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Northwoods rail system could see possible upgrade Submitted: 07/30/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray

Northwoods rail system could see possible upgrade
Photos By Shardaa Gray

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.

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander mom said her lifestyle completely changed when a new neighbor moved in. 

She used to love the close proximity and the ability to walk to almost anything in town.

She has two young kids and regularly checks the sex offender registry. 

The Rhinelander mom wishes to stay anonymous. We'll refer to her as Linda. 

Linda found out a sex offender moved in a few doors down from her by flipping through a local newspaper, She saw a small box at the bottom page with a notification. 

"He kind of just snuck in," said Linda. 

William Huntington moved close to Linda's house in May. However, Linda says she knew nothing until she did research of her own in July. 

"When I saw what he was found guilty of I was in shock. I was in complete shock," said Linda. 

He was convicted in Dane County for repeatedly sexually assaulting his 8- year- old neighbor about twenty years ago. He's now required to wear a lifetime GPS monitoring system. 

Dana Wszalek works with the Department of Corrections in Rhinelander as a Regional Chief. Her office supervises people like Huntington in the community.

"What we do is not a cookie cutter type of approach to supervision; it's relative to what their risks are based on their case dynamics," said Wszalek. 

State law requires high risk sex offender to live at least 1,500 feet from churches, schools and playgrounds. Restrictions on other sex offenders are left to local offices. 

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office says there are no ordinances for sex offenders in Oneida County.

"They have different life experiences. They are a part of the community," said Wszalek. 

Wszalek understands the wariness community members might feel.

"As a parent it's important to be aware of who's in your neighborhood," said Wszalek. 

Linda said one of her 6- year- old child was planning on walking to school with friends this year, but instead they'll get driven.

"I feel like the neighborhood we moved into to be able to have these things has been taken away," said Linda.

Linda said she was shocked she didn't get a call or knock on her door from law enforcement.

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