RHINELANDER - We learned last night that Wausau Paper plans to sell three of its mill locations-- including Mosinee and right here in Rhinelander.
The Rhinelander mill reportedly employs nearly 500 people. Some of those employees told us they'd heard rumors for about a month. But they were caught off guard when they heard it was official. Some say supervisors never even formally told them.
They weren't the only ones surprised.
"I heard it last night at eight o'clock. I received a call telling me it was going on and it was in the papers this morning. The first thing I heard about it, it kind of took me by surprise," says Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns.
Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns understands the importance of keeping the paper mill alive. He worked there himself for 40 years.
Johns says he's seen the mill change ownership before, and it's not time to panic yet.
"You never know what's down the line for us and we're going to have a long process. We have to take our time and move slowly through it. And the only thing I can say, is the community can be rest assured that this office and City Hall is well behind anything to keep that mill up in operation," says Mayor Johns.
A spokesperson for Wausau Paper says the company wants to focus entirely on tissue and towel products. This move will likely leave only the Wausau Paper corporate headquarters located in Wisconsin.
Mayor Johns says he's contacting agencies like the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, that can hopefully help find a buyer for the mill.
We'll be sure to keep you updated as we learn more information.
WISCONSIN/THREE LAKES - Wisconsin continues to be the best state nationwide when it comes to producing cranberries. One Northwoods farm is preparing to make this year even better.
James Lake Farms in Three Lakes harvested close to 8,000 barrels last year. They hope to meet those expectations this year.
Right now they are in the growing season. The assistant manager believes Wisconsin is a natural environment for growing cranberries.
"It's fairly consistent as compared to somewhere out on the coast where most of the other cranberries are grown. I think a lot of those things combined help make it a good place to grow," said James Lake Farms Assistant Manager Benjamin Riker.
RHINELANDER AND MINOCQUA - Summer gets us outside playing games on the lake or in the yard, but with cooler temperatures this year, trips to the lake may not be as popular.
That impacts certain businesses in a good way. Imaginuity toys stores in Minocqua and Rhinelander have noticed a difference in the toys they've sold this summer.
"We're definitely getting a lot more traffic with the cooler temperatures. A lot more people in the door, which we're loving. We are seeing a lot more people buying more project based items. They're buying a lot of the active play but not so much the water active," said Jessica Hatch, Store Manager.
Burke releases rural jobs plan, focuses on schools, health & growth
ACROSS WISCONSIN - A new job plan from Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke focuses on her economic objectives with rural Wisconsin.
Many parts of Wisconsin's rural areas, like the Northwoods, lags behind the rest of the state economically; for example, five of the ten Wisconsin counties with the worst unemployment rate in the state are in the rural portions of the Northwoods, according to June unemployment numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
Her focus is on growing the rural economy, boosting healthcare and improving schools.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.