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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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/28/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We look into the history of the Eagle River man who was shot and killed by officers outside of Merrill Tuesday morning after he was pulled over in Antigo, shot at a police officer and lead police into a chase that took them to Lincoln County.

We'll introduce you to the founder of the Raptor Education Group in Antigo which helps nurse injured birds back to life and returns them to the wild.

And today was "Miracle Treat Day" at Dairy Queen as the restaurant raises money for the Children's Miracle Network.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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LANGLADE COUNTY - Since March, Langlade County hasn't had a district attorney.

Its former district attorney Ralph Uttke went to work in Marathon County. The governor could have appointed someone for the job, but chose not to. Since then, a special prosecutor has been filling in.

But all district attorney positions statewide are up for election on November 8th.

Now Portage County assistant district attorney, Elizabeth Constable, will run for the position.

"It was always my plan to be a prosecutor," Constable said "And that's what I've done for my entire career."

Constable has been an assistant district attorney in Portage County for the past two years and also an assistant DA in Wood County for five years before that.

"I'm at the point in my career that I feel qualified to step into a leadership position," Constable said.

So when former Langlade County District Attorney Ralph Uttke left the office this spring, Constable saw her opportunity. She has a home ouside Elcho, so she decided to run��"and she's running uncontested.

"It all just worked out perfectly," Constable said.

Newswatch 12 caught Constable on vacation. But if she wasn't, she probably would have been in the courtroom. In her seven years, she's prosecuted 25 jury trials. But she's passionate about the justice system because she's seen it work, and wants it to work.

"I've had cases where I've really seen a turnaround in the defendent...the objectives of the sentencing actually worked," Constable said.

Part of that passion comes not only from her law degree from University of Wisconsin Law School. Before that, Constable got her masters in religion and philosophy from Harvard University��"on a full scholarship.

"Kind of studying people, who we are, what we do , how we think, what motivates us," Constable said.

It's that kind of study that lends itself well to her work as a prosecutor, she said.

"I really do also want to see that the defendants for the most part I just want to see them get on the right path," Constable said. 

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ANTIGO - When you can't catch fish, it's easy to blame the lure. If you need something different, people in Antigo make a lure that you might want to try. The Mepps assembly plant is located right off Highway 45.

Mepps fishing lures were originally made in Paris, France, starting in 1938. Back in the 1970's, a local Antigo sporting goods store owner, Todd Sheldon, decided to buy that facility and moved it to Nice, France. His son, Mike is now the president of the company.

"The guys that own the Mepps company in France were getting old enough to where they wanted to retire so we bought the Mepps company in France in 1972," said Sheldon.

One detail that makes the lure number one in the world is that they use actual animal tail fur.

"The tails are washed, dyed and tied back there," said plant worker Kim Wiegert. "And they're dehydrated. They will store a long time, so they can last 3 to 5 years."

There are many benefits to using real hair as opposed to artificial hair.

"The hair is hollow and goes through a lot of wear and tear," said Wiegert. "Other hairs would disintegrate, and fall apart. With these, it'll last longer, the fish can bite on them and it'll take a long time before they'll actually chew them apart."

Along with the hairs, there is a secret way to put the lures together that makes Mepps the best.

"We have a certain wind that we have and we can tell when we put them together, how it should be. All of our spinners are field tested before they actually go out," said Wiegert.

Even though the company distributes their product around the world, the Sheldon's still enjoy being based in Antigo.

"It's home. I grew up here and my parents grew up here and of course my kids did. And it's such a different pace of life here than the rest of the world," said Sheldon.

Everyone putting the little pieces together are women. Kim is just one who works in the plant that has been there for nearly 40 years. She also gives tours of the facility to the public.

"I like to react with the people when they come in, especially ones that have fishing stories to tell you. It's interesting here and you get to meet other people," said Wiegert.

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MADISON - A newly released investigatory report shows former U.S. Attorney James Santelle misused a government credit card to pay for his dry cleaning, a rental car and an airline ticket.

The new details were revealed Thursday in a report by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General. It was released to The Associated Press in response to an open records request.

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STEVENS POINT - The trip for a couple flying from Wisconsin to Arizona will take longer after their private plane skidded onto a runway in Stevens Point Thursday morning.

Neither person was hurt.  The couple was flying back to Arizona after attending the EAA event in Oshkosh.

After an electrical problem, the landing gear in their airplane didn't deploy.  They did what's called a belly-landing on a runway at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport just before 8:30 this morning.

The Stevens Point Fire Department responded to the scene.

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OSHKOSH - Yes, Hollywood actor Harrison Ford uses a checklist when he flies.

The "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" star was accompanied by an inquisitive teenager when he flew his DeHavilland Beaver on Thursday at the AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 air show.

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ANTIGO - The Raptor Education Group, Inc. (REGI) in Antigo got its start more than 25 years ago. It's a group that helps nurse injured birds back to life and returns them to the wild. But have you ever stopped to take a look at one of the people who makes it all happen?

REGI Executive Director Marge Gibson starts her day around 5:00a.m. every day to look after some of smallest and largest birds brought to REGI daily. The rehabilitation and education center opened, all from Gibson's love of birds. 

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