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Northwoods Spotlight - Decker gets opportunity with NASCAR program - June 11Submitted: 06/11/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas

Northwoods Spotlight - Decker gets opportunity with NASCAR program - June 11
EAGLE RIVER - Claire Decker loves being out at the track.

"Just the noise of the car gets me going, Decker points out. "That's what I love the most."

She's been racing since she was four years old... and all her hard work is starting to pay off. Claire was selected as a finalist in the Peak Stock Car Challenge.

"I couldn't believe it," Claire explains. "I was like oh my gosh, I don't even know what to say. Who am I going to call next? I knew everyone was going to be so excited."


"It's a great opportunity for Claire," Allen Decker - Claire's dad adds. "I'm happy to see her go and I'm excited to see how she does with those boys."

The racers will compete in Charlotte for three days under the guidance of pros like Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick. Waltrip notified all the finalists himself.

Claire was very emotional when she got the phone call.

"I just started crying and he was like, Oh! He didn't really know what to say."

18 racers qualified for the Peak Challenge. Claire's the only one from Wisconsin, and one of only three female drivers.

"I was looking at the other drivers wrap sheets and seeing they won this series and that series," Claire said. "The best I can do is go down there and try my best."

If Decker wins the challenge, she'd receive a sponsorship to drive in a K&N pro race. K&N is the highest level of NASCAR's developmental race series.

"It would definitely mean the world to me," Claire said. "That's anything anybody wants. To be down in North Carolina and doing what you love to do."


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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - Kids all over Wisconsin will head back to school soon.

However, workers at a Rhinelander bus service say knowing bus safety skills could safe your child's life.

"The song Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round inspired me so much. That's why I became a bus driver," said Jake Kriesel a Rhinelander bus driver who never puts a break on fun.

But Kriesel says bus safety is no laughing matter.
"Bus drivers only have one thing in mind and that is your safety," said Kriesel.

Kriesel drives for Bowen's Bus Service, and Thursday he will be a part of a School Bus Safety Open House.

"Making sure there're safe. That's really our number one job," said Kriesel.

The open house will have three bus emergency scenarios for kids to learn how to evacuate safely.

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RHINELANDER - A car crashed into a store on Brown Street in Rhinelander today around 5 p.m.

The driver started to back out of a parking spot near the intersection of Brown and Davenport when she hit another vehicle.

An officer at the scene said the woman was startled and hit the gas instead of the brake.

The car crashed into Diane's Frame Shoppe.

There were no injuries but the car and the wall of the building were both damaged.

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EAGLE RIVER - Wednesday's weather made it the perfect day for a group of people to grab their paddles and explore some Northwoods waters.

The Northwoods Land Trust invited the community on a tour of private and protected waters.

People met up to paddle down Deerskin River in Eagle River.

Executive Director of the Northwoods Land Trust Bryan Pierce said Deerskin River is special because it's a trout stream and known for its resources.

"Our intent is to try and keep it that high quality keep the water quality protected and also provide for both fish and wildlife habitat," said Pierce. 

Wednesday was also a celebration.

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EAGLE RIVER - A $14,000 donation will help bring kids from urban areas to the Northwoods.

Baden-Powell Northwoods Experience donated the money earlier this month.

The Milwaukee-based group tried to use that money to save a Laona Boy Scout camp last year, but it wasn't able to raise enough money fast enough. 

So, the group decided to donate the left over funds to Trees for Tomorrow. 

Executive Director Robin Ginner said the two groups missions line up well. 

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HAZELHURST - A local Northwoods business works together to make better products than it did when it first began in 1925. 

Tomahawk Live Trap has grown and even relocated to Hazelhurst since then.

Greg Smith and his wife Jenny bought Tomahawk Live Trap about seven years ago.

And the company has been growing ever since.

Sales have more than doubled since Greg and Jenny took over.  But it's not just the sales that have grown.

"When we first came in here, the culture, I'm going to say was toxic," said Greg Smith.

But it's not toxic anymore. Tomahawk Live Trap has worked with UW-Stout and its Manufacturing Outreach Center to form a better team.

"You treat people like people, you empower people so they can do their jobs and you listen to them," said Smith.

Operations Coordinator, Chris Powers was there when the Smith's took over and has noticed the big improvement with the environment.

"We work together as a team to put out the best product we can, as fast as we can," said Powers.

The program uses a "lean" philosophy which helps trim unnecessary portions of a work area.

"Only using and having what you need in an area versus a bunch of clutter and stuff in an area," said Powers.

The biggest customers for Tomahawk Live Trap are mainly animal control companies. They sell to not only American companies, but also around the world.

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EAGLE RIVER - Most of us go out on the boat for a day of fun and relaxation. But to Gary and Shele Fawcett, a trip out on the water means a chance to teach history.

"The Eagle River Chain of Lakes alone is about 350-400 miles of water," said Shele.

"We talk about Eagle River and the things that used to happen up here, but nobody knows the stuff that's going on on the lakes," said Gary.

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HARSHAW - More than 50 people from Vilas, Forest, and Oneida counties came together Wednesday to learn leadership skills. 

Northwoods United Way hosted the second annual Leaderfest at Rondele Ranch in Harshaw. 

Executive Director Nancy Sattler was excited to present this opportunity to people in the area. 

"We want to offer the opportunity for enrichment, learning, and growth and the opportunity also to network with other people from the Northwoods and to learn from them and maybe they can help them in the future," said Sattler. 

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