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NEWS STORIES

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


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

RHINELANDER - Students at Rhinelander High School hoped they would be driving home in a new car Wednesday afternoon. The prize was part of the school's year-end celebration. The car was the top prize connected to the school's Positive Behavior Initiatives and Supports initiative.

This is the third year that the school district has been involved with the initiative. Throughout the year students who display good behaviors such as being on time and assisting others in the classroom can receive special green cards.

These cards are collected and are put into drawings where students can win prizes such as free pizzas from Dominos. The drawings are a weekly event but the green cards are also held over the year for an end of the year grand prize drawing.

Brittany Haakenson, an art teacher at Rhinelander High School, has been very involved with the initiative and the planning for Wednesday's assembly. She was excited for the work the initiative has been able to accomplish and for the grand prize; a new car. "It's totally random and whoever gets that special key, there is going to be six keys that won't open the car, but there will be that one winner," said Haakenson.

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MONTREAL, WI - Three-year-old Kolton Ouellette spends his days in a crib, a chair, or a piece of equipment that looks like it belongs in a hospital.

Kolton is not like most three-year-olds. He can't walk, he can't talk, and in fact, he can't even open his eyes fully.

Nineteen months have passed since the crime that put Kolton in this state, suffering from severe and permanent brain damage.

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Rain, storms affect golf seasonSubmitted: 05/27/2015

RHINELANDER - The rainy weather could be hurting some golf courses in the Northwoods. The Northwood Golf Club in Rhinelander has had fewer golfers than normal this month.

The club usually has many people pre-book their tee-times for the summer. But this year, not as many people are doing that. The club says it actually had more golfers playing in April than in May this year.

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SHAWANO - A minivan hit and killed a construction worker in Shawano County Tuesday.

30-year-old Derek Stempa of Shawano had been flagging traffic.

68-year-old Dennis St. John of Hurley was driving the minivan when he struck Stempa.

The Shawano County Highway Department had been doing road work in the area.

That's on Highway 47 near the Menominee Indian Reservation.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is in charge of the investigation.

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MERRILL - A one-of-a kind business opened in Merrill this month.   Again and Again is part resale and part online auction, using its own website. The owner moved the business from Wausau after three years partly due to competition.

"In Wausau, I would say yes, the market was already full," said Again and Again Owner Jody Malsack. "You were competing against people that were friends of yours and you knew, and you don't want to step on too many toes. So here (Merrill) it's kind of unique to this area, and I like it that way."

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WISCONSIN - The bee population could be in danger. Beekeepers in the US lost more than 42% of their colonies in the past year, according to the Bee Informed Partnership. In Wisconsin, beekeepers lost even more than that.

Some beekeepers in Wisconsin lost more than 60% of their colonies over the past year. They think long Wisconsin winters could be one of the reasons why so many bees die.

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DNR plans Free Fun WeekendSubmitted: 05/27/2015

WISCONSIN - You might save some money if you decide to go hiking or fishing next weekend. Free Fun Weekend happens statewide on June 6th and 7th. The DNR lets people fish without a license on state waters both days and state parks also waive entrance fees.

"We seem to have a lot more users that want to come in and see what the park is about, take a trip on one of the trails," said Council Ground State Park Superintendent Dawn Bishop. "We do see an increase in use for that weekend."

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