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Rhinelander's Mayor cautiously optimistic mill buyer will keep plant openSubmitted: 03/22/2013

Lane Kimble
Managing Editor/Anchor
lkimble@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - We need to wait awhile to figure out how the sale of Wausau Paper's Rhinelander and Mosinee mills will really effect the communities.

But Friday night, we did find a sense of cautious optimism coming from city leadership.

Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns worked at the paper mill from 1955 to 1994. He's seen plenty of changes at the plant over the years, including three separate sales.

That past experience keeps him hopeful for the future.

"Confident's not a good word, but I'm hoping that it will be," Johns said. "That's important to all of us. You know, we have PrintPack down on the other side of town, that's an improvement to our community and we're proud of that and we're proud of that paper company."

KPS Capital Partners in New York invested $130 million to buy the two Wisconsin mills.

They're offering Wausau Paper 25 percent ownership in the new paper company they plan to form. Wausau Paper claims the investment group has "significant experience" in the paper business.

Mayor Johns hopes KPS understands Rhinelander needs to keep its mill.

"Any industry in this day and age is important to the community, especially when it's over 100 years old, you've had it here and it's been a part of your community for those many years," Johns said.

The sale isn't official just yet. There are seveal steps to go through, including establishing a new collective bargaining agreement with the unions.

Wausau Paper hopes to wrap things up by the end of the second quarter this year.

KPS invested in Waupaca Foundry, Inc., based in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Just last month, Waupaca Foundry dolled out a $200 million return to investers.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - With spring finally here, you'll probably start noticing more pests around the house.

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WAUSAU - Three people confined for sex crimes will be coming back to the Wausau area.

Wausau police tell us the three men are to be released.

Terrance Steppert has been in prison for more than 30 years.

The 51 year old Steppert was convicted of first degree sexual assault of a child and burglary while armed.

He will go into transitional housing near the Marathon County Courthouse.

65 year old David Schuetz spent six years in prison for 1st degree sexual assault of a child.

He will be on extended supervision for the next 12 years.

And 26 year old Justin Larson was found not guilty because of mental issues on a charge of second degree sexual assault.

He was committed for treatment in 2009.

He will be released to a group home a few blocks from the Marathon County Courthouse.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/02/2016

- Last month, voters in the Unified School District of Antigo rejected a referendum that would have consolidated the district's seven elementary schools. Now the district has to figure out what to do with the teachers, staff and students of one school that will close in June.

- Plus, until now Price County has never had any type of public transportation.  Park Falls hasn't even had a taxi service in years.  That all changed in April with a new bus.

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

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MERRILL - The Merrill Area Public School Board announced Monday that it has received the resignations from its district administrator and assistant district administrator.

Superintendent Wally Leipart and Assistant Superintendent Michele Jahnke submitted their letters of resignation Monday.

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MATTOON - Last month, voters in the Unified School District of Antigo rejected a referendum that would have consolidated the district's seven elementary schools. The referendum would have kept two rural schools�"Mattoon and Crestwood�"open.

But now, Mattoon Elementary School will close in June. The school board voted 5-4 to close the school at the end of this school year.

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PARK FALLS - Park Falls's Bob Kranig hadn't been to the grocery store in three years, by his estimation.

"I've got to rely on other people," he said.

Getting to the store himself was simply too tough. Kranig doesn't walk or drive. He mostly stays in his motorized wheelchair, which he calls his scooter.

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ADAMS COUNTY - Update-We now know the names of two men who died in a two car crash near the Wisconsin Dells over the weekend.

The Wisconsin State Patrol tells us 65 year old Timothy Helm and his passenger, 72 year old Frances Chowaniec died at the scene of the crash.

Both men were from Oxford.

24 year old Kolton Coon of Wisconsin Dells was the second driver.

He was taken to a hospital and expected to survive.

The crash happened Saturday afternoon around 2:00 on County Road B north of state highway 23 in Adams County.

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating.





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