Sports Spotlight: Medford's Lewandowski overcomes obstacles to competeSubmitted: 06/03/2019
Andrew Goldstein
Andrew Goldstein
Sports Anchor/Reporter

Sports Spotlight: Medford's Lewandowski overcomes obstacles to compete
MEDFORD - Zechariah Lewandowski isn't much of a talker.

"The first week, Zech didn't know what to say to us and we didn't know to say to him," Medford track and field coach Michael Bub said. "We just kind of looked at each other."

Get him on the track, though, and it seems like he can go a mile a minute.

Lewandowski was born with Spina Bifida, a condition where the spine doesn't develop properly.

Some people with Spina Bifida can walk, but Lewandowski cannot.

There's only one thing Lewandowski wanted more than being able to walk.

"I just wanted to be part of a team," Lewandowski said.

In order to find that team, Zech looked to one of the only options available.

"There are clubs for wheelchair athletes, but from a WIAA standpoint, to be part of a high school team, the only sport you can be in is track and field," Bub said.

Andree Brushaber is a special education teacher at Medford High School, which meant it was her job to figure out how to make track and field both safe and fun for Lewandowski.

"First of all, we had to get the chair because you can't use a regular chair to race in," Brushaber said. "So we had to order the chair and we ended up ordering a shotput chair as well."

"I watched a lot of videos on how other people practiced for it, where their hand placement was, the difference in gloves," Brushaber added.

Lewandowski went out for the 100-meter and 400-meter runs as well as the shot put, but with only about a dozen wheelchair athletes in the whole state, he had trouble finding people to compete against.

"When we go to some meets like last year, he didn't have anybody to race against," Brushaber said. "We didn't have one meet until state and there were all these people there."

For once, there were others just like him to race with and plenty of fans to cheer him on.

"I like going to different places, seeing other tracks," Lewandowski said.

"They get to be viewed as athletes too, not just a kid in a wheelchair," Bub said.

Nobody cares less about Lewandowski's wheelchair than the Medford athletes who competed alongside him at state.

"We're excited to watch him today," Medford senior Lauren Meyer said. "We're really excited. We're proud of him and everything he's accomplished."

Those accomplishments included a pair of sixth-place finishes in the 100 and 400-meter races.

"He's a true inspiration to all of us," Meyer said. "Everyone pushes Zech and he gives it right back to us. He's always there, always supporting."

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VILLAGE OF ARPIN - A deputy with six years of experience shot and killed a suspect and injured one of his fellow officers in Wood County last week.

Tuesday, the state Department of Justice released information on those who were involved.

The DOJ reports Deputy Nathan Dean shot and killed 32-year-old Logan Johnsrud during a fight June 11.

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LAND O' LAKES - A busy morning for Lois Laux included something she's done hundreds of times, but a gallon of skim milk did more than come in handy for breakfast.  It marked the very first sale at Land O' Lakes' new -- and only--  grocery store.

"Oh, we've needed it for quite a while," Laux said.  "I think it's been at least two years that I've known we were actually going to get it. So, I'm glad it finally made it."

Charlie's Market opened to customers along County Highway B in the heart of town 31 months after the last-remaining grocery store closed.

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RACINE / MILWAUKEE - Two off-duty police officers have been killed in separate incidents in southeastern Wisconsin.

Racine police say Officer John Hetland was fatally shot Monday about 9:40 p.m. when he tried to intervene in an armed robbery at Teezers bar. And Milwaukee police say Officer Kou (koo) Her died early Tuesday when he was struck by a speeding driver who ran a red light at a Milwaukee intersection. Milwaukee Chief Alfonso Morales says Her had just finished his shift in the 4th District. Police have arrested a 34-year-old man who has a history of drunken driving.

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MADISON - A bipartisan proposal designed to make it easier for patients to get needed prescription drugs even when insurance companies force them to try less-expensive alternatives first is headed to Gov. Tony Evers.

The Wisconsin Assembly approved the bill Tuesday on a voice vote. The Senate previously passed the measure.

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MADISON - The Wisconsin State Bar Association along with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marquette University law schools are preparing to honor long-time state Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

The bar and the law schools plan to hold a ceremony for Abrahamson in the state Capitol Tuesday evening. Speakers will include Gov. Tony Evers, former Gov. Jim Doyle and federal appellate judge and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Diane Sykes.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/18/2019

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office is making it the number one priority to track down and arrest child sex predators. We'll talk to the captain of the sheriff's office about why they are cracking down on such predators and what steps they are planning to take to accomplish their goal.

We'll tell you how a group is trying to share a message to people across the Northwoods who live on a waterway about keeping their shorelines as natural as possible.

And after more than two years without a food market in Land O' Lakes, a new store opened up this morning to fill the gap. We'll talk to the property owner, the store manager and the store's very first customer to find out what it means to the community to finally have a food market in town.

We'll bring you this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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EAGLE RIVER - On April 22, sheriff's deputies in Vilas County responded to a rollover crash near St. Germain.

The driver, Karen Ives, was thrown from the car.

So was her six-year-old daughter.

Her two sons were also hurt.

Now, prosecutors say their mother had three times the legal limit of alcohol in her system. The State Crime Lab found her blood-alcohol content was .258.

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