Veterans salute World War II servicemen before annual Laona appreciation golf outingSubmitted: 09/18/2017
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Veterans salute World War II servicemen before annual Laona appreciation golf outing
LAONA - When you served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, playing golf seems like a walk in the park for Bernie Miller.

"I used to be pretty good, but then I got old," Miller said, with a laugh.

Don't let the 92-year-old fool you: he's hit six holes in one in his life, including one last year.

"It's easier to golf your age because you keep getting older and older all the time," Miller said.

It's that old age and life of service that led to Miller, and buddies Dan Buschatz and Bud Kuhrasch getting recognized before the annual Military Veterans Appreciation golf outing at Nicolet Country Club in Laona on Monday.

"Always respected these three guys, you bet," U.S. Army veteran Chuck Enders said.

Enders founded the outing six years ago when he couldn't get into a similar event in Green Bay. Each year starts the same, with the Laona High School band saluting each branch of the armed forces. But this year, the opening ceremony included an additional salute for the aging trio.

"There aren't many World War II veterans left in our country and for them to still be playing golf, I think, is fantastic," Enders said.

Enders' outing has grown from just 65 golfers in 2012 to around 130 this year. Scores don't matter much. Enders says he throws out the scorecards at the end of the day. But plenty of players hope they can still hack it as well as Miller, Kuhrasch, and Buschatz can at their age. Kuhrasch, a Navy veteran who invaded Normandy on D-Day, says the secret to playing golf well into your 90s is pretty simple.

"Living a good clean life, you know?" Kuhrasch said.

That mindset keeps these three coming back year after year, even if walking 18 holes is no longer an option.

"Good lord willing, yep, if I'm alive, I'll be here, that's for sure," Miller said.

Fundraising and donations help keep veterans' entry fees to a minimum. Enders' event doesn't raise money for any particular group, he says it's simply an excuse to get old friends together.

"All the camaraderie and meeting old friends you don't see too often, so no, you can't hardly beat it," Miller said.

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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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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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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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TOMAHAWK - Two best friends turned into business partners about a year ago.

Bill Eastwood and Blake McMahon own Outboards Bar and Grill in Tomahawk.

The duo's combined restaurant and business experience helped them hit the ground running.

Fish quality comes first at Outboards.

"Friday night is the night that pretty much everyone goes out to eat. So if you don't have a good fish fry, people around here start talking!" say Eastwood.

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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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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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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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