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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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 09/30/2014

- The Wisconsin Wetlands Association recently released a new book helping people understand how to care for and protect Wisconsin's wetlands. We visit a Northwoods wetland to find out how people can protect wetlands in our area.

- Plus, Richard Branson recently announced some of his employees at Virgin Airlines will get unlimited holiday vacation time. He's hoping that would increase productivity and keep employees at the company longer, but leaders at Nicolet Staffing in Rhinelander says that won't work here. Find out the details on why unlimited holiday vacation would only work for global companies.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Iconic northern tree species could disappear as Northwoods climate warmsSubmitted: 09/30/2014

FIFIELD - "Here's the paper birch, or white birch. It's one of my favorite trees," Linda Parker tells me as we walk through a part of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest near Fifield.

But her next thought on the tree is not so pleasant.

"This again is one of the species that occurs at the southern edge of its range here. It's more common to the north," she says. "This is another species in which we expect to see large declines."

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Virgin Airlines lets some employees have unlimited holiday vacation days, experts say strategy won't work in Northwoods Submitted: 09/30/2014

NORTHWOODS - Unlimited vacation time might sound unrealistic, but Virgin Airlines is letting some of its employees take off whenever they want. Nicolet Staffing thinks that wouldn't work in the Northwoods.

Virgin Airlines got the idea from Netflix. One hundred seventy employees can only take the unlimited days off when they feel that their team is up to date with every project. They also need to make sure their vacation time won't damage the business or their career.

Nicolet Staffing branch manager Robert Erickson says with so many manufacturers in the Northwoods, that system isn't possible.

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Update-Inmate captured after failing to return to jailSubmitted: 09/30/2014

MARATHON COUNTY - An inmate who didn't return to jail from Huber release will now get a chance to think about his mistake.

The Marathon County Sheriff's department confirms inmate Tommie Rothenberger has been captured.

He was found in Waupaca County around 5:30 last night.

Rothenberger was let out of the Marathon County Jail Friday morning to go to school at Northcentral Technical College.

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Firefighters practice rescue in sewerSubmitted: 09/30/2014

RHINELANDER - Firefighters need to practice rescue techniques so they can stay safe when responding to real emergencies.

Members of the Rhinelander Fire Department spent Tuesday in a sewer to practice rescuing people in a tight space.

Click "play video" to see how and why they do it.

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UW-Marathon County issues voter IDs to students who need oneSubmitted: 09/30/2014

WAUSAU - A local college wants to make sure its students can vote this November.

UW-Marathon County is issuing voter IDs to students that don't have them.

Everyone in Wisconsin needs to have an ID to vote this fall.

The university started making the IDs Monday.

All UW schools will be issuing IDs to students who need one.

"The biggest reason that we're doing this is we really want our students to have that opportunity to vote," says Interim Assistant Campus Dean for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at UW-Marathon County Carla Rabe. "Some of our students may not have the proper voter ID, and so for us to offer that opportunity to our students really just encourages them to really take the importance in voting."

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Preserving Wisconsin's wetlands Submitted: 09/30/2014

RHINELANDER - You can find hundreds of plant species, different types of animal life, and breathtaking views in Wisconsin's wetlands.

Many people want to make sure wetlands are protected for years to come.

One group recently released a book educating others on wetland conservation.

"My favorite part is waking up and looking out the window. Every day is different. Every season is different," said wetlands owner Scott Eshelman.
Wisconsin wetlands surround Scott Eshelman's property.

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