RHINELANDER - If you can believe it, the Olympic games are almost here. Competition begins Thursday. It's also the perfect time to remind everyone that a former Olympian calls Rhinelander home.
Putting on skis is second nature for Chris Cook. The Rhinelander native started racing when he was just 3 years old. In high school, he became focused on seeing where the journey could take him.
"I really wanted to do everything to pursue professional athletics," Cook explained. "I went to Northern Michigan University and wanted to win a national title there - which I did. It put me on the U.S. developmental team, the U.S. ski team. It was step by step."
Cook continued to heat up the trails becoming the US Nationals Sprint Champ at the age of 25. His talent and drive landed him at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino.
"The opening ceremonies, walking in with the entire team was an eye-opening moment," Cook adds. "That was a dream-realized moment."
Having been to the games himself, Chris has a lot of insight into how this years athletes are preparing, both physically and mentally.
"I'm good friends with Andy Newell," Cook said. "This is his third games. He's focused on a medal. For the rookie, it's a little bit different. (It's) your first games. It's trying not to let the media and all of the hoopla of the games affect you."
Cook retired from competition two years ago. He has mixed feelings about being a spectator this time around.
"I miss the racing," Cook said. "I don't miss the training, but I miss the racing. But I do enjoy watching the racing and supporting the guys who are there."
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.
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.
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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