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Antigo Football Practice Kicks OffSubmitted: 08/05/2014
Story By Jeanine Ilacqua


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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MINOCQUA - A Green Bay man died in a snowmobile crash in Minocqua Tuesday night.

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We'll bring you an update on the search for two Antigo children who are thought to have been taken away to the Black Hills area by their non-custodial mother.

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CORNUCOPIA, WISCONSIN - The National Park Service says it's still too dangerous to explore the Apostle Islands ice caves off the Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior.

When accessible, the majestic ice caves have attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the area.

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MADISON - The state appeals court says a judge properly moved a teen offender into the adult system after saying he thought the boy would be safer there than in the state's troubled youth prison.

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VILAS COUNTY - A 77-year-old man died in a crash near Boulder Junction late Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin State Patrol, it happened around 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. Highway 51 and County Highway H.

Investigators think a van went through an intersection and hit a semi truck.

"There was injury," said Boulder Junction Fire Chief Matthew Reuss. "The two passengers in the van had to be extricated. One was taken to Howard Young Medical Center for further care. The driver of the semi was uninjured and the second passenger in the van was pronounced dead at the scene."

According to Wisconsin State Patrol, the driver of the van is a 68-year-old woman from Colby. Crews later took her to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield for non-life threatening injuries. Her passenger, a 77-year-old male from Colby, died in the crash. They were both wearing seatbelts. 

The driver of the semi is 63 years old and from South Range. 

Traffic was rerouted through Boulder Junction for several hours and was reopened shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Several units responded to the scene.

"Because we had multiple patients, we dispatched multiple ambulance units," Reuss said. "We called in resources from Arbor Vitae for traffic control and we called Manitowish Waters for help in extrication and ambulance service as well as Medic 5 out of Howard Young."

State Patrol and the Vilas County Sheriff's Office will investigate the crash.

Police will not release the names until the families are notified. 

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STEVENS POINT - A baby in Portage County ended up in the hospital for seizures twice in three days last fall.  Police think the mother's live-in boyfriend may have shaken that baby.

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RHINELANDER - When police arrested Alexander Durand for stealing a car, they found he had been stealing mail as well.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office arrested Durand, 21, Saturday for driving a car stolen from a house near Rhinelander. During that investigation, officers found a lot of other people's mail on Durand's property.

The mail was from all over Oneida County as well as other counties.  The Sheriff's Office will contact the people whose mail has been found.

Durand is due in court January 23.

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