Changing with the Times at WD FlooringSubmitted: 05/06/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

LAONA - The type of timber harvested in the Northwoods won't change much from year to year.

But a main product it can become wood flooring has undergone a big transformation.

WD Flooring in Laona is a success story with that change.

Last fall, they laid out plans to double their workforce and refurbish a new manufacturing building.

That was so they could better move out of the business of thin strip flooring to the economical and popular prefinished engineered wood flooring.

"Styles of flooring have changed dramatically in the past ten years. I think we've seen more change in this industry - which, really, for a hundred years had been stagnant and had seen little innovation - we've seen more innovation in the past five years than we did in the previous one hundred," says WD Flooring President Peter Connor.

They've hired about half of the 58 new employees they originally planned on so far, with more to come.

The changing flooring landscape - and WD Flooring's change with it - earned them honors.

They took home the Floor of the Year prize at the National Wood Flooring Association convention in Dallas.

"Winning an award like that is a tremendous affirmation of all the hard work that we put in for the last five or six years with regard to changing the products that we're doing, and going into a new course to put us in good stead over the next hundred years as we continue to grow as a company," says Connor.

The winning floor was installed at a penthouse in Minneapolis.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

"People come to this whether there's good weather of bad weather," said Executive Director of the Eagle River Chamber Kim Emerson. "And with this year being great weather, we had above-average crowds and it was just spectacular. We're so happy about that."

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the World's Largest Cranberry Cheesecake had already been devoured. Sales of slices go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. 

Organizers said they also almost sold out of cranberries, but they said they would still have more to sell on Sunday. 

There were also dozens of craft vendors, food and wine and cranberry marsh tours.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp portraying lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. all had a piece of history to share.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event had a hay maze, horse drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

"I think it's going great. We got a little sunshine right now. We got probably a couple hundred people here. People are buying food, spending money. It's what we're after," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hanson.

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TOWN OF NEWBOLD - Dreams of a world-class disc golf course and recreation area could soon become reality.  On September 26, people in the Town of Newbold voted to buy about 18 acres of land currently owned by Oneida County.

The land, about a half mile off Highway 47 along Ole Lake Road, was the site of an old landfill that the DNR closed in July 1988. The site has been empty ever since.

Buying the land would essentially double the space Newbold already owns for its planned recreation area.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Lakes bring a lot of visitors here to the Northwoods, but they also bring scientists.

The UW Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction just wrapped up its summer research season.

The UW Trout Lake Station is a research station for limnology students at UW Madison. It's mostly graduate students and faculty from Madison's Center for limnology.

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RHINELANDER - A Wisconsin brewing company executive wants businesses to hire more veterans.

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VILAS COUNTY - In July, Karen Wessel gave her life to save a boy from drowning in Vilas County's Star Lake.  Now she is being recognized for her heroism.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced Wessel as one of 22 recipients of the Carnegie medal.  It's presented to people who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while trying to save the life of another.

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