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.
IRMA - Until Thursday, we never got an inside look at Lincoln Hills School and Youth Prison. We have heard from Lincoln Hills line staff and the Department of Corrections, but never were able to see the facility.
Thursday the DOC held a guided media tour of the school and living units. Newswatch12's Rose McBride has been following the stories that come out of Lincoln Hills for months now, and she went on that media tour.
RHINELANDER - The initial emergency call -- someone screaming for help on a lake near Rhinelander Thursday afternoon -- sounded bad, but it appears it was a false alarm.
Search and rescue crews called in Newbold's air boat to search Lake Thompson around 1:45 p.m.
Pelican Deputy Fire Chief Norman Peterson said first responders first searched the west bay shoreline on foot. They then used the air boat to sweep the entire lake, but didn't find anyone, any tracks, or any places someone might have gone through the ice.
RHINELANDER - It costs nearly $240,000 to run Rhinelander's homeless shelter every year.
Frederick Place got an extra boost this month to help cover those costs with two grants totaling $8,000.
"With our just shy of $240,000 annual operating budget, we typically only get $40,000 from the state and federal government. So we are raising that $200,000 every single year," said NATH Executive Director Tammy Modic.
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