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Local Paper Mill Cuts Costs With New GeneratorSubmitted: 03/01/2013
Story By Ryan Abney

Local Paper Mill Cuts Costs With New Generator
PARK FALLS - Flambeau River Paper Mill in Park Falls helped itself by installing a Sulfur Burner generator in October. It's how the company is adding to the 11-million dollars it's already saved since re-opening in 2006.

CEO Butch Johnson has been with Flambeau Paper Mills since it re-opened. He knows the company failed the first time because its strategy was out-of-date.

"We see paper mills close all the time. It's really about having equipment that can be competitive in the global market that we're up against."

Focus on Energy President Masood Akhtar teaches his "green" strategy to companies' all-over Wisconsin. He also knows a paper mill with 300-employees can't afford to miss a step.

"If you lose one job in a paper mill, you affect another 6 or 7 jobs. So how will you compete with that, and how will you compete with China? The most important thing these companies can do is reduce their energy costs of manufacturing."

The new sulfur generator will save Flambeau Paper Mill an estimated 600-thousand therms of natural-gas a year.


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The Cassian, Little Rice, Nokomis, and Tomahawk Fire departments joined up for the training. But, for the first time, the fire departments also invited snowmobile clubs to come and observe.

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EAGLE RIVER - The World Championship Snowmobile Derby kicked off in Eagle River Friday morning. 

You might think of snowmobile racing as a sport for adults, but people of all ages are competing. Kids as young as four years old came out Friday to ride their tiny sleds through the finish line. 

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the riders lining up for the world snowmobile championship race. But before those riders came into the spotlight they started as kids. 

"My first race was when I was five," said Maverick Woyke. 

At just 12 years old, Woyke has been racing for seven years. 

"We went and watched a race and he had so much fun watching he decided he wanted to start racing," said Maverick's dad Jesse Woyke. 

Maverick traveled to with his dad from Buffalo, Minnesota to race this weekend in Eagle River. He's no stranger to traveling for the sport. 

"We've been Jackson, Wyoming, Winter Park, Colorado, Deadwood, Duluth, Shakopee in Minnesota, we kind of go all over," said Jesse. 

Maverick isn't the only veteran in the field, many of the young riders have been riding almost as soon as they could walk. 

"I've done this race as long as I can remember. Probably since I was four or five," said 11-year-old Tyler Poker. 

It's a tradition to come to Eagle River at this time of year, and for a lot of these kids, it's a family tradition.

"We were eating dinner and Dad asked me if I wanted to come race, and I said yeah, and then this happened," said 11-year-old Reece Bollmann. 

They travel from all over Wisconsin and the Midwest to have fun, but also to compete. 

"I've been to this race four times now and I've won it the last three times so I'm hoping for a fourth," said 14-year-old Kyle Thome. 

It's a unique sport, and it brings something different than football or baseball. 

"[My favorite part about racing is] the jumps because it's so much air and it's just a blast," said Bollmann.
 
But of course the best part?

"Well, getting off of school," said Poker. 

Many of the kids will spend the weekend watching other riders after they finish their races. And the ultimate goal is to be right there on that Sunday championship starting lineā€¦one day. 
 
"If we could get there that'd be awesome," said Thome. 

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