Medford Area Senior High student chosen as delegate for U.S. Senate Youth ProgramSubmitted: 01/23/2017
Rose McBride
Rose McBride

Medford Area Senior High student chosen as delegate for U.S. Senate Youth Program
MEDFORD - Mikayla Kelz grew up around politics. 

"When I was little my dad was actually a politician--just a local one, a district attorney," said Kelz. 

Seeing her dad work got Kelz interested in politics too.

"I remember going on the campaign trail with him and that just kind of sparked my interest," said Kelz.

Given her family history, it only made sense for the Medford Area Senior High School senior to apply to be a delegate for the United States Senate Youth Program. Only two applicants from each state are chosen, and Mikayla couldn't contain her excitement when she found out she was one of them. 

"I was actually at school and I was freaking out," she said. "I'm pretty sure I told everyone. I went up to the office. I told my teacher, Mrs. Gelhaus--we had a long talk about it/ I called my dad and I was basically crying I was so excited."

Teacher Barb Galhaus says Kelz has always been a standout student who showed interest in her community. 

"I've seen her around town at different events that have happened in our community," Gelhaus. "She's always there where many of her age group probably wouldn't show up."  

Kelz will go to Washington D.C. for a week in March for the program. The Wisconsin delegates will get to have dinner with U.S. Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, hear a variety of guest speakers, and even get to meet the president. 

"I'm really looking forward to going into the White House because I've always wanted to go inside and see it, but I'm also really looking forward to meeting the students there and getting to network and kind of seeing all these different views," said Kelz.

Until March, Kelz will be counting down the days. While she is across the country, those who helped her get there will be at home supporting her. 

"For me it's very interesting to see her journey, so it's been special for me to be a part of it as far as hearing what's happening what she gets to do, and I'm so curious to see where she is 10 years from now," said Gelhaus. 

Kelz hopes to go into a career in public service. She will also receive a $10,000 scholarship to her college of choice through the program.  

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WAUSAU - When you think of Wisconsin, two things might come to mind - beer and snow. 

The Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau decided to combine the two and host an annual brew fest. 

Andy Ledesma is the head brewer at Red Eye Brewing Company in Wausau. The Granite Peak Brew Fest is one of the many perks of his job.

"No other beer fest is like this, that's for sure," said Ledesma.

He definitely wasn't alone serving more than 40 beers on Saturday. 

Jeff Geurink works for South Shore Brewery in Ashland. They've been around for 20 years, but they wanted to make this brew fest a part of their line up.

"Get our name out there and make sure people are enjoying our beer and get as much information as possible out about our brewery so then when they go out and get a beer, they remember us," said Geurink.

Something everyone will remember from the brew fest was the set-up.

"Snow bar?! You can't get that in the summer time," said Roland Bruhnke.

He's right. Most beer festivals are in the summer. But when it's still feeling like winter in March, Granite Peak turns lemons into lemonade, or more appropriately, hops into beer.

"I think it definitely helped that when they get to the bottom of the hill, you see a bunch of beer," said beer salesman Jesse Bartnik.

So even though beer and physical activity isn't the best combination, dozens of people were loving it this weekend.

"The winter, the skiing, the beer, it's all one big package all rolled into one," said Bruhnke.

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RHINELANDER - This time of year, winter activies start to wind down and the summer fun hasn't quite started yet.

That's why Fisher's Resort and Bar on Lake George in Rhinelander enjoys having it's annual ice golf tournament each year.

"In year's past, March is always kind of a slower season up here in the Northwoods so we figured we'd create an event and put efforts towards a local organization," said Fisher's Resort and Bar owner, Russ Fisher.

That local organization they raise money for is the Hodag Sno-trails snowmobile club.

This year, the tournament had it's biggest turn out.

30 teams came to play, including first timer Dennis Herrmann who lives right across the lake.

"This has nothing to do with golf, I can tell you that right now. But it's a challenge for all the obvious reasons. But you do it for the charity, you do it for the fun and it gives everybody the chance to get out," said Herrmann.

This year they cut it down from 18 holes to 13 so people could get inside faster to enjoy the chili and the raffle items after their round of golf.

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RHINELANDER - Kathie Woodford keeps track of each time she donates blood.  Her visit to a Rhinelander blood drive on Friday marked her 26th pint.

"I just recently got my third gallon," Woodford said.

The universal donor (Woodford has O-negative blood) likes to give as often as she can, but Friday's blood drive was one she simply couldn't miss.

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RHINELANDER - An Oneida County judge set a trial date for a Rhinelander woman charged in the death of her toddler stepson.
Ellen Tran's trial is expected to start with jury selection on October 19.

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ANTIGO - "It did come as a shock at first, but it's something that you realize it's not the end of the world," said Tracie Quade. 

Quade's 18-month old son, Benny, was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born.

"It's actually a really, really awesome thing. People with Down syndrome are wonderful loving people and they are just as capable of doing as much as anybody else," said Quade.

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MADISON - The Conservation Congress plans to ask attendees at its spring hearings whether lawmakers should charge people to use state land and eliminate group hunting.

The congress asks hearing attendees every year for their positions on current outdoors issues. The answers are advisory only.

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CRANDON - UPDATE (3/23/18): The Forest County Medical Examiner released the name of the inmate who died in the Forest County Jail earlier this week. 

The Forest County Sheriff's Officer said a man committed suicide Wednesday morning. 

An autopsy showed 44-year-old William Zastawniak died by hanging. 

He was facing three child sexual assault charges. 

The medical examiner is still waiting on toxicology results. 

The death is still under investigation.

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