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

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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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/07/2015

- The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra made its nearly annual stop in Rhinelander Wednesday morning. The orchestra played 200-year-old music for grade school children, but the conductor says Beethoven connects people in ways no other music can. Hear some of the show from him tonight at 5.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Pelican Elementary School in Rhinelander started their first ever 'Strut for Fund' fun run Wednesday.

Student's family and friends pledge money based on how many laps the kids run around the playground.

The school then gets to use that money.

Organizers say the support is overwhelming in its first year.

"We're really excited, having this be our first year with the amount of support we're seeing with parents who have shown up, and with the enthusiasm in the kids," says Strut for Fund Coordinator Katie Lindner. "I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for all that they're doing to make this a success."

Students got an added treat to help encourage them.

The Hodag came out to help the kids get fired up.

"We had a pep rally [Tuesday]…and the kids were up out of their seats, yelling and cheering," says Lindner. "The Hodag was dancing with them, so they get really excited about it. I had one little boy that came up to me this morning and said 'This is the best day ever,' and was so excited."

Organizers also have other incentives for running like pizza parties and ice cream socials.

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The Wisconsin State Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1jdn78F ) the Supreme Court refused to take case on Monday with no comment. The case was among about 1,600 other cases the court declined to take up.

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MADISON - Republicans who control the state Assembly have introduced a bill that would reshape Wisconsin's campaign finance laws.

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Thirty-six-year-old Rockie Douglas of Beach Park is charged with murder, aggravated vehicular hijacking with a weapon and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

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MERRILL - The Merrill Police Department runs on the motto: "Serving Merrill With Pride." Tuesday, the people of Merrill returned the favor.

Every penny of the Friendship House Restaurant's proceeds from open to close went to the K-9 unit.

Eros, the German Shepherd, and his handler, Officer Matt Drabek, spent Tuesday afternoon at the restaurant along Highway 51 thanking customers and staff.

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