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Group hopes tax reform helps industrySubmitted: 09/06/2013
Group hopes tax reform helps industry
Story By Adam Fox

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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - You can find movies, popcorn and candy at Rouman Cinema in Rhinelander.

But Sunday, the theatre lobby was filled with turkeys, corn and potatoes.

Owner of the cinema, George Rouman says he has been donating Thanksgiving meals to those in need since 1995.

Goldie Kalas was lucky enough Sunday to receive the 5,000th meal donated by the cinema since it started 22 years ago.

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RHINELANDER - Drs. Fosters and Smith in Rhinelander sells everything from leashes to liver treats.

But this past weekend the store teamed up with a man who dedicates his life to selling blankets for animals.

"I've always had a passion for pets," said Jeff Hopwood, a 25- year-old from Mt. Horeb who has some serious skills when it comes to making blankets.

"I wanted something that could help raise money for transports," said Hopwood.

About four years ago, Hopwood started making tie-blankets to sell to help animal transports.

"[Transporting is when you] take the animals to another destination and they keep going until they get to their forever home," said Hopwood.

Hopwood got the idea from his friend that told him about selling coats for pets.

"A spinoff would be blankets and it evolved so much bigger," said Hopwood.

It takes a few hours for Hopwood to finish one blanket. And on Saturday he had about 100 ready to be sold.

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ARMSTRONG CREEK - Around 9:12 a.m. on Saturday emergency responders assisted a 49-year-old Crandon man who accidentally shot himself while hunting in Armstrong Creek, according to DNR Safety Specialist Warden Mark Little.

Little said the man saw a deer while sitting in his truck. He went to grab his rifle, and as he was manipulating the gun it went off. A bullet went through the man's upper right leg and lower left leg, exiting out the driver-side door.

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EAGLE RIVER - For people who don't like to hunt, an event held tonight gave them another option. The first ever Widow's Wine Walk took place in downtown Eagle River.

Women could sample up to 15 of 24 different wines at 12 participating businesses. Along with the wine tastings, women who paid the $20 ticket also got coupons for each shop.

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EAGLE RIVER - Americans eat more than 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. That much thawing, handling, and cooking of turkeys means people can make mistakes.

The Vilas County Public Health Department wants to help people avoid exposing themselves to dangerous bacteria. It says frozen turkeys should always be thawed in the refrigerator or under running water.

"You don't want to set them out on your countertop for any amount of time to thaw them because that's when they're going to be in the 'danger zone.' The 'danger zone' is between 40 and 140 [degrees Fahrenheit], and that's when pathogens can grow," said Vilas County Registered Sanitarian Amy Springer.

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RHINELANDER - Snow plows can't do their job very well when cars sit in their way.  That's why Rhinelander's winter parking ban will return in just a couple of weeks.

Starting December 1st, cars can only park on designated sides of the street during the day.  On even-numbered days, cars park on the side of the street with even addresses.  On odd numbered days, cars must park on odd-numbered sides of the street.

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SUGAR CAMP - Students at Sugar Camp Elementary School invited their grandparents to join them at school on Friday. Grandparents toured classrooms, heard poems and stories, and ate lunch with family.

Jenna Erikson is a sixth grader at Sugar Camp. Her grandparents drive two hours from Colby every year to experience Grandparents Day with her.

"We read our speeches, then I showed my grandparents around the room a little bit," Erikson said. "It's really fun, and it's just a good time."

More than 130 grandparents visited their grandchildren at school. Sugar Camp has been hosting the event for decades.

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