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Northwoods Spotlight - Snowmobile Derby recap Jan 22Submitted: 01/23/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas

Northwoods Spotlight - Snowmobile Derby recap Jan 22
EAGLE RIVER - Tomahawk's Nick Van Strydonk won the world championship in 2012. He knows
competing at Eagle River Derby Track is special.

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

Lance Rutledge is an amatuer sno cross racer from Rhinelander.

"The adrenaline rush you get, especially in that last lap, it all comes into
play," Rutledge adds.


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

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 explains. "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 said. "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," derby
track marketing manager Richard Decker points out. "It's a lot of hard work but
believe me, everything is worth it. We love it."


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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - A one-year-old baby was hospitalized in Rhinelander after digesting marijuana.

Twenty-one-year-old Anika Wildcat-Chapman was babysitting the one-year-old between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on August 5.

According to the criminal complaint, Wildcat-Chapman left the child with her mother to buy an edible marijuana cookie at a friend's house. 

When she returned home, Wildcat-Chapman left the cookie on top of the dishwasher.  

The child's parents picked up the child and later noticed the child was lethargic and not acting "normal." 

The parents brought the baby to St. Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander and the child tested positive for marijuana. 

The child was flown to a different hospital for further care.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River's annual Paul Bunyan Fest brings out thousands of people. This year was no exception. Organizers say about 3,000 people filled the streets of downtown Eagle River on Wednesday.

The 37th annual Paul Bunyan Fest featured chainsaw carving demonstrations, more than 80 arts and craft booths, and music.

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CRANDON - A Muskego man blew through a stop sign in Laona, then tried to run over a victim with his van last month, according to testimony in Forest County Court on Wednesday.

Nicholas Bland, 41, heard evidence against him on four felony charges.

One passenger in the van driven by Bland talked to police about chasing the victim.

"He had said they got pretty close," testified Forest County Sheriff's Deputy William Hujet. "When I asked him about pretty close, he just kind of said maybe a car length."

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RHINELANDER - You probably wouldn't consider a dark, smelly alley an ideal place to sit and relax.  Maggie Steffen agrees, which is why she's planning to transform an alley on Brown Street in Rhinelander.

Steffen plans to tackle the project in three phases.  Phase one is lighting the alley, which sits between The Brick restaurant and Bath and Body Creations.  Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. agreed to pay about $2,800 for five LED lights if the city  would pay for the electricity.  

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CRANDON - The lawyer for Sokaogon Chippewa Tribal Chair Chris McGeshick repeated that allegations of battery and false imprisonment are "absolutely false" at McGeshick's first appearance in Forest County Court Wednesday.

McGeshick faces one felony count and two misdemeanor counts in Forest County Court.

A former tribal member told police McGeshick slammed him against a wall at the Sokaogon Chippewa Tribal Offices in late June.

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RHINELANDER - DNR Furbearer Research Scientist Dr. Nathan Roberts calls bobcats "a conservation success story."
Their population numbers are up across the United States.

The DNR doubled the harvest quota this year at 750 bobcats because of that healthy population size.

"While the population's grown, we've also increased our understanding of bobcats considerably. Working together with hunters and trappers across the state we've increased our understanding of bobcats and our ability to monitor bobcats," said Roberts.

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RHINELANDER - Our nervous system controls the whole show when it comes to our bodies, especially how they feel.

Chiropractic care is one method people use to keep that system moving.

Hometown Chiropractic is new to Rhinelander, but it's no stranger to the Northwoods; its main location is in Tomahawk.


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