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Northwoods Spotlight - Former Olympic skier Chris CookSubmitted: 02/05/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas

Northwoods Spotlight - Former Olympic skier Chris Cook
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."


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERCER -
People knew "Bike the Heart" as Vilas County's bike trail system.

Now that's changing as Mercer is now a part of "Bike the Heart."

That means the entire trail is more than 50 miles long!

But you'll have to wait until next month for Mercer's piece to be totally paved.

"It's been going for a long time. To be the last sort of Northern point of the trail for now, we are honored and excited about it," says Mercer Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Wetzler.

There is a passcard you can use to visit the different chambers and businesses along the route.

Once you get a stamp in each area, you can win a prize!

"In September we will do a drawing and will draw five names. Each person that is drawn will win a 100 dollar prize package from one of the communities along Bike the Heart," says Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Theresa Smith.

You have until September 3rd to get all of your stamps.

Theresa also says they hope to extend Boulder Junction's trail from Hwy. H to Hwy. K to keep people off the road and onto a trail.

She says call the Boulder Junction for more info on how you can help donate to the cause.

For more info, click below.

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MADISON - Only white men have served as governor in Wisconsin. It's a track record that three Democrats are looking to shatter this year.

Two women, Kelda Roys and Kathleen Vinehout, and one black man, Mahlon Mitchell, could make history if they win the primary and defeat Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The other seven Democratic candidates are white men, just like every other governor in Wisconsin history.

Wisconsin is one of 28 states where at least one woman is expected to run for governor. Mitchell is one of at least eight black candidates running for governor nationwide.

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MADISON (AP) - Madison is ending its compost collection program because residents were putting too many non-compostable items in their carts and the city can't afford its own biodigester.

Bryan Johnson is the city's recycling coordinator. He tells The Wisconsin State Journal that ending the program will give officials time to study other options for collecting food scraps and other compostable materials.

The program currently has about 1,100 households and 40 businesses involved.

Johnson says separating non-compostable materials is a labor-intensive and slow process that requires additional water. The digester's operator, GL Dairy Biogas, charges a $200-per-ton fee to separate debris from compostable material.

Mayor Paul Soglin says he hopes the city can find ways to work with larger producers before integrating the process into the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District.

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GRAND RAPIDS - Saturday afternoon a boat crash in Wood County caused multiple injuries according to DNR Conservation Warden Korey Trowbridge.

The single boat crash happened around 12:30 p.m. on Lake Wazeecha in Grand Rapids. Five people were on board when the boat collided with the shore line.

Multiple people were transported to a hospital for their injuries. The extent of those injuries is unknown.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department, the Grand Rapids Police Department and the DNR are all investigating the crash. 

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RHINELANDER - It took a local author 30 years to publish his book.Jay Woolf was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or CLL. He decided to use his pain from the disease to help others cope.

Woolf is from Winchester, Wisconsin. He started writing the book "It IS a Laughing Matter," when he was diagnosed with cancer 30 years ago. He just finished the book last year.

"Every death joke that I knew, started coming to mind and every time it came out I realized it was helping me. If it helps me, maybe it could help somebody else," said Woolf. 

Woolf wanted to use his jokes to help people.He sells his books and also does talks at local libraries. Woolf has been in remission for about 17 years.


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WOODRUFF - A Northwoods coffee shop known for its food truck operation recently found a permanent location. The Milky Way Coffee Company had the grand opening of its new shop in Woodruff Sunday.

The new coffee house is inside the Lakeland Plaza which sits on the corner of Highway 51 and Townline Road. The two sisters who own the company converted what was once a bank into a coffee shop.

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EAGLE RIVER - A week long workshop in Eagle River shows students they're not alone in their passion for nature. Kids from all over the Midwest arrived at the Trees for Tomorrow campsite for the first day of The Natural Resources Career Workshop.

Out of towners visit the Northwoods to escape noise, and enjoy some peace and quiet. 

"I just like being out in nature instead of one of those people playing video games constantly," said 16-year-old Austin Shimeck.

The Natural Resources Career Workshop turned the benefits of visiting the Northwoods into a classroom. 

"Giving them the experience that some of these students may not have had," said Trees for Tomorrow Coordinator Vernon Gentele. 
 
High school students from all over the mid-west came to the camp to explore the unique environment. 

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