Thriving in the Cold: Eagle River Elementary students learn fun and finance go hand-in-hand in their home townSubmitted: 01/18/2018
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Thriving in the Cold: Eagle River Elementary students learn fun and finance go hand-in-hand in their home town
EAGLE RIVER - If you want to get an good understanding of what makes Eagle River tick in the winter time, the first stop should be the ice castle.

At a structure made of thousands of blocks of ice, about 55 Eagle River Elementary fourth-grade students learned how the decades-old idea comes together each year.

"They're actually a little warm because this is a heat wave for us," teacher Nicole Musial said of her students.  "These are the future members of our community. When they grow up, they re going to do something incredible."

Musial helped coordinate the tour, which started as a chance to send a picture to their pen pals in Florida, but grew into a day-long field trip.

Eagle River Assistant Fire Chief Steve Burr helped his department build the castle over five days earlier in January. Teachers asked him to incorporate history, math, and economics into his speech.

"All three of them fit in well with the ice castle," Burr said of the topics. "[Asked if he's an expert in those fields] Absolutely not. But i did brush up... [I just want them to learn] the sense of community pride and how the entire city of Eagle River and the surrounding townships, how they embrace this."

Beyond getting to see something cool - like the ice castle - close up, students got an understanding of how winter attractions keep restaurants, hotels, and stores rolling through what otherwise might be a down time. It's a season revved up thanks to another January attraction just across town.

The World Championship Snowmobile Derby should draw thousands of people in its 55th year this weekend. Thursday, those same Eagle River students got the chance to see how the track gets made, learn some of its history, and hear from track owner Chuck Decker just how important the races are to the snowmobile capital of the world.

"It's a big area for sports and so it's just great to introduce them at a young age to what's right next door to them," Decker said.

Getting to use the track's public address system and sipping on hot chocolate just added to the experience, but the kids hooked onto the idea that fun and finances go hand-in-hand here.

"You start understanding it and you realize that it s everywhere," 10-year-old Katie Swendson said. "Things are happening everywhere you go."

On this day, that was all across their city; a small community that swells in the winter, with an impact lasting longer than the snow and ice.

"They are part of something bigger," Musial said. "They are not just a student at Eagle River Elementary School. They are able to leave a lasting footprint here."

Teachers say the whole day was free aside from paying $20 total for the bus. The Eagle River Fire Department says this weekend s warm up shouldn't bring down the ice castle as long as they can patch the blocks overnight.

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RHINELANDER - Hardly anyone goes through life without knowing someone who is affected by cancer in some way.

Thursday evening people gathered to honor those impacted by cancer at the11th annual Celebration of Life in Rhinelander.

Organizers emphasized that cancer survivors can still live active and productive lives.

Becky Gauthier of Rhinelander gave the keynote speech.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2017.

She shared her story that's been driven by courage.

"If it's ever you, just have hope," Gauthier said. "Don't ever give up. Just know that miracles happen every day and even if they tell you bad news, it doesn't mean it's your future."

At the end of the ceremony organizers released butterflies as a symbol of hope. 

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NORTHWOODS - Trout Habitat Project coordinator Kyle Siebers volunteers his time searching the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest for flat, dry streams and rivers.

"I've always been interested in the outdoors," said Siebers. "I just wanted to give back."

Siebers worked alongside CNNF biologists, technicians, and volunteers to restore trout habitats. The group recently restored a quarter mile of habitat for Wild Brook trout near Wabeno.

"We built brush bundles and cut the woody vegetation along the stream banks and then we bundled that together to put in the stream to narrow it," said Siebers.

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RHINELANDER - The Wilderness Queen river boat moved from the Willow Flowage to its home in Rhinelander 10 years ago.
Later this fall it will move again, but sadly much farther away.

Owner Patty Zastrow sold the boat to people from southern Wisconsin.  She's moving out of state with her husband.

Zastrow is sad to see the boat leave the Northwoods after owning it for six years.  Current State Senator Tom Tiffany owned the boat for 20 years and ran it on the Flowage in western Oneida County before selling it.

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MILWAUKEE - A bus driver took action when she saw a little girl standing in the street in a T-shirt and underwear.

Diana Serrano was beginning her route for the Milwaukee County Transit System on Aug. 4 when a motorist in front of the bus stopped to help the girl and carried her to the side of the road.

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NEW YORK - Fans are mourning Aretha Franklin at some of the places where the legendary singer performed.

Several people, some visibly mourning, walked or drove by New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit Thursday morning after news of Franklin's death was announced. Franklin's voice on some of the songs she made hits streamed from the second floor of a home across the street.

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MADISON - Conservative state appeals court Judge Brian Hagedorn is running for Wisconsin Supreme Court, setting up a contest with liberal-backed Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer.

Hagedorn is Governor Scott Walker's former chief legal counsel. He announced his run for the state's highest court on Thursday. The election to replace retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson is in April.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/16/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll tell you about a quarterback from Chequamegon High School who was recently diagnosed with cancer but is now ready to play football for the Screaming Eagles.

And we'll take you to a stream in the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest where a group of volunteers want to restore the trout population

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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