RHINELANDER - A group representing more than a dozen northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan counties would love to see increased rail service in their areas.
The Northwoods Rail Transit Commission believes an iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills would dramatically help their efforts.
The Commission formed last year to push for better freight rail service in the North.
Service by rail companies has slowed or stopped in many areas of the Northwoods.
Rail companies often say there's not enough freight to make service profitable for them.
An operating iron ore mine would increase freight traffic heavily.
"You can see what happened with frac sand mining in the Chippewa (Falls) area. If that mine becomes operational and starts shipping ore, a lot of that could come east toward the port in Escanaba. That will help give reason and volume to reopen that Highway 8 line that we're talking about," says Northwoods Rail Transit Commission Chair Wendy Gehlhoff at a meeting of the Commission Friday in Rhinelander.
Most of the rail line that hugs Highway 8 from Ladysmith to Pembine currently sits unused.
The Canadian National railway shut down service, saying it wasn't profitable.
The director of Michigan Tech University's Rail Transportation Program addressed the Commission Friday.
He stressed that for a rail company to operate, it needs to see a way to make money on carrying freight in a certain area.
"If we have high volumes, low value, long distance - if you don't look at rail or intermodal, you're absolutely nuts. It has to be in the equation, or you're not going to be able to compete with the other regions of this nation or other nations," said Dr. Pasi Lautala.
The Commission's next task is to get better information from companies on how they would use rail service, if it was available.
MERRILL - When you live to be 100, you often often outlive your friends and even family members.
Lenore Ehlert, from Merrill, turned 100 years old on Wednesday.
"Well, actually, it doesn't feel much different, it's just another day," said Ehlert.
While celebrating that milestone, she found herself thinking of her husband who she lost 65 years ago.
Her husband, Merrill Police Captain, Elmer Krueger was shot and killed while on duty in July of 1952.
"July 19th and he died about three days later," said Ehlert.
Records from that time show an officer's death didn't lead to weeks of ceremonies and salutes like it does now.
"After the funeral, everything was just kind of forgotten," said Ehlert.
But decades later, it's not all forgotten. Merrill police officers, members of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and other first responders were all at the party to show that they were bonded for life after the tragedy years ago.
"It really is truly, that Lenore is part of our family," said Michael Caylor with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.
In addition to law enforcement, Governor Scott Walker, Congressman Sean Duffy and Attorney General Brad Schimel all wrote Lenore letters wishing her a happy birthday.
"It's quite an honor and I know part of it is for my husband and his memory," said Ehlert.
Elmer's memory was seen all throughout Lenore's special day.
"Know that you're part of the law enforcement family. Elmer was a brother, most of us didn't know him, but he's a brother nonetheless," said Lincoln County Sheriff, Jeff Jaeger.
She was surrounded by friends and family helping her celebrate her 100 years.
"If we're all to live as old and to be as loved as yourself, what a wonderful world this is going to be," said Caylor.
When asked for advice on how to live to be 100, Lenore said to keep your mind and body active, and to eat good food.
MADISON - MADISON, Wis. (AP) - " The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's request to provide federal low-interest disaster loans for individuals and businesses affected by flooding.
The SBA will provide loans for up to $200,000 for damaged homes, $40,000 for damaged property, and $2 million to businesses for physical damage and economic loss because of flooding.
MERRILL - A $5 million facility that just opened in Merrill hopes to give people a place to learn more about heavy equipment and technology.
On Friday, Nortrax, a division of John Deere, celebrated the grand opening of a facility. Dozens of community members and officials were at the ribbon cutting.The process to open up the location on South Pine Ridge started a few years ago.
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