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.
FOREST COUNTY - Bringing your pet along to watch fireworks might seem like a fun way to spend the Fourth of July, but you could be doing more harm than good.
July 5th is one of the busiest days of the year for most animal shelters.
That's because fearful pets try to escape the bangs and flashes from fireworks and end up lost.
Forest County Humane Society president Jay Schaefer says don't let yourself add to your pet's stress.
Play it down, and make the fireworks a good thing with positive talk and treats.
"They're reading cues from us constantly. So be careful of your body language and the cues you're giving them. If you act like fireworks are a big scary thing they're gonna be like, 'oh my god fireworks are scary,'" says Schaefer.
Exercise can be another way to calm your pet before the big light show.
Burning off the energy earlier in the day may help your pet go to sleep early.
"Take them for a jog on the Fourth of July. I know it's hectic, but do something so they're not all amped up at night when the fireworks go off," says Schaefer.
Like many humans, pets like the smell of lavender.
You can try diffusing the scent around the house to put your pet at ease.
Make sure you have a well-fitting collar and identification tag on your pet.
If flashes are too bright, you might want to close the curtains.
WAUSAU - Every year, firefighters around the country ask their communities to fill up boots with money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Wausau Fire Department kicked off its "Fill the Boot" campaign Tuesday morning.
The fire department will be at local events throughout the summer to collect donations.
The fundraiser helps with research and treatment for neuromuscular diseases for kids and adults.
"It's kind of a rewarding part of the job. Most of what we do is off camera, you don't really get to see all aspects of the fire department. It is a great chance for us to get out there and see all the programs we are involved in to help,"says firefighter Matt Tormohlen.
The fundraiser also gives Wausau-area kids the chance to go to a MDA camp.
15-year-old Roy Thorson lives with spinal muscular atrophy and has gone to the camp for the last ten years.
You can find him collecting "Fill the Bucket" donations right alongside the firefighters this summer.
"It's nice to see the generosity of the public. It's nice to the firefighters willing to put their times towards this. It's just cool to see a group come together for a good cause," says Thorson.
You can also send in "Fill the Boot" donations online.
Several Republican senators, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), have said they're not ready to vote.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) says he supports Johnson on this.
"We've given Senator Johnson some suggestions," Walker said. "I think he wants to vote for it, he made the promise when he ran in '10 and then last year in 2016 that he would vote to repeal it, he wants to do that, he just wants to make sure that the repeal ultimately ends up serving the people of Wisconsin well."
Both Democratic and Republican senators say they have issues with the bill.
Some Republicans say the bill doesn't get rid of enough of the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats worry about Medicaid cuts.
Walker says he wants Wisconsin to continue to do what it does well in healthcare.
"What I've asked Senator Johnson is help us do the things we've been successful at," Walker said. "We're a top ten state when it comes to access for healthcare for citizens, we're a top ten state with the quality of our healthcare systems. We want to maintain that going forward."
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the new bill would cause 22 million Americans to be uninsured.
Johnson put out a statement Tuesday saying he was glad there won't be a vote this week.
WAUSAU - Drugs led to four arrests and one death in north-central Wisconsin on Monday.
The Marathon County Sheriff's Office reports a 37-year-old Shawano man died after apparently overdosing on methamphetamine.
Witnesses say 37-year-old Lucas Groshek and his wife, Carolyn, were shaking and convulsing in a car in the eastern Marathon County town of Norrie. Mr. Groshek died before getting to the hospital. Mrs. Groshek, 33, is in stable condition as of Tuesday afternoon.
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