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.
Technology committee wants to improve Northwoods broadband connectivity
ONEIDA COUNTY - The Oneida County board wants to attract more people to the area. That's why the Oneida County Technology committee is trying to improve Internet connectivity.
The committee is trying to get funding from federal and state sources. As of now the board has put aside $24,000 for broadband development. But they hope to get more.
“We recognize that Oneida County had deficiencies in speed and connectivity and number of people who were able to access broadband in the speeds and capacities that were necessary to do their work,” says Bob Martini, County Board Supervisor. “So we put together a technology a committee that would investigate ways that we could improve this service in Oneida County.”
The committee hopes to fix spots that don't get good broadband service in Oneida County. They think improving the internet could help the Northwoods economy.
“The idea is to give the citizens of Oneida County access, but also to make us the best rural county in Wisconsin in terms of broadband access so that we can attract retirees, businesses, and improve the people's lives that are already living here,” says Bob Martini, County Board Supervisor.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
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