakes knocked down an 8-pointer on Sunday in Marathon County.

Derek Storms of Shiocton shot a one-pointer near Three Lakes on Saturday.

"I call it a unicorn," Storms jokes. "Becasue it's only got one spike. Not a traditional spike buck. A mystical creature."

The nine-day season wraps up on Sunday.

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ANTIGO - When the Kretz family started the Kretz Lumber Company here in Antigo in 1929, they built part of the original saw mill with hemlock that grew near the property.  Now, a piece of hemlock far older than that serves as a bit of the company's rich history.  

On the south side of the property outside the so-called "Cabin" stands an eight-foot-tall hemlock log.  A ginseng farmer in Bryant dug it up while plowing a field and thought it looked old.

UW-Madison carbon dated the log and discovered it's 1,200 to 1,600 years old.  That's from about the time the Vikings started raiding Europe.

"A lot of people go back in their mind and they try to think back through history and what it would've been like," Kretz Lumber President Troy Brown said.  "So that's kind of the fun part and it brings up conversations like that."

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ANTIGO - World-class athletes hope to etch their names into the history books during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. But all the hard work isn't done by the athletes alone.

"I'm just going to focus on what I'm there for and that's to do the best I can for my athletes," said Antigo native Dr. Curt Draeger.

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MADISON - A federal judge has refused to stay his order allowing Wisconsin residents to vote without photo identification while state attorneys appeal the decision.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee issued a preliminary injunction this month allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explaining why they couldn't get the identification.

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WAUSAU - A 43-year-old Marathon County man will go to prison for more than a decade for incest after being convicted in Marathon County court Friday.

Micheal Mayville was originally charged with multiple charges of incest and 2nd degree sexual assault in two separate cases. Those assault charges were ultimately dismissed.

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CRANDON - Nearly 200 vendors will make their way to Crandon this weekend for the annual Kentuck Day Festival.

Among them is a former nationally ranked snow-cross racer turned peanut brittle chef.

22-year-old Stephanie Schmidt used to race snowmobiles competitively.

Now, she uses ingredients like sugar and peanuts to land her in the winner's circle.

"The younger generation doesn't know what it is and it's really good," said Schmidt. "It's a shame that people don't know what it is and it's really fun to make."

She has spent the last couple of days preparing her famous peanut brittle to sell at the festival.
 
At last year's festival, she nearly ran out within the first few hours and had to make about 90lbs total in just one day.

"We're preparing way more than we did last year and I hope to have like 150 to 200 bags ready to go," said Schmidt.

All the money Stephanie makes from the peanut brittle goes towards her history graduate degree at UW-Milwaukee.

Stephanie is hoping to make nearly $700 from sales Saturday.

The Kentuck Day Festival will take place Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

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LANGLADE COUNTY - It's a long season for the carnival.

"21 weeks of summer," said A + P Enterprise Manager Pauline Kedrowicz.

From May to September, A + P Enterprise based near Stevens Point puts on carnivals in Wisconsin. This weekend it's at the Langlade County Fair.

Kedrowicz was a kid when her parents started the company in the 60s.

"We lived in a small travel trailer with bunk beds in the back," said Kedrowicz.

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RHINELANDER - North Brown Street is now open and parking is also available. It has parallel parking spots and angled spots. Restaurants have already noticed an increase in business after the street opened late last week.

"We had very good business this weekend. We were very glad that before Friday they were opened. They opened the roads so our Friday Fishfry was back to its normal pace," said Bucketheads server Ashley Hull.

"Last weekend when it opened up, of course it was packed out front. Everyone's using it and I think everyone's getting used to the new parallel and angled parking. I know it was a big shock for everyone that it was going to happen, but everyone's embracing it and getting used to it," said Rhinelander Café & Bar co-owner Brooke Johnson.

The Davenport Street Bridge is still closed, but it's getting closer to opening. Once that happens, downtown will be even easier to access for people coming from the west side of town.

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