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.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - 4.7 might seem like just a random number, but it gives us an idea of just how cold it was this year. 4.7 degrees was the average temperature for this winter. It's the coldest winter in more than a century.
It’s common to see these sights and hear these sounds in a typical winter. But this year, we heard them a bit more. The Northwoods fought through it’s snowiest and coldest winter on record. What made it so rare was the persistent cold.
MERRILL - Hospitals can sometimes scare kids and even many adults.
That's why one Northwoods hospital wants those kids to be comfortable with doctors if they ever need their help.
Merrill kindergarteners visited Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center on Wednesday.
The kids got to see an ambulance, physical therapy and x rays.
"We try to show them that you know what, the hospital isn't so scary. And we bring them through different areas that they may experience when they come in or they have a family member here. And a lot of times children, if they don't know, they're very afraid. A hospital can be very intimidating, says Jane Bentz, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach.
NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.
Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.
“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”
Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.
“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”
Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.
MADISON - An aide to a Wisconsin lawmaker says Gov. Scott Walker intends to sign a bill that would put outside agencies in charge of investigating officer-involved deaths.
Craig Trost, an aide to Rep. Chris Taylor, says in an email that Walker's office notified Taylor's office that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday.
Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, developed the legislation in response to three high-profile deaths in the last 10 years. None of those incidents resulted in criminal charges.
Supporters say the new requirements will counter claims that police protect their own from consequences of using deadly force. But police observers say the bill could create conflict and confusion for Wisconsin agencies that have traditionally done the investigations themselves.
The bill passed the Legislature earlier this year.
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