PHILLIPS - Chances are, Kayla Dalka can lift more weight than you. That strength has earned her a spot in the Special Olympics USA Games. She'll be representing Wisconsin in powerlifting.
"I like powerlifting because I like to go to the meets," Kayla explains. "And every time I make a lift that's right, I like to see my coach smile."
Kayla was born with a cognitive disability which affects her IQ. She may have some limitations, but her spirit is undeniable.
"It makes me feel like a champion," says Kayla.
"She wanted to meet different friends and get to know the different kids around school," Kayla's mom Pam Lentz adds. "So she started out in powerlifting."
More than 3,500 athletes will travel to New Jersey to showcase their talents this week.
"When she passed and mom told me she was gonna go, I was really excited for her," Phillips powerlifting coach Jeff Schillinger explains. "I've had five kids make it to worlds and this is just as cool if not better than those kids that were world champions."
One of Kayla's biggest cheerleaders is her lifting partner Damien.
"She's awesome. She did really good, really good," Damien Klepac said. "It's like way to go!"
Kayla's favorite event is the deadlift. At the Wisconsin State Special Olympics she lifted a personal record 305 pounds.
"If you do the right techniques then the good weights will come," Schillinger adds.
She's also flourished working at Club 13 in Phillips.
"Always on time, does whatever you ask her to do, keeps up very well," owner Mike Reed said. "She does a very good job for us."
Powerlifting has helped Kayla grow in many ways.
"She can talk in front of crowds, she opens up her mouth now. She's got a lot more confidence," adds Lentz.
"Kayla will get first place," Klepac exclaims. "She rocks!"
STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients. Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.
Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015. He then moved to Connecticut.
At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments. Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.
SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.
Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.
Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.
Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.
People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.
"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.
"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.
But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.
"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.
Those accusations baffle Thomas.
"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.
Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.
"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.
Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.
"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.
Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.
"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.
Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.
The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.
Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.
MADISON - A suspended University of Wisconsin-Madison student accused of sexually assaulting and harassing nearly a dozen women has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges.
Twenty-year-old Alec Cook faces a total of 21 counts, including strangulation, sexual assault, stalking and false imprisonment involving 10 women dating back to March 2015. Five of the charges are misdemeanors. The rest are felonies.
ONEIDA COUNTY - Once landfills run out of space, the county must decide where the garbage will go. At a meeting on Monday, it was announced that the Vilas County landfill has about 10 years left before it will have to find a new location to dispose of trash. Oneida County had a similar decision to make years ago.
Fifteen years ago, the Oneida County landfill was capped.
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