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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods Spotlight - State-bound youth basketball teams - Mar 19Submitted: 03/19/2014
Story By Joe Dufek


RHINELANDER - You don't have to be in college to be part of March Madness. Young teams from Northland Pines and Rhinelander received invites to their version of the Big Dance.

"Our team has done very well, considering we weren't as good last year," Alex Fortier of Rhinelander's 5th Grade Team explains. "We've changed a lot and now we're going to state."

"All the kids are looking up to the March Madness people, the college players," Northland Pines 6th grade player Ryan Peterson adds. "But now we get to have our own tournament that's this big too."


More than 700 boys and girls teams from 5th through 8th grade will play in the Wisconsin State Invitational Championship Tournament.

"The jitters of the bigger gymnasiums, the big crowds- it's exciting," Northland Pines head coach Jim Swenson said.

This will be the Eagles second time at state. Several of them got a taste of the high level of competition last year.

"I was kind of happy, kind of nervous because last year we didn't do very good," Northland Pines player Joe Misina admits.

The boys had a scrimmage Monday night. Both squads saw it as an chance to improve.

It's becoming more and more important for young athletes to have opportunities like this. They need experiences on a big stage to prepare them for high school competition.

"The only way we're going to prepare these kids is to start them out now," Rhinelander head coach Todd McEldowney explains. "And not to play against poor competition but to play against the best kids we can. Because that's how they're going to improve."

Other teams taking part include Antigo and Merrill's 5th grade girls teams, Medford and D.C. Everest in 8th grade girls, and Rhinelander and Wittenberg-Birnamwood's 8th grade boys teams.

It runs March 29th through April 13th throughout the state. Appleton, Stevens Point, and Wausau are among several cities hosting the tournament.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

WOOD COUNTY - A two car crash in Wood County hurt six people Saturday afternoon.

It happened at the intersection of County Highway B and X in the township of Wood.

The car on County Highway B didn't yield to the car on X.

A 16 year old girl was brought to the hospital by helicopter.

12 and 10 year old girls went by ambulance.

The crash is still being investigated.

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TOMAHAWK - It might not seem like spring yet.

But some people in Tomahawk spent Saturday preparing for when they can start fishing again.

They did that today by taking a class at Treehaven.

They learned how to tie their own flies to use for fly fishing.

"Everyone gets excited this time of year when the snow starts to melt, you start to see some open water and what better way to prepare by tying flies and start the fishing off with a good full box of flies," says class instructor Austin Noring.

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TOMAHAWK - The Tomahawk Elementary School hosted its first spring carnival this year. Our Sister's House, a homeless shelter being built in Tomahawk, organized the event.

"We decided to do kind of a fun theme just to kind of get our name out there a little bit, and involve the public. So we decided to do a mini carnival," said Our Sister's House President Bernice Duchac.

The event kicks off spring break, and kids seemed to think it was a great start to their break.

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VILAS COUNTY - A fire destroyed a Vilas County house Saturday afternoon.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office got a call about the fire in the Township of Winchester.

The woman who was in the house got out safely with her pet.

She was brought to the hospital but she doesn't have any major injuries.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office says the fire isn't suspicious.

It's still being investigated.

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RHINELANDER - Local businesses will do a lot do prepare for Saturday's Badger game.

That means buying extra supplies and getting ready to serve more customers.

Aaron Schultz owner of Big Daddy's Bar in Rhinelander says preparing for events like this is extremely important for local business owners.

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RHINELANDER - An ongoing drug investigation led to the arrest of five people in Rhinelander earlier this week.

Investigators believe 40-year-old Michael Steinmetz, Jr. and 38-year-old Jaime Rickert were making meth in their Rhinelander apartment.

According to the criminal complaint, Steinmetz admitted to investigators that he made meth and dumped the waste in the toilet in his apartment.

+ Read More

IRON COUNTY - Gogebic Taconite made official its decision to stop pursuing a mine in northern Wisconsin.

This week, the company withdrew its pre-application for an iron mine east of Mellen.

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