RHINELANDER - An Independence Day celebration wouldn't be the same without the sparkle and shine of fireworks.
But some types of fireworks aren't allowed in Wisconsin. Using those illegal fireworks in spite of the law can be very dangerous, especially, around children.
It's illegal for you to light fireworks in Wisconsin without a permit.
The Oneida County Sheriff's Office and the Rhinelander Fire Department want you to remember some important details.
"Anything that leaves the ground, or goes bang is an illegal firework. Certainly, if you're lighting off even the legal ones, like the fountains, they can cause brush fires and house fires. You wanna make sure that you're lighting them on either bare dirt, or a concrete blacktop driveway," said Terry William, Rhinelander's Fire Chief.
The fine for using illegal fireworks is nearly $1000.
Your first noise complaint means fireworks will be confiscated.
Rhinelander's Fire Chief says the second call is often too late.
"Unfortunately, the way we end up dealing with the people that use [illegal] fireworks are when the firework goes off on their finger, a traumatic injury from the explosion, or significant burns," continued Williams.
Leaders at the Oneida County Sheriff's Department also want to remind you that many combat veterans live in the Northwoods.
The noise from illegal fireworks could trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
Using fireworks in most state parks and forests is also illegal.
If you're caught using them anyway, that fine will cost you up to $200.
EAGLE RIVER - The first-ever ATV & UTV Side by Side World Championship Derby finished up Sunday afternoon.
Races started on Saturday and continued through the weekend.
Spectators, racers and event staff all say they were pleased with how the event turned out.
"There's always going to be some nit-nat things that need to be changed, but I can tell you for the first event with everything we had going, it really went well," said Russell Davis, the Derbytrack's VP of Sales and Marketing. "And we're going to have some meetings afterward and obviously change some things, but we've got a lot of compliments, mostly positive, and we're excited to build on next year."
Event organizers estimate about 150 racers of all ages and from all over came to the challenge. Winners got cash prizes. The derby also had night events such as a mud run and a freestyle show.
Next year organizers hope they bring in more people.
EAGLE RIVER - Wisconsin native Zac Zakowski won the UTV championship derby on Sunday at the AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack.
"Once you start doing this you can't stop," said professional UTV and ATV driver Zac Zakowski. "It's like a drug."
Zakowski started racing seriously when he was about 17 years old. The fun hobby quickly turned into a pro sport, a career and a lifestyle. He has been traveling to many different races since then, competing at the professional level.
"You kinda miss out on that stuff and you miss it but at the same time when you're doing this stuff, you don't," Zakowski said.
The sport is hard on the body and the wallet. Two years ago, Zakowski said while driving his ATV he hit a tree and tore his ACL in his knee. He was out for two seasons.
One thing almost all ATV drivers, pro or amateur, can agree on is the sport is truly a family affiar.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my family," Zakowski said. "I mean you can walk the pits and probably almost everybody would say they do it because their family supports it and they do it as a family."
"The lifestyle is tiring because you load up the rig and the trailer to travel thousands of miles to race for an hour or two hours depending on the race," said Zakowski's mother, Linda. "Then you load back up to go home. But once you get to that site on the track you're excited and you just can't wait for things to get going."
Zakowski stopped racing for a while when his mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. Now his mother is in remission and Zakowski participates in races that raise awareness for the disease.
"He paints his whole quad pink and has stickers on it," Linda Zakowski said.
TOMAHAWK - A Tomahawk man turns his love for logging into woodworking hobby and business.
Wesley Bushor shows and sells woodwork out of his home.
"I don't consider myself an artist. I'm just, I'm a logger who likes to glue sticks together," said Bushor.
Wesley Bushor started working on his wood pieces about 20 years ago.
"Being a logger I come across things all the time that I like in the woods, and I decided I'd start building some basic rustic furniture, and I built a bed. A few weeks later it fell apart, but I was hooked from then on," said Bushor.
Bushor's house is his gallery, and you can find his work in every room. The result: a whimsical home that showcases his love for his hobby and trade. He's proud of the work he's done.
EAGLE RIVER - The AMSOIL Eagle River Derbytrack's first-ever ATV & UTV World Championship Derby is in full gear.
Racers say they are impressed with the first-ever event.
"There's been really no ATV races in Wisconsin and for them to have us here and do this event, it's going to be pretty cool," said professional ATV driver Cody Janssen. "I'm pretty excited to be a part of it."
The warm weather is a welcome change to racers like Jay Mittelstaedt, who are used to racing at the annual snowmobile derby in the winter.
"It's really weird because if you've been coming here for however long and it's snow and ice and cold...now the grass is green and there's piles of dirt," Mittelstaedt said. "It's a little different but it's pretty cool."
Racers of all ages and skill dashed around the track.
For many racers and fans, the derby is a family affair.
"My husband took it up when he was a kid, he's been racing for almost 20 years, and we just finally got into it these last few years and thought it would be something for the kids to get into," said parent and racer
Michele Grant. "And I started three years ago and it's a lot of fun."
Racers want spectators to see a good show.
"That's why I hope that hill is full today and I hope people come out and appreciate how cool this is," Janssen said.
The event continues until the championships on Sunday afternoon.
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