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Antigo Football Practice Kicks OffSubmitted: 08/05/2014

Jeanine Ilacqua
Morning Anchor / Reporter
jilacqua@wjfw.com


ANTIGO - You could see high school football players practicing across the Northwoods today. Some fans consider the Antigo Red Robins a traditional powerhouse. But this year only 30 kids are out for the sport.

"The kids are good. The coaches are good about getting things in. And, now we're on the field, obviously, you see them practicing. They're doing a heck of a job this year," said Antigo High School Athletic Director Matt Meronk.

Today was the first official practice of the season for the Antigo Red Robins.

"Just install and getting the basics down. This is our foundation for the rest of the season," said Red Robins Head Coach Matt Weberpal.

Antigo athletes hit the gym long before they strap on the pads.

"The weight training that those kids did throughout the off season now they are out with the football. You actually get to see them grow as young men, young individuals. And, it all transpires here from the summer to the fall," says Meronk.

Only 30 kids turned out for football this year. Antigo decided to combine their JV and Varsity teams.

"We are a little bit down but like I always say, quality over quantity," said Weberpal.

Coaches say the team's spirit is great for the upcoming season. The group is working to stay competitive in the Great Northern Conference.

"Some years you get a grade or two that just doesn't have the football athletes in it," said Meronk.

Numbers won't be on the Red Robins mind as they charge onto the field.

"I think it will be a great season. Antigo will have a great team this year. We are going to have fun and compete," says Meronk.

The first game of the season will be August 22. Weberpal says they'll treat the first game like any other. The first game will be against long-time rivals, the Rhinelander Hodags.


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NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.

They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.


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ADAMS COUNTY - Two men died in a car crash near the Wisconsin Dells Saturday afternoon according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Police got a call around 2 p.m. about a two-car crash on County Road B north of State Highway 23 in Adams County.

A 65-year-old was driving and a 72-year-old was in the front passenger seat. Both those men died at the scene. They were both from Oxford, Wisconsin.

Driving the other car was a 24-year-old man from the Wisconsin Dells. He was taken to a hospital but is expected to survive.

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating. The names will not be released until the families are notified. 

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MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.

Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


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We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - We now know who were the three people killed during Wednesday's double-murder suicide in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Wisconsin Rapids Police Department says  36-year-old Justin Bohn of Wisconsin Rapids shot and killed his 5-year-old daughter, Paige, and his 3-year-old son, Devon.



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