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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight - Tuscobia Winter Ultra Jan 1Submitted: 01/01/2014
Story By Joe Dufek

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SAWYER COUNTY, PRICE COUNTY - Many marathons and bike races take place in the summer. But imagine competing in an ultra-marathon in the snow. Last weekend, folks in Sawyer and Price Counties were doing just that.

In just it's fifth year, the Tuscobia Winter Ultra is growing into quite a wintertime event. Racers have the choice of running, skiing, or biking along the Tuscobia Trail.

Organizer: "When we took over organizing it three years ago," race co-director Chris Scotch explains, "we had roughly 40 people. This year around 150 are taking part. More than three times that."


The trail was used heavily by railroads to move logs to Chippewa Falls and other places. Folks also road the rails on the line until it shut down in the 1960s. Today it's part of the state's many trails for hiking, biking, and riding snowmobiles.

Ron Petit of the Friends of Tuscobia Trail says, "It's an enduring sport. You have people camping along the trail. They get hardcore."

Regardless of how racers where competing, everyone seems to have a reason to enjoy hitting the Tuscobia Trail.

Rhinelander native Kristin Palecek is skiing it for the first time. She's using this as a chance to get ready to ski the American Birkebiner later this year.

"Just like to see the snow off the trees, the nice weather. It's nice to race close to home."

Some just wanted to experience a winter race for the first time.

Milwaukee's Linda Britz calls it, "a wonderful adventure. Can you do this? I just thinks it's really neat to see if you can survive the elements."

Others it's not so much about the race, but spending time with family and friends.

Butch Piontek of Wabeno and his son Justin are biking it together.

"Racing together for 7-8 years. Started snow-biking heavily last year. Good to spend time with my son."

Racers had the choice of either competing in 35, 75, or 150 miles.


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Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS
Downtown Rhinelander debuts Holiday Open House SaturdaySubmitted: 11/21/2014

RHINELANDER - The opening of the gun deer season often leaves wives and girlfriends at home on their own.

Downtown Rhinelander hopes it can attract many of those women, and maybe even some men, to get started on holiday shopping.

The first-ever Holiday Open House on Saturday will feature sales, special events, and demonstrations at several businesses.

Its timing falls perfectly with the hunting season.

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Wisconsin faces $2.2 billion budget shortfall Submitted: 11/21/2014

MADISON - Governor Scott Walker's administration says Wisconsin faces a $2.2 billion budget shortfall by mid-2017, a problem that will have to be tackled by the Republican-controlled Legislature next year as Walker is building his resume for a potential presidential run.

The estimate released Thursday by the state Department of Administration is required under the law. It takes into account spending requests made by state agencies for the next two years.

The figures will be further refined by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.

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Wisconsin Chippewa band joins effort to return reservation land to tribal ownershipSubmitted: 11/21/2014

ODANAH - An American Indian band in northern Wisconsin will join an effort to get land on reservations returned to tribal ownership.

The U.S. Interior Department says the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe will join the program.

It's among 21 Indian communities in 12 states that will become part of the land buyback program by 2017.

That brings the number of locations in the program to 42.

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Lincoln County boasts high HPV vaccine numbersSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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MERRILL - One Northwoods County sits near the top of the list when it comes to vaccinating for HPV.

The Human Papillomavirus can cause certain types of cancer, like cervical cancer.

A vaccine for the virus came out in 2006.

Lincoln County had an HPV campaign running this summer.

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Update: Paper mill death caused by blunt force trauma to headSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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MOSINEE - A 55-year-old man died from blunt force to the head at a Mosinee Paper mill on Monday, according to a statement released Thursday from the Mosinee Police Department.

An autopsy shows that severe trauma to his head and chest injuries contributed to Matthew C. Ament's death.

He was installing insulation on the outside of the Expera Specialty Solutions paper mill on Monday.

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DNR expect fewer donated deer this yearSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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NORTHWOODS - The Wisconsin Deer Donation program needs help from hunters this fall. The program lets hunters donate their deer to help feed those in need. Experts are concerned that the winter weather could cut into the number of deer kills this season. DNR managers think it will be difficult to find and hunt them.

"This year it's looking a little lean, especially in the north," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz. "With this deep snow, it's changed the deer behavior and it's going to change hunter behavior too. So I wouldn't be surprised if we saw that our donations were down this year under the circumstances."

Donating takes three simple steps: you register your kill, field dress the deer, and then you take it to a DNR approved processing center. The venison is then ground-up, frozen, and shipped to local pantries, as well as people in need. One meat market owner and program volunteer feels the impact of fewer deer.

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Drew's Piggly Wiggly welcoming new ownersSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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MERRILL - The Drew family will pass its Piggly Wiggly grocery store on to a new family soon.

Brothers Steve and Phil Drew own Drew's Piggly Wiggly in Merrill.

Their family has had a grocery store in Merrill since 1944.

They've owned the Piggly Wiggly for 25 years.

For the Drews, it's always been about family.

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