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NEWS STORIES

Iron mine could help rail service push in NorthwoodsSubmitted: 11/22/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Fire exit sign caused school fireSubmitted: 11/21/2014

PRENTICE - Administrators now know what caused a fire in the Prentice School art room, and it's ironic.

A sign that guides people to an exit in case of a fire shorted out.

The fire happened last Tuesday.

No one was in the school at the time because of a snow day.

The fire was contained to the art room.

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Log truck and compact car collideSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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NEAR RHINELANDER - A semi-truck carrying logs and a compact car collided this morning on highway 17 near Rhinelander.

The crash happened on Highway 17 at the intersection of Cross Country Road across from the Cross Country Bar and Grill in Rhinelander around 8 this morning. At this time, the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

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Drew's Piggly Wiggly welcoming new ownersSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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MERRILL - The Drew family will pass its Piggly Wiggly grocery store on to a new family soon.

Brothers Steve and Phil Drew own Drew's Piggly Wiggly in Merrill.

Their family has had a grocery store in Merrill since 1944.

They've owned the Piggly Wiggly for 25 years.

For the Drews, it's always been about family.

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Demmer Library celebrates a milestoneSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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THREE LAKES - Young kids in Three Lakes didn't get to go to kindergarten back in the 1960s. It wasn't offered. So, some community leaders wanted to find a way to prepare children for school.

They created Story Hour at the Demmer Library in 1964 to help. Parents and community members saw it as a way to help children learn to socialize and work in a classroom setting.

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Kenosha man charged in 11-month-old daughter's killingSubmitted: 11/20/2014

KENOSHA - A 34-year-old Kenosha man is charged with killing his 11-month-old daughter.

Russell Rose Jr. was charged Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide, aggravated battery, strangulation, arson and recklessly endangering safety. He is being held on $1 million bond.

Police say Rose was arrested Tuesday. Officers found the girl when they responded to a call in which a woman was screaming that someone had killed her baby. Police say the girl was severely bruised and her face was disfigured.

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Update: Paper mill death caused by blunt force trauma to headSubmitted: 11/20/2014

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MOSINEE - A 55-year-old man died from blunt force to the head at a Mosinee Paper mill on Monday, according to a statement released Thursday from the Mosinee Police Department.

An autopsy shows that severe trauma to his head and chest injuries contributed to Matthew C. Ament's death.

He was installing insulation on the outside of the Expera Specialty Solutions paper mill on Monday.

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Eagle River sees 91% milfoil reduction in chain; planners credit local commission & volunteersSubmitted: 11/20/2014

EAGLE RIVER - You can call the Eagle River Chain's invasive species project a success so far. Eurasian water milfoil has been reduced by 91.3 percent since 2007, but work isn't done.

Eddie Heath, aquatic ecologist for Onterra LLC has been working on the project. Onterra is the firm that does the planning for the Unified Lower Eagle River Chain of Lakes Commission. He say the success is above and beyond what they've seen on other lakes across the state, and it has served as a model for other systems.

"By which we learn from some mistakes, we build upon some successes, and we move forward in an adaptive management strategy," Heath said.

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