What the Wausau Paper Brainerd Mill Closure Means for Wis. Mills
Story By Lyndsey Stemm
RHINELANDER - We found out yesterday a Wausau Paper mill in Brainerd, Minnesota will close. That's bringing the impending sale of the Rhinelander plant back to the forefront of many minds here in the Northwoods.
Many people aren't sure whether to be relieved or worried, so we spoke with a representative from the company today.
Wausau Paper expects the Brainerd mill to close by April. The company will try to sell the mill. But it will close first, and the town will lose about 130 jobs.
Director of Investor Relations Perry Grueber says the factors that led to the decision to close that mill are specific to Brainerd. He says there are specific differences between that mill, and the two Wisconsin mills up for sale.
"Both the Rhinelander and Mosinee mills are substantially larger operations with substantially larger workforces. They have far more diversified product offerings and have been very well established in the technical specialty market for many years. They are performing significantly better at the present time than Brainerd was," says Perry Grueber.
Brainerd's customers will still need to get their orders from somewhere. Grueber expects production for those products to move to Rhinelander or Mosinee. That should make those mills more appealing to buyers.
Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns hasn't heard of any serious interest yet.
But he and a group of other community leaders wrote a letter in a show of support for the city, and one of its biggest employers. They also asked Wausau Paper to keep the lines of communication open so the city and its people aren't kept in the dark.
"We just have to be patient and see where it goes. And I know it's hard for a lot of people in the community. There are families out there that want to know, 'Can I buy this? Can I do this? Can I do that?' But I'll tell you, with a positive attitude I think we can all come through it very well," says Mayor Johns.
He told us when news of the sale first broke, the City of Rhinelander would do whatever it could to help find a buyer, and keep the mill open.
Students get opportunity to plan for life after high school
MINOCQUA - High School students need to start thinking about life after high school during their junior and senior year.
On Wednesday Lakeland Union High School and Nicolet College hosted the Wisconsin Education Fair to help them with that.
Nearly 80 colleges, universities and branches of the military offered information to high school juniors and seniors from all across northern Wisconsin. Schools from as far away as Nevada and Alabama came to the fair.
KENOSHA - Authorities have been searching a Kenosha County lake for a missing fisherman from Illinois.
The search on Silver Lake began Tuesday night after family members reported 66-year-old John Spoor of McHenry, Illinois, had not returned from his fishing trip. Sheriff's officials located the man's boat, but there was no sign of him.
Kenosha County Sheriff's Sgt. Bill Beth says the department had five boats on the water Wednesday. The search was halted Wednesday evening because of darkness, and the Kenosha News reports search teams are expected to return to the scene Thursday morning.
TOMAHAWK - More than 50 fourth graders from Tomahawk learned about nature on Wednesday as part of long-lived education program. UW-Stevens Point staff at Treehaven host programs to teach elementary students about nature. The program has been around Tomahawk Public Schools for more than 25 years.
"We are doing a lot about the history of Tomahawk, the people that were here in the early 1800s and just a little bit about the land," explained Naturalist Rachel Anderson. "Right not we've been doing some tree identification and forestry measurements, but this morning they were learning about the voyagers and the Native Americans in this area."
The program covers more than just fall-learning, Treehaven leaders host learning programs in the spring and winter as well. You don't have to be a student to take part in some of the programs at the learning center. They include group hikes where you practice and discuss identifying plants and trees.
"We've had two this fall, and I'm hoping that is something we can continue to do in all seasons and continue to offer," said Anderson. "We've been getting a lot of positive reinforcement that it's something that the public is really interested in, so we hope to continue to offer more in the future."
Treehaven leaders regularly offer programs to the public involving nature, education, and artistry. If you are interested in learning more about these programs and events, you can follow the link listed below the article.
APPLETON - Many Wisconsin drivers who lose their driving privileges have continued to operate their vehicles and commit additional violations.
According to Wisconsin Department of Transportation data, there have been more than 57,000 convictions for operating while suspended, without a valid license or after revocation this year. That number follows last year's trend, when nearly 114,000 licensing-related convictions were reported.
During the first six months of 2014, more of the state's residents were convicted of driving with suspended licenses than speeding 11-19 mph over the limit.
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