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NEWS STORIES

Wausau Paper to Merge with Thilmany PapersSubmitted: 04/24/2013
Story By Lex Gray


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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

STAR LAKE - Three people remain in the hospital after a car crossed the center line on County Highway K in Star Lake on Saturday.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office got the call of an accident around 3:45pm Saturday.

51-year-old Eric Sather of Conover was heading east when he crossed the center line and hit another car. 67-year-old John Schroeder from New Holstein and his wife, Jane, were in the other car.

One male driver was flown to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, while the female passenger was taken to Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff. The other male driver was taken to Eagle River Memorial Hospital and later flown to Marshfield.

Alcohol may be a factor in the crash.

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ST. GERMAIN - There might not be snow on the ground right now, but that doesn't mean people can't enjoy snowmobiles. 

More than 5,000 people were in St. Germain on Sunday for the Classic Sled Roundup. 

The Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain organized the event.

This is the 11th year of the event. 

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RHINELANDER - Many people in the Northwoods got the chance to try out canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards this weekend.

Mel's Trading Post held a paddle demo day in Rhinelander.

Anyone could come out to Hodag Park to try out the equipment.

The store's owner thinks it's good for people to try boats out before buying them. 

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WISCONSIN DELLS - A 21-year-old Chicago man who went missing in the Wisconsin River near the Wisconsin Dells remains missing.

Police in Columbia County are using sonar to try and find his body. Police say the man went under water around 7:15pm on Saturday while swimming to shore and didn't resurface.

Divers worked until midnight to find the man. Search efforts continued Sunday morning. Police say the man was fishing on a rock island area and appeared to get caught in a current while swimming back to shore.

Family members and witnesses tried to help him but couldn't. The victim's name is not being released at this time.

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WOODRUFF - Two events in Woodruff helped raise money for two local groups.

On Saturday there was a craft fair and car show at the Woodruff Town Hall.

The Dr. Kate Museum organized the craft fair.

The money made went to a scholarship the museum gives out.

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LAND O' LAKES - The Land O Lakes Area Artisans (LOLA) Center went through some remodeling for its classroom.

After a few months, the classroom is finally finished, and it's being dedicated to a woman who left a big impact on the community.

Friends and family got together to remember Sandra Brown, who shared her love of art with the Land O Lakes community. She passed away in 2010.

Sandra gave her time and skills to areas that didn't have art programs, and they found a way to show their appreciation.

"The space has been enlarged greatly," said LOLA President Lynn Richie. "It was a coffee shop originally. And it's being dedicated to Sandra Hardy Brown, who was instrumental in bringing us money through a memorial fund when she passed away, and it helped kick start our art classes."

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RHINELANDER - The Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander opened Saturday for the season.

More than 75 people came to check out the museum in the first two hours it was opened.

It takes a while for workers to get used to working at the complex again.

"We haven't done this since last October, September, you know, and so it's like 'oh okay, how do I do this?'" says Pioneer Park Historical Complex Coordinator Aprelle Rawski.

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