CRANDON - A quarter million new jobs- that's what the Governor promises by the end of his first term.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation wants to help create them, and local companies are taking advantage of the effort.
The WEDC loaned two Crandon companies hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Hometown Trolley recently finished a 20,000 square foot expansion, and Infinity Wood Floors opened a manufacturing location in Crandon in January.
The two companies are bringing 77 new jobs to the area. That's a lot of jobs for the city, but 250,000 jobs is still a ways off. WEDC CEO Reed Hall thinks it's still a realistic goal.
"I do. And we're going to do whatever's in our power to make that number come true. One of the things I think helps us, is I think Wisconsin is right on the edge of a turn-around. I think we have a very stable political environment, or much more stable than it was in 2010, 2011," says Hall.
Hall also thinks the regulatory environment is better than it was in the past. He points to housing and auto sales as indicators of a turn-around.
Hall says economic development in the Northwoods presents unique challenges.
"The timber industry here is so very, very critical. Certainly tourism is so very critical to this area. Broadband issues are sort of unique here too because we don't always have enough broadband capability. I think we need to concentrate on the timber industry specifically," says ," says Hall.
Hall says they'll hold a conference this summer to promote getting more timber harvested from the national forests.
He wouldn't name specific companies, but Hall did say the WEDC is working with other businesses in the area.
EAGLE RIVER - You typically find cotton or denim running through her sewing machine, but Chris Gaffron has been sewing a lot of plastic lately.
"It's just straight stitching, so anyone can do it," Gaffron said.
The "StitchIt" custom embroidery store owner worked on sewing old plastic feed bags from a friend's horse barn, which don't biodegrade. Gaffron and her friend talked about ways to make better use of the trash and came up with an idea to help the homeless.
WOODRUFF - The state will no longer use county-by-county rules to attempt to slow the spread of deadly emerald ash borer (EAB).
Next Friday, all of Wisconsin will be under an EAB quarantine. That means ash wood can now move freely around the state.
In the current system, individual counties are quarantined only if the tree pest was found there. The state restricted the movement of ash wood between infected counties and those free from EAB, trying to keep more areas "clean."
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