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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight - Eagle River Derby recap Jan 22Submitted: 01/22/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas


EAGLE RIVER - Tomahawk native Nick Van Strydonk won the world championship in 2012. He knows Eagle River is the place to be.

"You can't put it into words," Van Strydonk said. "It's its own special feeling."

Amateur sno cross racer Lance Rutledge of Rhinelander adds, "The adrenaline rush you get, especially in that last lap, it all comes into play."

Speed, adversity and triumph, Derby Weekend had it all - including talented local drivers.


"We do it for the fans," Van Strydonk adds. "We're not out here to make money. We're not out here to prove anything to the guys we race against. We're out here for the fans, we like to put on a show and have fun."

It wasn't just the guys tearing it up. 17 year old Sabrina Blanchet from Quebec set out to become the first female to qualify for the final race, but she had a tough weekend.

"It's disappointing but I'm not mad or upset," Blanchet explained. "The team does a lot of work to give me the best machine they can. We'll come back and try to do it all over again."

Another tradition that dates back to the early years is the Derby Queen. Northland Pines hockey star Jessica Roach won that honor for 2014.

"It's definitely awesome being part of the derby," Roach said. "We're a big hockey town but the Derby is what people look forward to in the winter."

The sleds that race out here aren't like anything you'd see on a trail. They're hand built from the ground up and hits speeds up to 100 miles per hour on the track.

In the end, it was Malcolm Chartier winning the granddaddy of them all... and becoming a back to back champ.

"We did our homework, Chartier explained. "We did it last year and tried to replicate what we did last year and did it again."

"To be able to live in a little town like Eagle River and have a business because there's not that much other tourism it's just very gratifying," Eagle River Derby Track Marketing Manager Richard Decker adds. "It's a lot of hard work but believe me, everything is worth it. We love it."


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - Some parents start to leave their kids home alone around nine years old, but that can make parents very nervous.

Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center held its 21st Lincoln County Safety Day Camp for Kids today in Merrill to help ease those fears.

The camp is specifically geared toward children that are ages 8-11 years old.

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MERRILL - Merrill may get a new grandstand by next summer.

On Monday the city sent out proposal requests for companies to bid on.

The grandstand will go in the Lincoln County Fairgrounds near the location of the old grandstand. That was destroyed in 2011 by a tornado. It sat about 1,800 people on benches, and city leaders said those seats were uncomfortable.

The new grandstand will fit between 2,500 and 3,000 people on stadium seating and benches with backs "to provide a much nicer venue for events," said Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson. 

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/04/2015

- Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says he is still considering what steps to take next in reaction to new Obama administration rules designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants.

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

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NORTHERN WISCONSIN - Many colleges across Wisconsin ban tobacco on campus. Now, Northcentral Technical College can join that group.

As of August 1st, all NTC campuses ban tobacco on campus, including chewing tobacco and E-cigarettes. NTC staff sees this as a way to protect student health.

"As we looked at the overall wellness of our students, staff, and our visitors, we felt like that shift was a positive shift to make," said NTC Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan. "But we made that shift with the intention of also offering resources and services to those students and staff who are interested in quitting the use of tobacco."

The change got rid of designated smoking zones. NTC staff says student feedback has been positive so far.

"Students appreciate the fact that they don't have to walk through smoke or see the tobacco use on campus," said Sullivan. "Obviously there are some students who have questions and we've been dealing with those students individually, offering to have conversations with them to get their feedback, because we think everybody's feedback is important."

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MERRILL - Scheduling likely helped the Lincoln County Fair draw more people this year than last.

The fair took place July 22-26.

Last year, the fair was held the same weekend as the Wisconsin Valley Fair in Wausau.

That changed this year—event organizers think it drew more than 20,000 people. That's based on a parking survey. 

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RHINELANDER - Families who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC, should soon have more flexibility when shopping.

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MADISON - The state Department of Natural Resources plans to unveil a new endangered species license plate.

The plate features a photograph of an eagle. DNR officials say the design was chosen from more than 2,000 entries from photographers.

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