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

Northwoods Spotlight - State-bound youth basketball teams - Mar 19
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: 01/22/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Winter weather warnings and advisories are in effect for our entire viewing area until midnight tonight, and some areas have already seen more than 5 inches of snow. We'll keep you up to date on the latest forecast and take you live outside to bring you the current road situation.

We'll show you the snow conditions at Granite Peak Ski Resort in Wausau and find out how today's snowfall helps improve the ski area.

And a plan to put a roundabout in Rhinelander is leaving area residents concerned especially with how trucks would handle them. We talk to a Department of Transportation official and a truck driver to get their view of the plan.

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


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ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County Highway Department spent most of the morning preparing for the winter weather parts of the state are expecting to see. 

Highway Commissioner Bruce Stefonek to get an update as to what the highway department has been doing to prepare. 

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ABBOTSFORD -
Two people died and another person went to the hospital after a shooting in Abbotsford early Saturday morning.

In a press release, Colby-Abbotsford Police Chief Jason Bauer says the suspect is 26-year-old Tyler Zimmerman.


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MADISON - Several Wisconsin farmers organizations have joined a new coalition in support of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association and the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association have become part of the new Americans for Farmers and Families coalition.

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MADISON - Falling out of a tree stand can be a real risk for hunters.

Spinal injuries make up more than half the injuries suffered in falls from tree stands.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that a review of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics' trauma database for tree stand-related injuries from 1999 to 2013 shows 55 percent resulted in one or more spinal injuries.

The review looked at 117 patients who were hurt.

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MINOCQUA - Firefighters got called to a fire in Minocqua around 3 p.m. Sunday.
A fire broke out in the garage of a home on West Squaw Lake Road and quickly spread throughout the house.
When firefighters arrived the garage was completely engulfed in flames.

Due to the secluded location of the house firefighters had to set up a water filling station about a mile away at the Birch Trail Resort.
"There's really no good spot to get water we don't have any fire hydrants this way or within about 20 miles of here actually," said Minocqua Fire Department Chief Andy Petrowski. 

Petrowski said the five departments that responded to the scene set up 9 water tanks.
The department ran water from a nearby lake and attacked the fire from the attic.

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RHINELANDER - Plenty of people set out to stock up on winter gear in preparation of the upcoming snowfall on Monday. Owner of Mel's Trading Post Mitch Mode says customers have been coming in to buy mittens, gloves, and hats to make sure they're prepared.

"Because when it's 40 degrees on Friday and Saturday you get kind of blasé about things and then you see a forecast which says six or eight or ten inches of snow on Monday, you get kind of serious again," said Mode.

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