WISCONSIN RAPIDS - A cracked lime kiln has caused a fire that damaged the Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids.
Verso spokesman Phil Hartley says a crack developed in the shell of the lime kiln about 7 a.m. Friday and some lubrication caught fire. He says the damage was limited to some machinery and the paper-making process was not halted.
Nobody was injured, but firefighters from five area departments were on the scene for about three hours.
The kiln is a heating chamber used in the process of making pulp from wood for conversion into paper.
NORTHWOODS - As people start getting ready for the 4th of July, many will camp here in the Northwoods.
The DNR expects almost 3,000 people to camp in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest this weekend.
The DNR thinks this will be their best 4th of July yet, with almost all of the campgrounds full. People say there's nothing better than camping in the Northwoods.
"We like to come up to the Northwoods because it's beautiful and the water's crystal clear," said Prairie Farm resident Peter Fetting. "The other campers are always really friendly, and I've been coming up here for 30 years. This is my 30th year coming up here to camp."
People already got a head start heading out to beaches and on the water Friday. Campers say more people should come enjoy the woods this summer.
ANTIGO - Low temperatures this time of year can cause problems for some farmers. One Northwoods strawberry farm had to close down for a few hours earlier this week because the berries aren't ripening as fast as normal.
"The cold days this week made the berries ripen much slower than normal," says Andy Merry, owner of Merry's Berries.
MINOCQUA - You can find tourists all over the Northwoods already for the holiday weekend.
That means area police departments are busy making sure everyone stays safe.
The Minocqua Police Department has all of their officers working extended hours on July 4th, but the police chief says they worry more about safety than law enforcement.
"[The] 4th of July is more family-oriented," says Minocqua Chief of Police Dave Jaeger. "You have a lot of families down there with their children, so we're down there to make sure that it's a safe environment."
Places like Minocqua will be packed with people this weekend, so police just want to make sure holiday events go on safely.
"We mainly focus on, during the parade, we do the re-route, and we have officers on the parade route in case there's any type of issues or accidents that may occur, that we have to respond to," says Jaeger.
The Minocqua Police Department also works with the chamber of commerce and public works to make sure everything goes smoothly.
MINOCQUA - The Wisconsin DNR kicked off its 7th annual 4th of July Landing Blitz. This is to help out at the boat landings in the Northwoods that will see lots of activity this 4th of July weekend.
The DNR teams up with Clean Boats Clean Waters volunteers from different counties. They monitor boat landings and boats entering and leaving the water.
The goal is to protect the lakes from invasive species and to keep people informed.
"I'm looking for boaters, as they are coming in the lake, before they launch," said Stephanie Boismenue, Lead Aquatic Invasive Species Project Assistant for Oneida County. "I'm helping them to inspect their boats."
Invasive species can hide in many places on boats. Volunteers help clean plants, animals, sand and mud off of boats. Invasive species and certain types of vegetation can cause harm to lakes.
"Everything from the fisheries to the aquatic plants and vegetation can be harmed," says Boismenue. "And the cost that we have to use to put into containing, removing and managing that invasive species can be quite expensive."
Boaters should check their boats when entering and leaving the water.
Clean Boats Clean Waters hopes everyone can do these things to keep our lakes safe.
CHICAGO - The Grateful Dead is ending a run this weekend in Chicago that's gone on so long that one of the city's great repositories of dinosaur bones and other antiquities is displaying some of the band's artifacts.
The band is billing its final three shows of the short "Fare Thee Well" tour as its last under the Grateful Dead moniker.
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