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NEWS STORIES

What the Wausau Paper Brainerd Mill Closure Means for Wis. MillsSubmitted: 02/22/2013
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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Boy found safe after becoming lost in the woodsSubmitted: 09/02/2014

FLORENCE COUNTY - A family in Florence County needed help finding their three-year-old after he disappeared in the woods Monday.

The boy was missing for nearly two hours Monday morning.

The family was packing up to head home when the boy wandered away around 9:15.

He had walked about a half mile into the woods.

The family says he was very wet but healthy.

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Watch out for kids as school resumesSubmitted: 09/02/2014

RHINELANDER - Students went back to class in many districts across Wisconsin Tuesday morning.

The Wisconsin State Patrol wants drivers to watch out for them.

Some kids might get to and from school on their bikes.

It's the law to give bikers three feet of space when you're passing them.

You also need to stay 20 feet away from stopped school buses.

Parents should make sure their kids know how to stay safe on their way to and from school.

Kids need to watch out for traffic.

Parents should remind them texting while walking can be a distraction.

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State seeks feedback on unemployment insurance systemSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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RHINELANDER - More than 50,000 people in Wisconsin apply for unemployment benefits every week.

Now, the state Department of Workforce Development wants to know how it can improve the unemployment insurance system.

"Our Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council really likes to get out there and hear firsthand from those who deal with that system directly. We're looking for their suggestions and their ideas on what we might do to make the system even better," said Dave Anderson, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the state Department of Workforce Development.

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Special chair offers people with disabilities new opportunitiesSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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RHINELANDER - It can be difficult to get around the Northwoods, especially in the snow. For people with physical disabilities, it can seem almost impossible. A new piece of technology changed Bob Simon's life. Now he's hoping to help others with physical disabilities enjoy the outdoors.

"I used to love to hunt and fish," he said.

But when Simon, who is from Rhinelander, lost his legs during a work accident in 2008, he didn't know if he'd be able to enjoy the outdoors again.

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Merrill businesses find counterfeit billsSubmitted: 09/01/2014

MERRILL - Someone might be making counterfeit bills in the Merrill area.

Several businesses told Merrill Police they were paid with counterfeit money in the last few weeks.

There are many simple ways to tell if a bill is real or fake.

We have a guide, and you can access it by clicking below.

Within the past year, businesses in Antigo and bars in Rhinelander have had problems with counterfeit money.

Contact the Merrill Police Department if you have any information.

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Fewer people at Merrill's Labor Day Car Show because of weather Submitted: 09/01/2014

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MERRILL - You wouldn't find as many people at this year's car show in Merrill compared to years past.

The car show usually gets about 2,000 people each year.

Organizers say they got about half of that this year because of the weather.

The Merrill Lions Club organizes the event.

This is one of the group's biggest fundraisers of the year.

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Manufacturer to move from Prentice to PhillipsSubmitted: 09/01/2014

PRICE COUNTY - The expansion of Northcentral Technical College's Phillips campus helped persuade one manufacturing company to move closer to the campus.

OEM Fabricators will move its Price County facility from Prentice to Phillips.

All 28 employees will also move to the larger shop, which will focus on welding.

The company's president said the tech college's manufacturing expansion factored into the decision.

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