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NEWS STORIES

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

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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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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/31/2014

- The mining issue might deicide the winner of the 25th State Senate district. The huge district covers a large portion of northern Wisconsin. Two types of mines have caused controversy in the district: a proposed taconite mine in the north and sand mines in the west. Newswatch 12s Adam Fox sat down with both candidates; he'll have the story tonight.

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

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School District of Rhinelander passes 2014-15 budget; sees increase in enrollmentSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - The School District of Rhinelander will get a little bit more funding from property taxes this year. Rhinelander passed a referendum in 2013.

The district gets 4 million dollars per year through 2016.

On Monday the district approved the tax rate and mill levy for the year. Taxpayers will pay $10.99 per thousand dollars of property values.

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Drivers surprised by icy roadsSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - Drivers got an icy surprise as they hit the road this morning.

People needed to show a little caution as they got used to driving on snow and ice again.

Some accidents tied up traffic for a time. In Wausau, one lane of Highway 29 was shut down near Highway 51.

An accident caused the problem shortly after 4:00 a.m. The road was fully open again around 6:00 a.m..

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25th Senate candidates differ over mining law, agree on importance of broadband and educationSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - The mining issue might decide the winner of the 25th State senate district. The huge district covers a large portion of northern Wisconsin stretching from parts of Vilas County to parts of Barron County. Two types of mines have caused controversy in the district. A proposed taconite mine in the north, and sand mines in the west.

Gogebic Taconite is proposing a four-mile open pit taconite mine in Ashland and Iron County. Project leaders say the project will lead to 700 direct jobs, as well as numerous spillover jobs because of the construction of the mine.

Republicans rewrote and passed the state's mining law in 2013. Many believe the rule change weakened water protections, but Republican candidate Dane Deutsch doesn't agree.

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Homeless charity drive needs helpSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - The Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing needs your help taking care of the homeless. The alliance helps homeless people in Lincoln, Langlade, Forest, Oneida, and Vilas counties. Organizers just started the Everybody Deserves Shelter Campaign. Local businesses are helping run the campaign.

"We are working at establishing businesses ,within our hopefully five counties that we serve, that will offer customers and employees the chance to make a nominal one dollar donation," said NATH Executive Director Tammy Modic.

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Hire me then fire me, Northwoods candidate for State Treasurer wants to eliminate positionSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - Hire me then fire me. That's what a Northwoods candidate for State Treasurer wants voters to do.

Jerry Shidell is a libertarian from Rhinelander. You'll find his name on the ballot for State Treasurer. He plans on getting rid of the job.

Shidell says the treasurer doesn't have many responsibilities and the position costs too much.

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100 Yards of Halloween DecorationsSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - A lot of people in the Northwoods will put out decorations for Halloween. But one Rhinelander woman and her daughter have gone above and beyond. They've grown their display for the past 10 years to extend between their houses and covering more than 100 yards.

"We had four boys and we wanted a girl and she was born on Halloween, so my husband said, 'Look, we finally got our witch!'" said Linda Klaver.

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