RHINELANDER - We can file our taxes online, send emails instead of letters, and pay our bills without seeing a single piece of paper.
So it made sense that most of us worried Wausau Paper would shut down its Rhinelander and Mosinee mills.
But it now seems that probably won't be the case.
An investment firm in New York called KPS announced in late March it would buy Wausau Paper's Mosinee and Rhinelander mills.
We learned Monday KPS also plans to buy Thilmany Papers, which has mills in Kaukauna and De Pere.
KPS will form a new company made up of Thilmany and Wausau Paper's four mills.
That means the mills will probably stay open.
"This announcement is really great news, not only for Thilmany papers, but also for the entire paper industry in the state of Wisconsin," said Thilmany Papers spokesperson Addie Teeters. "This new company will form, by employee count, the largest paper company in the state, and the fact that we're going to support so many families in the state through well-paid jobs and strong papermaking historical franchises coming together, we're really excited about it."
While computers slowly shut down other parts of the paper industry, this new company won't be threatened, because it will make only specialty paper.
That includes paper for microwave popcorn bags, the medical industry, and sheets to protect steel.
"We are not at risk as some of our competitors have seen of electronic substitution," Teeter said. "We are not in the printing and writing business. Because we have such a strong market, we really feel that these businesses are going to be very strong in the future."
Wausau Paper's spokesperson Perry Grueber would not answer phone calls, but wrote in an email, "This is definitely a positive step."
The deal isn't finalized yet, but could be done as soon as June.
RHINELANDER - People lived through detours, dust, and demolition throughout most of 2016 in downtown Rhinelander. Residents won't see that kind of work in 2017, but the city is planning more closures and road work to finish up the Streetscape Project.
Crews will start with the Davenport Street Bridge shutting down for a month in starting April 17. Public Works Director Tim Kingman says some sections of concrete, sidewalk, and asphalt pavement shifted, settled and cracked over the winter.
RHINELANDER - Cracked concrete, twisted rebar, and overgrown trees and bushes don't paint the most ideal picture for a park. But a Rhinelander alderman sees the perfect chance for a peaceful place to enjoy nature.
Alderman Alex Young hopes to turn an old snow dumping dock site into a "pocket park." The site sits where Norway Street runs into the Wisconsin River behind Ripco Credit Union and the DNR Service Center building.
TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk High School sporting events got an attendance boost this winter. At the same time, local charities benefited from the community's generosity.
The school's Varsity Club sponsored six nights of special events, one for each winter sport. The Varsity Club gave out T-shirts printed with team rosters. Meanwhile, fans brought donations for local charities.
"Each kid would walk in and they'd put on their T-shirt," said Varsity Club member Jackie Elliott. "When we got our student section going, they were all together, and you just had this block of white. It was awesome."
WAUSAU - A contractor fell from a ladder and died at the construction site of the new Hilton Garden Inn in Wausau last week. Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.
Marathon County Sheriff's Captain Dale Wisnewski said Shane J. Cash, 45, of Wisconsin Rapids was drilling holes in the ceiling on Thursday when he fell from his ladder and died on scene.
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