Truck supply causing challenges getting wood to mills, upfront costs & recession could explain supplySubmitted: 12/19/2014
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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Eagle River Groomers prepare to groom snowmobile trails again Submitted: 12/19/2014

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

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

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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Students experience spirit of giving at Santa's WorkshopSubmitted: 12/19/2014

SUGAR CAMP - One Christmas tradition in Sugar Camp teaches children something very special.

Santa's Workshop helps kids experience what it means to give to others.

Parents and teachers put on the event at Sugar Camp Elementary School every year.

Children in pre-k through 6 grade write out a Christmas shopping list for their family.

They picked out their gifts on Friday.

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Vilas Co. Salvation Army could still use some toys for Northwoods kidsSubmitted: 12/19/2014

EAGLE RIVER - You can help families in need give their kids a special Christmas Day.

The Vilas County Salvation Army is still looking for toys to give to families that need some help this holiday season.

"It's always the 8 to 12-year-olds for boys and for girls. So LEGOs, definitely, are a big hit, action figures. For the girls, you know, arts and crafts kind of things, hair dryers, curling irons, any of those kinds of things," said Vilas County Salvation Army Volunteer Kathy Holtorp.

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Couple sues county officials for putting down donkeySubmitted: 12/19/2014

BUTTERNUT - A Wisconsin couple is suing Ashland County officials for putting down their mammoth donkey named Jethro.

The Daily Press of Ashland (http://bit.ly/1w6ElCB) reports Patricia and Dwight Westmore have filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the county unfairly seized Jethro and four horses from their property last year after a report of maltreatment. The complaint alleges Ashland County euthanized Jethro over the couple's objections. One of the four horses taken later died.

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Northwoods dance team headed to the Orange Bowl Submitted: 12/18/2014

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TOMAHAWK - The Wisconsin Badgers will head to the Outback Bowl in Florida, but there's another Wisconsin team headed to bowl game itself.

Tomahawk's high school dance team will perform during halftime of the Orange Bowl.

The team heads to Miami next week.

They want to have a perfect routine.

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