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 - Some schools give out movie tickets, pizza parties, or ice cream coupons for students with good grades and good behavior. We do things a little differently here in the Northwoods.
Twenty-two students from Northland Pines Middle School will enjoy a half-day of fishing with a local guide as a reward for their success in school. The "Guides for Grades" program rewarded students on Monday for setting a good example in the classroom.
Supporters of a second softball field at Pioneer Park in Rhinelander will need to wait for any decision on if those plans can move forward.
The Parks, Buildings and Grounds Committee decided Monday night to hold a public hearing in front of the full city council before deciding on whether it wants to accept the park plans.
The Rhinelander softball program hopes to build a second softball field at Pioneer Park just south of its existing field. The program would use about $50,000 from donations and fundraisers to build the new field. Softball coach D.J. DeMeyer tells Newswatch 12 the second field would allow the city to host upwards of 70 games a year, including RHS softball games, tournaments, and city recreation leagues.
But the new field would require cutting down nearly 10 trees and take up space routinely used by the fair and farmers' market. City Administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner says she's heard from plenty of people worried about space issues.
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