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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

VILAS COUNTY - A warming climate could have significant impacts on Northwoods streams. Warming streams, in turn, could put pressure on trout populations in those waterways.

"If we think about streams, it is changing, and that's going to potentially change what can live here and the habitats that are available," said Dr. Noah Lottig, an assistant scientist at the UW-Madison Trout Lake Research Station in Boulder Junction. "We've seen that across a whole range of things and a wide variety of studies."

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MADISON - The Legislature's budget-writing committee plans to reduce Gov. Scott Walker's proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System by $50 million.

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THREE LAKES - The 57 year old wrestling coach, Joseph Fitzpatrick is charged with sexual assault of a minor and delivering drugs to several students.

He's accused of giving students drugs at school and at his home.

That's after one student, caught with marijuana, said she got it from Fitzpatrick.

That 14 year old student also said Fitzpatrick had sex with her.

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THREE LAKES - Eleven campgrounds in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest closed this year after the U.S. Forest Service reduced its funding and services.

The cuts happened because fewer people have been visiting the campgrounds in the last few years, but the Three Lakes Town Board will pay to keep one of its grounds open for the 2015 season.

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MINOCQUA - One Northwoods business gives people a bird's eye view. One year into the business venture, Northwoods Zip Line in Minocqua is happy with the business they are doing.

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Merrill police donate carSubmitted: 05/29/2015

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"We've just retired our last Ford Crown Victoria," said Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff. "A couple of years ago, Ford stopped manufacturing the Crown Victoria as a fleet vehicle. For years we've had Crown Vics, but now we've gone to the Ford Taurus and the Ford Explorer."

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"You would see me breathing deeply," she says, drawing in a lungful of oxygen. "Even now, there's nothing like clean, fresh air."

Liz grew up on this farm, and now owns the place, though she lives in southern Wisconsin. Her father built the majestic cedar-sided barn with her brothers, finishing it in 1944.

"He built this barn as if it would be the last barn he would need to build," Liz says.

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