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NEWS STORIES

Group hopes tax reform helps industrySubmitted: 09/06/2013
TOMAHAWK - A storied history of industry built the Northwoods.

But it was hit hard by a recession in 2008. Now manufacturing is starting to come back.

Factory floors are humming across the Northwoods. Loggers are cutting and managing the forests.Industry looks good.

That's because Wisconsin ranks fifth in manufacturing growth in the US since 2009, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. But Wisconsin Secretary of Revenue Rick Chandler thinks an improved tax system could help manufacturing break through.

"The feeling is that if manufacturing thrives, every other sector of the economy is going to thrive," Chandler said.

That's one reason why the state cut income tax by 650 million dollars over the next two years.

"That involves reducing individual income taxes, creating new business with tax incentives and other things that make our tax structure more competitive," Chandler said.

Chandler hopes that brings more jobs to the state. But he says people might not be qualified for the open positions. That's where Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation comes in. Executive Director Sarah Kapellusch says they bring Northwoods economic groups, trade schools and employers together.

"This is where the employers can come to the table with the technical colleges up here and create programs," Kapellusch said. "It has been very successful in the past."

But manufacturing isn't the only concern here in the Northwoods. Access to broadband is a struggle. And the group knows connectivity could improve education and jobs opportunities.

"We are all working together to get to the resolution of how we get an internet service provider up here to actually get all of us connected," Kapellusch said.

A connection the Northwoods needs to catch up with the rest of the state economically.

"We're definitely heading in the right direction and we're doing everything possible to pick up the pace," Chandler said.

Everything possible is what Wisconsin might need.

Story By: Adam Fox

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 IN OTHER NEWS
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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Local union fundraiserSubmitted: 07/23/2014

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MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.

Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!

"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."

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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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Hoggie Doggies celebrates National Hot Dog DaySubmitted: 07/23/2014

WOODRUFF - Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wednesday, millions of Americans celebrated National Hot Dog day. That was the case in the Northwoods.

Hoggie Doggies Snack Shack is a staple in Woodruff. Their All-American favorite is the Chicago Style Dog.

The owner Judy Rossi has been there for 12 years and says they go through a lot of dogs.

"Last season we went through almost 17,000 hot dogs. This year we're on track for about 18,000," says Rossi. "Statistically we go through about 8 tons of potatoes in a season, which is close to 16,000 pounds for our homemade french fries. Those are some big numbers for this little place."

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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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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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Northwoods composite panels could mean improvements for home foundations Submitted: 07/23/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.

Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.

The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.

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