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TOP STORY

Truck supply causing challenges getting wood to mills, upfront costs & recession could explain supplySubmitted: 12/19/2014

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LAONA - Northwoods loggers describe business right now as great. KLP Logging and Trucking Owner Kevin Kramer says it's a golden time to get into the business. The Laona business owner says timber prices are high, so is demand, but he's facing issues getting logs to the mills.

Some loggers can't find enough trucks to get their logs from the Northwoods to paper mills. Kramer would love more trucks in the area.

He believes it started in the early 2000s. Kramer says a number of trucks went to the southern U.S. to cash in, and clean up hurricane damage. He says many didn't return.

Slower demand following the recession in the late 2000s also hurt supply.
"Then that forces guys, that are borderline that aren't really (in good shape) and working on the edge, you know all of a sudden it slows down and they can't make it so they have to get out of the business," Kramer said.

KLP Logging and Trucking in Laona made it through that. The company runs seven trucks. Kramer says truckers have been getting better pay for transporting logs, but an increase could help.

"I think the rates could come up on trucking a little bit," Kramer said. "They have come up over the past like three years, trucking rates have come up which has helped, but they still could come up a little more."

Bobby Connor is a co-owner of Connor Forest Management in Forest County. Earlier this month, he said he was about four or five weeks behind in hauling.

"You got to find more trucks and crews, and it is just really hard to do right now," Connor said. "There are not a lot of people around willing to do it."
Some groups are setting up satellite log yards to help. The yards shorten the distance, and time, local trucks need to haul wood.

"I have one down here at Nicolet, there is probably 2000 cords of wood down here for NewPage. The whole reason their doing this is because NewPage is 130 miles from Laona. Well I don't have time to truck every load of wood 130 miles."
The mills can then pick up the logs themselves when they need them, but more trucks would still help.

Kramer says start-ups and young entrepreneurs could help. He adds that an increased harvest levels in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest would also help create more incentive. But upfront costs to get today's tools may be too expensive.

"How many young people have the financial capability of taking a loan out or going out and buying something that's worth $250,000?" Kramer said. "You know, when they go to the bank, they are going to have to have one big pile of money down, especially on a new business venture."

A new truck alone can cost more than $200,000. That doesn't include the cost of acquiring other equipment needed to log in the 21st century.

Kramer also says stumpage prices, the price for the right to harvest timber on certain piece of land, are high. Loggers normally don't get paid on their wood until they get it to the mill, so the high stumpage cost adds more upfront cost, and risk, on land sales.

However, many existing loggers are doing well thanks to record high timber prices and high demand, but they worry what might happen if a mill closes because it runs out of its surplus of wood.



Story By: Adam Fox

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 LOCAL NEWS
Truck supply causing challenges getting wood to mills, upfront costs & recession could explain supplySubmitted: 12/19/2014

Play Video

LAONA - Northwoods loggers describe business right now as great. KLP Logging and Trucking Owner Kevin Kramer says it's a golden time to get into the business. The Laona business owner says timber prices are high, so is demand, but he's facing issues getting logs to the mills.

Some loggers can't find enough trucks to get their logs from the Northwoods to paper mills. Kramer would love more trucks in the area.

He believes it started in the early 2000s. Kramer says a number of trucks went to the southern U.S. to cash in, and clean up hurricane damage. He says many didn't return.

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Eagle River Groomers prepare to groom snowmobile trails again Submitted: 12/19/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Snow groomers in Eagle River spend a lot of time on trails. They make sure they're perfect for snowmobilers, but it takes a lot of time and money to make that happen.

"See how flat it is? With these machines that's what we do to get it flattened out. And it does a good job," said Sno-Eagles Trail Boss Tom Tomlanovich.

You can tell Tom Tomlanovich loves his job.

"See how the trail is up here now?" Tomlanovich said.

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Leadership Oneida Co. candidates to provide help, new ideas for local non-profitsSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods non-profits may struggle to find volunteers, funding, and to stay afloat. A group of people in Oneida County wants to get more involved.

Leadership Oneida County pairs those groups with those people. On Thursday, those groups met to start working towards a common goal.

"We were very pleased to have the group help us and we're anticipating great results again," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen.

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Camp 10 Ski and Snowboard looking for new Ski Patrol membersSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - When it comes to safety on the slopes- you can turn to the National Ski Patrol.

They're on hundreds of ski hills across the country.

Camp 10 in Rhinelander is one of those hills.

The patrol wants you to consider joining.

The ski patrol dedicates its time to keeping skiers safe.

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 REGIONAL NEWS
UPDATE: Great Lakes wolves back on the endangered species list, DNR: disappointed with wolf decisionSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials say they're disappointed a federal judge has decided to place Great Lakes wolves back on the endangered species list.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell's order Friday affects Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The ruling bans further wolf hunting and trapping in those states.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bill Cosh issued a statement Friday evening saying the decision means the state can't authorize anyone to kill a wolf, even wolves discovered in the act of attacking a domestic animal. The statement also said the decision invalidates provisions in Wisconsin law allowing hunters to train dogs to track wolves.

The agency says its disappointed with the ruling and continues to support federal officials' original decision to remove the wolf from the endangered list.

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Flood Warning at Keshena may be extended againSubmitted: 12/19/2014

KESHENA - A flood warning effecting south central Menominee county could be extended again.

The warning for the Keshena area is due to run out at 10:00 p.m. Friday.

The warning will be extended if high water continues to be a problem.

The National Weather Service issued the warning after ice jams backed up water on the Wolf River.

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Wisconsin may see the fewest number of traffic deaths since World War IISubmitted: 12/19/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin may see the fewest number of traffic deaths since World War II.

Traffic fatalities continue to decline across Wisconsin.

As of Wednesday, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Data showed there have been 480 road deaths so far this year.

That's compared to 527 in 2013.

The director of the transportation department's bureau of safety hopes there will be less than 500 fatalities by the end of the year.

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2 Salvation Army red kettles stolen in HaywardSubmitted: 12/18/2014

HAYWARD - Two Salvation Army red kettles have been stolen in Hayward in recent weeks.

The Salvation Army says one of the kettles contained an estimated $400.

The most recent theft happened Wednesday at Walgreen's. Sawyer County Salvation Army director Debbie Huebner says surveillance video shows someone grabbed the kettle's stand and put the whole structure into the back of a vehicle.

Huebner says that kettle had been emptied right before the theft. But a few weeks ago, a thief cut a cable to steal a kettle from Walmart. Huebner estimated it contained $300 to $400.

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