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NEWS STORIES

Northwoods rail system could see possible upgrade Submitted: 07/30/2013

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RHINELANDER - Manufacturing businesses still use freight trains to bring in products.

It's easier to use a freight train than a truck to bring those products in.

But the rail system needs to be fixed.

The Northwoods Rail Transit Commission wants to improve the area's rail system.

It can be a more economical way for businesses to transport products.

Governor Walker recently signed a law to help the Freight Railroad Preservation Program.

They need more than 1000 surveys from different businesses in the Northwoods.

They've already conducted surveys, but they need more so they can finalize their report for the fall.

"It would be a very difficult selling proposition on our behalf if we don't have the numbers, obviously it's not going to work," said Oneida County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, Roger Luce.

"No one would invest millions and millions of dollars into the rail system right now."

One mile of new rail cost about more than a million dollars.

Most of the products shipped to the Northwoods by rail are coming in from the south and east.

But they have to go a different route because a piece of rail line west of Rhinelander is out of service.

"So if you're bringing a product from the forest of the upper Peninsula and you want to get it down to Wisconsin Rapids or down to the Rothchild Mill, it's a big mess, it's going to take you quite a bit longer." Luce said.

They have two months to get those surveys from different businesses.

Story By: Shardaa Gray
Photo By: Shardaa Gray

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Wisconsin Supreme Court rules cell phones can be used to track suspectsSubmitted: 07/24/2014

MADISON - Many people carry a tracking device everywhere they go, without realizing it.

Now the Wisconsin Supreme Court has sided with police in two separate cases where cellphone data was used to track suspects.

The court's rulings Thursday came in a pair of homicide cases in Milwaukee and Kenosha counties.

Police in both cases used data from the suspects' cellphone providers to find them.

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Sweet As Pie - How pie making benefits Lake TomahawkSubmitted: 07/24/2014

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - All around you witness goodwill gestures. It could be as simple as a smile and wave or opening a door for someone. In Lake Tomahawk, it's making a pie.

"I made a pretzel crust with butter and sugar, " explains Sheila Punches. Sharon Hilgendorf adds, "Flour, for the thickening."

Snowshoe baseball's been entertaining crowds since the 1960's. But over at the concession stand, the pie takes center stage.

Strawberry rhubarb, banana butterscotch pie, blueberry pie, rocky road and coconut cream are just a few of the creations. "I like making ones that I think will appeal to the crowd," says Linda Penno.

Each week a different service club's in charge of the snack shack and in turn, takes home the proceeds. Locals bakers, a lot of local bakers make their best pies and donate them to support the cause.

"You get involved with it over the years and it just becomes your way of life on Mondays," says Punches.

On an average night they sell 80 pies. Each one is cut into six pieces and are only two dollars a slice. That means making almost a thousand dollars is easy as pie.

Ken Lochte of Rhinelander exclaims, "This is the only place you get your dessert first, before you get your food." "It's a great honor and pleasure and I've been doing it for quite a few years now," adds Rebecca Morien.

No matter how you slice it, everyone benefits from this unique fundraiser.

"It is unique and different which makes Lake Tomahawk special," says Morien. "It's a very good fundraiser for the community who in turn give it all back. So, it's kind of a domino effect you know," adds Hilgendorf.

If you think this is a lot of pies, the team is requesting the bakers provide double this Friday. They're hoping to have more than 200 pies for the Snowhawks game against the Wounded Warriors.

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Spirit of the North: water ski team wins state titleSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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CONOVER - The Chain Skimmers Water Ski Team from Conover won the state title for their division last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. Summer water ski shows are a wonderful part of the Spirit of the North.

"I don't know how to spend the summer anywhere else," said Jessica Clark.

She is one of about 35 skiers between the ages of 12 and 31 who spend their summers on Lake Pleasant in Conover. They come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas.

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Update: Woman dies in swimming accidentSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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STAR LAKE - Update: 7/23/14

47-year-old Karen Wessell of Star Lake died in yesterday's swimming accident in Vilas County. A boater pulled 2 people out of the water after they started drowning on Star Lake. We now know Wessell died shortly after.

Wessell went under water during a rescue attempt.

The Vilas County Sheriff says 3 women and 4 kids were along Trampers Trail. 3 boys swam across the channel and were told to come back. They got tired swimming back to shore so the women had to help. Wessell used herself to push one of the boys above the water to keep him from going under. A boater saw them, pulled them out, and started doing CPR.

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Changes in the future for downtown Rhinelander Submitted: 07/23/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can expect to see a major reconstruction in Downtown Rhinelander in 2016. The downtown area will improve its look and layout through a "streetscape" project. The new look could include wider sidewalks, outdoor restaurant seating and parking changes on Brown Street, but before any of that happens, city leaders need feedback from their community.

Downtown Rhinelander Incorporated already had surveys filled out b businesses in the area about parking on Brown Street.

The construction company came up with a compromised solution. The proposal keeps Brown Street as a two way street, but there will be parallel parking on the west side and angled parking on the east side.

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EPA cleans up chemicals from Lindey Cleaners buildingSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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RHINELANDER - You could find EPA crews cleaning chemicals out of a building in Rhinelander Wednesday.

It's been a year and a half since the city decided something needed to be done about the deteriorating Lindey Cleaners.

You might not notice much change on the outside of Lindey Cleaners, but inside crews from the Environmental Protection Agency were hard at work.

The building on Stevens Street has been empty since 2009. EPA workers think 100 to 150 different chemicals were inside the building.

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Unemployment up in Wisconsin's largest citiesSubmitted: 07/23/2014

MADISON - Unemployment is up in all of Wisconsin's largest cities and most counties.

The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11.

Wisconsin's monthly unemployment rate in June was 5.7 percent, unchanged from May.

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