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.
Northwoods filmmaker makes movies for the big screen
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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