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Pickleball's popularity is soaring in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 07/17/2014
Story By Marisa Silvas

Pickleball's popularity is soaring in the Northwoods
THREE LAKES - "I said what the heck is pickleball, and he said come on, I'll show you," exclaimed Melody West of the Eagle River Pickleball Association.

The sound of pickleball's connecting with paddles can be heard every day of the week in Three Lakes.

Gillian Hough and Candy Lamb of Summerfield, Florida explain, "It's kind of a combination of ping pong, and badminton or tennis."

Three Lakes pickleball promoter Chuck Radtke added, "The court is smaller than a tennis court. It's easy on the knees, easy on the ankles."

The sport has a huge following in Florida and Arizona, but people in the Northwoods are catching on quickly.

"In Three Lakes we play more pickleball than anywhere else in the state. Our courts are open 24/7 and it's free for all," said Radtke.

Three Lakes hosted 120 players in their first national tournament last weekend.

John Kobach of Three Lakes was pleased with the event. Kobach said, "Two healthy days of healthy exercise and having fun and being competitive with each other."

The game is most popular in retirement communities, but local schools are starting to get the younger generation involved.

"They are teaching it in the high school system in both Eagle River and Three Lakes as part of the racquet sport curriculum," explains Kobach.

Most importantly, it helps get people off the couch.

"They say move it or lose it. So we'll keep moving as long as we can," exclaimed Gillian and Candy.




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Chagnon was convicted of child pornography possession in 2003.

He was released in 2014, but soon ended up under arrest again for using newspaper clippings of girls' pictures to make a booklet.  That booklet had more than 270 photos in it, many from the Lakeland Times.

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RHINELANDER - Kid got outside and got active at the YMCA of the Northwood's Fit Kids Duathalon tonight. 

Three age groups competed in the running and biking events. 

The five and under group ran around the building and biked through the parking lot, but the older age groups biked through the trails behind the YMCA. 

"It's rugged enough that you have to have a little bit or stamina and a little bit or grit to actually make it through the course," said YMCA Aquatics and Youth and Family Director Matt Steingraber. 
 
Some of the kids even trained for the event. 

The top three in each age group got awards. 

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander mom said her lifestyle completely changed when a new neighbor moved in. 

She used to love the close proximity and the ability to walk to almost anything in town.

She has two young kids and regularly checks the sex offender registry. 

The Rhinelander mom wishes to stay anonymous. We'll refer to her as Linda. 

Linda found out a sex offender moved in a few doors down from her by flipping through a local newspaper, She saw a small box at the bottom page with a notification. 

"He kind of just snuck in," said Linda. 

William Huntington moved close to Linda's house in May. However, Linda says she knew nothing until she did research of her own in July. 

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He was convicted in Dane County for repeatedly sexually assaulting his 8- year- old neighbor about twenty years ago. He's now required to wear a lifetime GPS monitoring system. 

Dana Wszalek works with the Department of Corrections in Rhinelander as a Regional Chief. Her office supervises people like Huntington in the community.

"What we do is not a cookie cutter type of approach to supervision; it's relative to what their risks are based on their case dynamics," said Wszalek. 

State law requires high risk sex offender to live at least 1,500 feet from churches, schools and playgrounds. Restrictions on other sex offenders are left to local offices. 

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says there are no ordinances for sex offenders in Oneida County.

"They have different life experiences. They are a part of the community," said Wszalek. 

Wszalek understands the wariness community members might feel.

"As a parent it's important to be aware of who's in your neighborhood," said Wszalek. 

Linda said one of her 6- year- old child was planning on walking to school with friends this year, but instead they'll get driven.

"I feel like the neighborhood we moved into to be able to have these things has been taken away," said Linda.

Linda said she was shocked she didn't get a call or knock on her door from law enforcement.

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