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.
People hoping to keep a violent child sex offender from moving into their Forest County community needed to go to Shawano County to make their case today. Newswatch 12's Dakota Sherek is there and will bring you updates on what happens at the hearing and the judge's ruling which we expect tonight.
We talk to two local resource officers about how their jobs have changed over the years. Some of that change has happened because of school violence across the country and right here in the Northwoods.
And we talk to the executive director of the Birkebeiner race in Hayward about the enthusiasm people in the area have with the big event coming up this weekend.
We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
HAYWARD - Trail conditions for this year's American Birkebeiner race will be just about perfect.
Executive Director Ben Popp said there's about a six inch base, three inches of snow on top, and more snow on the way in the Hayward area.
"The energy right now is just unreal. You can feel it here in Hayward and Cable and certainly around the world. Now with a gold medal, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, brings more excitement to not only this event, but the sport. So it's a really great time to be a cross country skier," said Popp.
MERRILL - Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill doesn't have room for any more kindergarten students next year.
Its class is already full, partly because some families can send their kids to Trinity for free.
For the third straight year, Trinity will participate in Wisconsin's private school choice program.
This year, the state pays tuition for about 30 of Trinity's 120 total students.
"Parents like the Christian base, obviously. That's the main reason people send [their kids] here," said School Administrator Kathy Yahr. "They're keeping them here more now because of the opportunities that we offer."
NORTHWOODS - Lakes and nature bring people from all over the country to the Northwoods during the summer. Those same attractions get some people to stay here. Home sales and home prices in the Northwoods went up in 2017.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association reports about 1,300 more homes sold last year than in 2016 in Wisconsin. A local broker saw the increase firsthand.
"The markets that are going crazy right now are premium homes. The Minocqua chain is red hot, the Eagle River chain is pretty hot the Three Lakes chain is pretty hot and there are some chains of lakes that are less hot," said Coldwell Banker broker Jim Mulleady.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.