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.
MARATHON COUNTY - The suspect in a Wisconsin shooting spree that left four people dead has been identified, and court records show one of the victims was his wife's divorce lawyer.
A person close to the investigation identified the suspect Friday as 45-year old Nengmy Vang. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak ahead of authorities officially identifying Vang.
WASHINGTON - UPDATE: 3-24-17, 4:00pm: Ryan bemoans collapse of health care bill:
Speaker Paul Ryan says the collapse of the House Republican health care bill means former President Barack Obama's health care law will be around for the foreseeable future.
The Wisconsin Republican addressed reporters minutes after GOP leaders abruptly shelved the legislation, averted likely defeat for the bill. But it still dealt a damaging setback to President Donald Trump, Ryan and an entire party that has long said it wants to annul Obama's statute.
WAUSAU AREA - Organizations in the greater Wausau area set up funds remembering and honoring the victims of Wednesday's shootings.
A Marathon Savings Bank fund will support the families of the two bank employees shot. Dianne Look had worked at Marathon Savings Bank for almost 19 years, and Karen Barclay had been there for more than six years.
ST. GERMAIN - A school bus doesn't feature a lot of amenities. Seats, windows, and that's about it. But a company out of St. Germain thinks buses, and other big vehicles, make the perfect kitchens.
Caged Crow Fabrication is owned by Josh Romaker. He moved to the Northwoods about three years ago. Around the same time a woman in Madison approached him to help refurbish an old camper. He decided to make it into a food truck instead.
"We took on the challenge and that first build was featured on US Today and some magazines and our phone just started ringing. We've got them in Denver, Salt Lake City, New Jersey," said Romaker.
That was just the beginning for Romaker's company, Caged Crow Fabrication in St. Germain. They now specialize in food trucks of all kinds.
"If a customer wants a food truck that looks like a barn or a steam train or a school bus conversion, we really stick to the unique food truck builds," said Romaker.
The 1982 bus that Caged Crow Fabrication is working on now will be complete in a little over a month. The team made up of just a few workers has one rule- they never build the same thing twice. And they take their time.
"We have a sign on the wall here that says 'quality over quantity'. I think our reputation right now is really based on the attention to detail and I think we want to keep that up," said Romaker.
If you're interested in checking out more work from Caged Crow Fabrication, follow the link below.
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