ARBOR VITAE - A fire at Pukall Lumber last Wednesday didn't slow the company down.
No one worked Thursday and Friday, but that was because of Independence Day, not because of the fire. Now, everything but the paneling shop is up and running.
"The fire started right here at our chipping operation, we chip scrap up and blow it into our silos," said vice president Rick Wilson. "There's some foreign object, we think, that got into our chipper that created a spark and started the fire."
Wilson can't remember the last time they had a fire like this.
"We had an employee who noticed some smoke coming out of the top of the building and when we got to the fire, it was already quite large," he said. "We did what we could with the fire extinguishers until the fire department came."
Arbor Vitae fought the fire along with five other departments. Firewalls helped, too.
"The building is really not a total loss," Wilson said. "This is one corner of a very large building. The firewalls did their job and we were able to limit this fire to this one section."
Wilson guesses the damage here will probably run about half a million dollars.
"This building is only paneling and flooring operation. It's a minor part of our business, so overall, we will rebuild it, but it won't have a significant impact on our operation."
Wilson says a fire in any other part of the building would have done millions of dollars' worth of damage. He's also grateful for a quick response.
"I want to thank all the local volunteer fire departments," he said. "They did a great job, they responded quickly and they were very professional."
The panel shop will take at least a few months to rebuild.
MADISON - The Wisconsin Senate has unanimously approved an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan that would close the troubled Lincoln Hills prison by 2021 and replace it with smaller regional facilities.
The Senate voted without any debate Tuesday to pass the plan, which largely mirrors what the Assembly unanimously approved last month.
RHINELANDER - Looking back on his 28 years as airport director, Joe Brauer says he has a lot to be proud of.
"When we got the disabled passenger lift, the non-motorized one, we were very, very proud of that," said Brauer, who's worked as the airport director for 28 years. He's also been in the airline business for 20 years.
Now, the longtime Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport director will be passing things off to a familiar face.
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