Musky Open’s format
About the time people were thinking it couldn’t get bigger, the 28th annual National Championship Musky Open drew a record 1,222 anglers last weekend and blew away last year’s record attendance by 111 anglers, a whopping 10% increase.
It was a year of firsts, including the first time anglers caught more than 200 muskies of 34 inches or larger. It was the first year a woman won the top angler award, as Michelle Peplinski of Bear Creek caught four muskies that measured a total of 150.5 inches.
The fact that these “musky hunters” caught 219 muskies in just three days of angling shows the general health of the muskie fishery and the quality of the lakes in Vilas and Oneida counties. They broke last year’s record of 198 muskies, which had topped a record set back in 2008.
The credit goes to a conservation-minded state that protects its water resources and muskie anglers who not only practice catch and release, but also support stocking efforts. This year’s field included 69 kids.
Congratulations to Dave Stewart of Rhinelander, who caught a 49-inch muskie on Long Lake in Three Lakes last Friday morning. A replica trophy fish will be created and presented to him at next year’s tournament.
The luckiest contestant was Aaron Lang of Marshfield, who won the drawing for a 2013 Ranger tournament boat. The success of the event shows once again the popularity of a format where anglers fish muskies for the sport of it and win prizes based on a drawing.
This is yet another Eagle River area event that relies heavily on volunteers and the coordinating efforts of Kim Emerson of the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.
Critical access program
The federal Office of Inspector General, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, recently issued a report recommending removal of a Medicare payment status known as Critical Access Hospital (CAH).
Even a simplistic suggestion from some bean counters in Washington can be seriously offensive when you consider that Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital probably wouldn’t exist today without that designation, which allows for reimbursement of Medicare-covered services at cost. Normally, the program covers less than one-third of actual costs.
The hospital’s struggle for financial survival was eased in 2000 when it became Wisconsin’s first CAH. That resulted in a positive bottom line and led to the construction of a new 25-bed facility in 2001.
Eagle River Memorial and the access to quality health care it brings means a better chance of economic growth in the years ahead. The loss of such a facility would prevent the greater Eagle River area from keeping local health care local. It would drive retirees away in large numbers.
It is naive for any federal entity to assume that a rural hospital would continue to operate if its loses the CAH designation.
|Tuesday, August 20, 2013 4:42 PM|