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


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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/08/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect in the Northwoods as lake effect snow falls across the area making traveling hazardous. We'll take you live to Minocqua and give you the latest on snow totals and road conditions.

We'll introduce you to a local baker who has made a name for himself on social media by turning holiday treats into healthy snacks.

And the task of recounting presidential ballots ended in Lincoln and Vilas Counties. We'll show you how the process went in those counties.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - We often bring you stories of efforts to fight aquatic invasive species in the Northwoods during the summer. It's tempting to think that invasives don't pose a problem during the winter.

But conservation workers want you to rethink that idea. Species like Eurasian watermilfoil don't simply wither underwater in the winter.

"Eurasian watermilfoil is considered a perennial. However, I consider it an evergreen. A lot of people do," said Oneida County AIS Coordinator Stephanie Boismenue. "The reason being is it's winter-hardy. It's capable to live and grow underneath the ice."

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MADISON - A Republican congressman who derided Wisconsin's capital city as a communist haven is not backing down from his comments even as those in the city that prides itself as being "77 square miles surrounded by reality" take offense.

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LANSING, MI - Michigan lawmakers may re-enact a wolf-hunting law declared unconstitutional by the state appeals court.

The Republican-led Senate voted 27-10 along party lines Thursday to define wolves as a game species and to authorize the state to designate game. The bill goes to the House.

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ANTIGO - With one of the coldest days of the season so far, most people probably chose to stay inside Wednesday.

But for people in Antigo it was the perfect day to get outside and cook up some chili.

Antigo held its annual chili cook-off. 

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ELCHO - If you pass through Elcho, you can't miss the hundreds of Christmas lights as you drive down Highway 45.

The Elcho Christmas staple is all thanks to a couple who spends weeks setting up the display, after they spend most of their time saving lives.

Carl Bloechl and Lissa Iwanoski are both EMTs. Carl is also a R.N. in Antigo.

For four years now, the couple sets up decorations at an office building off of Highway 45 in Elcho.

It takes a couple of weeks and they use their time in between shifts to get the job done.

"We just hope we don't get called. Sometimes we do get called and we just drop it all and leave it out here and go," said Bloechl.

The cold winter weather usually slows down the set up, but this year's warmer weather allowed the couple to enjoy the visitors earlier.

"It makes me feel good inside that they enjoy it too, because it is work," said Iwanowski.

The display will be on until the beginning of next year.

The lights stay on from around 4:00 p.m. through 11:00 p.m.



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SCHOFIELD - Choirs sang, bells rang, and teenagers like Claire Tomczik shed a few tears.

"It got me a little emotional," Tomczik said.

She and about 140 fellow D.C. Everest High School students went to a Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony in the school auditorium Wednesday morning -- 75 years to the day after the attacks happened -- by choice.

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