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NEWS STORIES

Improvements on the way for this weekend's PotatoFestSubmitted: 08/28/2014

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's first-ever PotatoFest last year started as a charity fundraiser and a way to recognize the potato's importance in our area.

After last year's success, the event will expand even further this weekend.

PotatoFest features a parade, eating and cooking contests, live music all day, and the YMCA Couch Potato Race.

"We're hoping in the long run that PotatoFest is going to be the go-to event that you have to go to on Labor Day," said Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. Executive Director Maggie Steffen. "It's going to bring people from all over the state and hopefully the surrounding states, and this is where they come."

New events this year include a three-on-three basketball tournament, the second-ever appearance of the Spudmobile, and Alice in Dairyland.

We asked Steffen why she was wearing a duck hat for her interview.

"One of our new events is the Duck Regatta, which is, you buy your duck for five bucks," Steffen said. "Your duck has your ticket number on it. It gets floated down the river. Then it's captured, and we have prizes from first to twentieth. It ranges from $2,000, $1,000, $500, $250."

Trig's is the major sponsor of PotatoFest, and events will center around the greenspace near Trig's.

The festival starts with Bonus Friday Night events in the evening.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

PHILLIPS - An 82 year old man from the Phillips area died after his kayak overturned in Price County.

An emergency call came into the Price County Sheriff's Department just before 4:00 Wednesday afternoon.

A kayaker reported that another kayak had overturned on the Elk River about 4 miles east of Phillips.

The report was that the man was out of the kayak, but still in the water.

The victim was found unresponsive, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man's kayak had collided with another kayak while trying to get past fallen trees which blocked the river.

Strong currents from recent rains swamped the victim's kayak.

The other kayaker was able to call for help from a nearby residence.

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MADISON - A Sun Prairie man accused of decapitating his mother with a sword last year has been committed to a state mental hospital.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed with a psychiatrist's report Wednesday that 41-year-old Matthew Skalitzky was mentally ill at the time of the killing.

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ATV rides for seniorsSubmitted: 06/29/2016

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ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County Senior Centers gives seniors the chance to try new things.

Wednesday, thanks to the help of two ATV groups, the seniors were able to go on rides through the forest.

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RHINELANDER - Celebrating our nation's birthday with family and friends can be a great time. But it's good to keep safety in mind this weekend too.

The Rhinelander Fire Department responds to a few injuries every year from fireworks. That's far better than the national average of more than 10,000 fireworks-related injuries. But the most common injury actually comes from a firework many parents consider safe.

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PLUM LAKE - St. Germain ATV riders will need to find a new route that avoids Plum Lake.

That's because the Plum Lake Town Board voted against opening up parts of two roads: Kurtzweil Road and Birch Spring Road. Both are on the border of Sayner and St. Germain and are shared between the two towns.

A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

Maines said most of the people in Plum Lake don't want ATVs on their town roads. The board found this out from a survey of residents and taxpayers they sent out in 2015, where he said about two-thirds of non-resident property owners and about two-thirds of Plum Lake resident voters voted against allowing ATVs on town roads.

"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

About 6 towns in the eastern part of Vilas County allow ATVs on town roads, but the towns in the western part of the county don't allow them on town roads.

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WAUSAU - Police officers in Wausau will now wear body cameras, according to a department release Wednesday.

The department also released video from one of the department's first traffic stops using the body camera on its Facebook page.

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PHILLIPS - At a Phillips dairy farm on Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker announced that the state will pour $3.2 million into supporting more than 3,600 Youth Apprenticeships across the state next school year.

Both numbers are Wisconsin records.

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