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Burke headlining Democratic Party conventionSubmitted: 06/06/2014
Burke headlining Democratic Party convention
Story By Associated Press

WISCONSIN DELLS - Wisconsin Democrats gathering for their annual state convention will hear from the candidate they hope can knock of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Mary Burke is scheduled to give the keynote speech at Friday night's convention at a resort in Wisconsin Dells. Burke's attempt to defeat Walker comes in her first statewide race. She is a member of the Madison school board, served two years as Commerce secretary under Gov. Jim Doyle, and is a former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive.


Burke told The Associated Press on Thursday she hopes to use the speech before about 1,000 Democrats to unify the party as it works to defeat Walker.

Longshot Democratic challenger state Rep. Brett Hulsey was not given a speaking slot, but he still planned to be at the convention.

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EAGLE RIVER - The World Championship Snowmobile Derby kicked off in Eagle River Friday morning. 

You might think of snowmobile racing as a sport for adults, but people of all ages are competing. Kids as young as four years old came out Friday to ride their tiny sleds through the finish line. 

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the riders lining up for the world snowmobile championship race. But before those riders came into the spotlight they started as kids. 

"My first race was when I was five," said Maverick Woyke. 

At just 12 years old, Woyke has been racing for seven years. 

"We went and watched a race and he had so much fun watching he decided he wanted to start racing," said Maverick's dad Jesse Woyke. 

Maverick traveled to with his dad from Buffalo, Minnesota to race this weekend in Eagle River. He's no stranger to traveling for the sport. 

"We've been Jackson, Wyoming, Winter Park, Colorado, Deadwood, Duluth, Shakopee in Minnesota, we kind of go all over," said Jesse. 

Maverick isn't the only veteran in the field, many of the young riders have been riding almost as soon as they could walk. 

"I've done this race as long as I can remember. Probably since I was four or five," said 11-year-old Tyler Poker. 

It's a tradition to come to Eagle River at this time of year, and for a lot of these kids, it's a family tradition.

"We were eating dinner and Dad asked me if I wanted to come race, and I said yeah, and then this happened," said 11-year-old Reece Bollmann. 

They travel from all over Wisconsin and the Midwest to have fun, but also to compete. 

"I've been to this race four times now and I've won it the last three times so I'm hoping for a fourth," said 14-year-old Kyle Thome. 

It's a unique sport, and it brings something different than football or baseball. 

"[My favorite part about racing is] the jumps because it's so much air and it's just a blast," said Bollmann.
 
But of course the best part?

"Well, getting off of school," said Poker. 

Many of the kids will spend the weekend watching other riders after they finish their races. And the ultimate goal is to be right there on that Sunday championship starting lineā€¦one day. 
 
"If we could get there that'd be awesome," said Thome. 

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WOODRUFF - Six people died in snowmobile accidents since January 5 in Wisconsin. 

Last year, 16 people died while snowmobiling during the whole season. 

DNR Conservation Warden Supervisor Dave Walz says at this rate, Wisconsin is on track to match that. 

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WAUSAU - Police arrested a Tomahawk man and Wausau woman Thursday for going on the run with 290 pounds of marijuana, three guns, and two stun guns.

The Marathon County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin State Patrol helped arrest 32-year-old Joel Helding near Osseo in western Wisconsin.

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EAGLE RIVER - Some kindergarteners got a glimpse of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby Friday.

Snowmobile racer Jordan Grabowski stopped by the Eagle River Elementary School to talk to some kindergarteners about snowmobile safety.

"It's kind of a dying out sport and I want to keep it going. [I] try to get them to realize that it's not okay to ride without a helmet on and our safety gear on and that it is dangerous if you do ride it without because you could get hurt," said Grabowski.

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ASHLAND - The death of a teen carrying a butcher knife who was shot by an Ashland County Sheriff's Deputy led to a march, rallies, and community discussions about police relations.

Friday, a special prosecutor cleared the deputy in that shooting.

Ashland County Sheriff's Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich shot and killed Jason Pero, 14, in November.

Police believe Pero wanted to die.

In a 911 call, the teen was the one who told police someone was walking around with a knife that day. Pero described a a guy walking around outside his house with a knife. The man was wearing a purple sweatshirt. 

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