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Sports Spotlight: Rhinelander's Malia Francis takes after siblingsSubmitted: 09/09/2019
Andrew Goldstein
Andrew Goldstein
Sports Anchor/Reporter
agoldstein@wjfw.com

Sports Spotlight: Rhinelander's Malia Francis takes after siblings
RHINELANDER - Above Rhinelander's pool hangs a record board with the name Francis plastered all over it.

"I mean, I want my name up there too," Malia Francis said.

Francis sees it every day and hopes to join her siblings.

"I think it helps to have my older siblings swim because I've been around them for so long and I've seen them going through everything," Francis said.

Malia is the younger sister of Kiah and Nolan Francis, who delivered some of the best swims in Hodag history before going on to compete at division one colleges.


"The Francis family is used to having to train on their own, so they are very dedicated and I see Malia having that same dedication to swim," swim coach Jenny Heck said. "She knows what it takes to be good."

Malia could have joined the team last season, but chose to compete with her club team for a year before switching to the Hodags.

"This year, it just kind of felt right," Malia said. "The team looked really great. I think it's a good idea. It will help me prepare for college swimming."

The older swimmers are glad she made the switch.

"We were already excited last year about some rumors that she was going to join, so this year we're super excited," teammate Makenna Winnicki said.

Malia is excited to do what her state champion siblings did.

"I just try to lead by example and work really hard," Malia said.

Francis was the only swimmer to win four events in Rhinelander's weekend victory over Colby/Abbotsford.

She'll be a key part of the lineup as Rhinelander tries to take the GNC title from Tomahawk.


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Garland Nelson, of Braymer, is facing the death penalty in the deaths of 24-year-old Justin Diemel and 35-year-old Nicholas Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin. They disappeared after visiting Nelson's farm in July 2019 and their burned remains were later found in Missouri and Nebraska.

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KENOSHA - A Kenosha police officer wounded in a shootout last week while investigating a vehicle break-in has been released from a hospital, Wisconsin Department of Justice officials said Friday.

A release by the department's Division of Criminal Investigation identified the officer as Justin Pruett, who has been with the Kenosha police force for two years. He suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen, the Kenosha News reported.

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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison has received less than 1% of the money that Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group pledged to it two years ago amid the electronics giant's expansion plans in Wisconsin.

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MILWAUKEE -  Milwaukee's former police chief, who was demoted to captain in part for using tear gas against protesters demonstrating over George Floyd's death, has chosen to retire instead of staying with the department. 

The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

 Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. 

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Morales also defended his record as chief. 

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Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.

"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.

And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.

"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.

A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.

"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."

For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.

"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."

But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.

"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline. 

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NATH hosts e-cycling fundraiserSubmitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - Traffic slowed to a stand-still on Highway 8 West out of Rhinelander but not because of any accident or construction.

NATH and The Good News Project partnered for the third year in a row to host an e-cycling fundraiser.

"There's still a huge line of cars waiting to drop off their things and that's been going on since before we opened at 8. It's been a very busy and very successful fundraiser," say Rick Covin, Board Member for the Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing.

NATH operates Frederick's Place in Rhinelander. This is their third year partnering with The Good News Project out of Wausau to host the electronics recycling event.

"We're having anyone from the area able to bring their electronics, even vacuum cleaners, stereo systems, computers, TVs, monitors, and for a small fee which is much less than you would have to pay at the dump," says Covin.

A portion of the proceeds will go toward helping fund the shelter's operation. COVID and other complications forced NATH to cancel many of their successful fundraising events, like the Harvest Hoedown normally scheduled for October.

"While our expenses have not gone down, even gone up some, our income, which is fundraising grants, and gifts, has gone down," says Covin.

If you didn't make it Friday, don't worry! You can stop by from 9 to noon Saturady.

"We'll all be here ready to take their recyclables and all that stuff that's been gathering dust in their basement, closet, and garage, gather that up, those old electronics you have to pay through the nose to get rid of at the dump, bring 'em here, and we'll give rid of em for a small fee and it'll go to a good cause," says Covin.

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