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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

MILWAUKEE - A New Jersey woman who was hit by a baseball during batting practice before a Brewers game in 2014 has now sued the team.

Dana Morelli of Glendora, New Jersey, claims the Brewers and their insurance company were negligent because they didn't provide an adequate barrier. The 47-year-old says they also didn't give fans proper warning about the danger of foul balls.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/2ckeI4K ) Morelli suffered multiple injuries when a ball hit her below the eye.

The lawsuit was filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court earlier this month.

The Milwaukee Brewers declined to comment, saying they do not discuss pending litigation.

Morelli is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Sunday morning, Lac du Flambeau welcomed a new event to the community.

The first Carry the Torch 5K and kids' run took place at the Lake of the Torches Casino.

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MADISON - The state of Wisconsin paid an estimated $9.7 million in one-time bonuses or various pay increases for state workers in fiscal year 2016.

An analysis by the Wisconsin State Journal found the payments went to 4,638 workers, roughly 15 percent of the state's workforce.

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MILWAUKEE -  The attorney for a man suspected of plotting to attack a Masonic center in Milwaukee has asked for eight weeks to review evidence against his client.

Samy Mohamed Hamzeh was charged in January with five counts of illegally possessing two machine guns and a silencer.

Prosecutors said Friday that they have turned over 116 CDs of evidence, including conversations with informants that needed to be translated from Arabic to English.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/2bv4UU9 ) the 24-year-old Hamzeh has remained in custody. He was in court Friday, but did not speak.

Prosecutors say he plotted to attack a Masonic center in downtown Milwaukee, and allegedly toured the center and practiced at a shooting range.

Hamzeh's supporters and his mother have said he was set up by the FBI.

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According to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office, police got a call about a crash at the intersection of County Highway N and County Highway Y in the Town of Norrie.

Crews took the three hurt people to Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Police will not yet release the names.

The accident reconstruction team will investigate.

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TOMAHAWK - For many kids back to school shopping means new books and backpacks for the first day of school.

However, for some parents the money and time spent shopping can add up.

"I'm going to end up all over this entire store just trying to find all the stuff that they need," said mother Deanna Sukow.

Sukow and her three children have a long shopping trip ahead of them. With a daughter in elementary school, a son in middle school, and another son entering high school. She knows just how expensive back to school shopping can be.

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