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.
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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