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Rhinelander's Mayor cautiously optimistic mill buyer will keep plant openSubmitted: 03/22/2013
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
Assistant News Director
lkimble@wjfw.com

Rhinelander's Mayor cautiously optimistic mill buyer will keep plant open
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 - Local organizations got the chance to give back to their communities at Saturday's Fall Fest.

 This year it also gave a mother and daughter the chance to get even closer than they were before. 

During Fall Fest on Saturday Nicole Fondie felt a little déjà vu watching her daughter. 

"It's neat to repeat it and see her grow with it," said Nicole. 

As a child Nicole was involved with the girl scouts, but this is her first year as a troop leader to her daughter Zoey's Girl Scouts troop.

"It gives them an opportunity to give back to other people and give back to their communities," said Nicole.
This year the scouts volunteered at Fall Fest. 

"Very proud of her, seeing everything she does, and the way she likes to interact with people," said Nicole. 

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ACKLEY - One person died in a single vehicle rollover in Langlade County Saturday afternoon.

The Langlade County Sheriff's Office says it responded to the crash at Highway 64 and Ackley Road around 1 p.m.

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MINOCQUA - "I've always had a passion for the outdoors," said Predmore.

It's no surprise he's finishing up his third wildlife internship while putting his years in school to good use.

"Wanted to take my biology degree and not work in a lab."

Predmore spends his work days at the wildlife center rehabbing hurt animals and educating the public about wildlife.

"I've enjoyed every bit of it," said Predmore.

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Missing 84-year-old man foundSubmitted: 10/21/2017

EAGLE RIVER - A woman reported her 84-year-old husband who suffers from dementia missing, at around 5 a.m. Saturday morning, in Eagle River.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office searched the home and buildings on the property when they arrived on scene.

At around 9 a.m. a member of the Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue and his K-9 found the man near his home.

He was not injured.

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RHINELANDER - Wild Instincts celebrated the release of BBC's "Supercharged Otters," which filmed at Wild Instincts in Rhinelander.

Saturday's viewing at Rouman Cinema in Rhinelander had a complementary showing of the episode.

The episode features otters that spent seven months with Rehabilitation Director Mark Naniot and his team.

The episode gives people a look into the life of an otter.

"Like everything else it's the web of life. Everything's all interconnected and even if it's just the pure enjoyment of watching an otter swim or catch a fish and seeing how playful they are sliding down a mudslide or sliding through the snow that alone is immeasurable really," said Naniot.

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MINOCQUA - Pretty soon little ghosts, goblins and ghouls will hit the streets expecting tricks or treats.

However, some families may take their kids to church or club festivities as a safer way to celebrate.

Some of those places could actually attract convicted nonviolent sex offenders.

"[Kids] can't defend themselves at that age," said Minocqua vacationer and grandmother Donna Davies.

Davies thinks Halloween is a time to keep an extra eye out for sex offenders.

"With sex offenders you need to be super cautious," said Davies.

In Minocqua, there are no laws keeping nonviolent sex offenders from attending youth groups, children's activities and even boy scouts meetings.

"The public thinks sex offenders are a threat to public safety," said Minocqua Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim.

He says sex offenders are always around, but trick or treating can get dangerous.

"They're there and we don't always know they are there," said Hartzheim.

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ANTIGO - You'll always find 11-year-old Mara Antone wearing her helmet while she's on a bike. Last week, after leaving the Antigo Boys and Girls Club, she had an unexpected encounter. 

"I was riding home and I saw a cop car go and I waved," said Mara. 

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