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 - The school bells rang Tuesday morning for students across Wisconsin.
Another school year has begun with kids looking forward to a new year.
It also means that drivers should be on the lookout around schools.
In Merrill, police keep a close watch around school zones the first few weeks of class.
Speed limits drop dramatically as drivers enter school zones.
Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff says it's important to be especially observant this time of year.
"Especially the first week or two of school because kids are excited, and maybe not so excited, about getting back to school," Neff said. "They're thinking about their friends and maybe not paying attention to traffic."
RHINELANDER - We'll enjoy great weather this week, but we know it won't last too long. Workers at golf courses across the area know that incoming fall weather spells the end of their season, so they're trying to capitalize on the next few weeks of warm forecasts.
NORTHWOODS - Children went back to school across the Northwoods Tuesday. That's why it's important to make sure you're prepared for anything.
Emergency workers say it's important to have a plan in place for all possible emergency situations. That plan should include emergency contacts, safe meeting locations, and emergency kits in homes and cars. Officials say taking time to plan and practice is crucial.
"Look at things before it happens," says Dawn Robinson, Oneida County Emergency Management Program Assistant. "Make sure your family, your loved ones, your neighbors, make sure everyone has a plan and practice those plans. That way when something does happen, it becomes more, that you know what to do, so be prepared as much as possible, and practice."
Part of being prepared is communication and knowing who to contact. Officials encourage parents to make sure that schools have up-to-date emergency contact information, especially for small children.
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