RHINELANDER - Snowmobilers from far away can find The Northwoods when the snow is good.
The last four years, there were fewer snowmobilers in the area because of bad snowmobiling conditions.
The lakes didn’t freeze over early enough.
And there wasn’t enough snow around the holiday seasons.
But this year, local businesses have their entire rental fleets booked on weekends.
“Last year we had a good, fair season but it wasn’t what we’re getting now. Now what’s really nice about it is that we’re getting a wet snow. So what happens when they groom those trails, they’re just like freeways. They’re beautiful,” said Pete Scholtz of Shoeder's Sport Center.
Snow in southern parts of the state has kept some snowmobilers around Milwaukee and Madison.
But snowmobile clubs in The Northwoods are not worried.
“People will ride them down there but pretty soon they’ll come up here. And they'll say you know just riding farm trails is not like it is going through the woods, and seeing the nice pines with the snow hanging over. The scenic ride,” said Jim Wimberger, president of Hodag Sno Trails.
Rain in Southern Wisconsin also gets people to come up to the Northwoods for snowmobiling.
Wimberger says, this year there are plenty of snowmobiles on the trails in Rhinelander.
Future Wisconsin Project wants to bring more workers, manufacturers to Wisconsin
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
TOMAHAWK - The Tomahawk School District will need to make big budget cuts in the next year. The district will need to cut more than $500,000. Rising transportation costs along with declining enrollments challenge many Northwoods School Districts.
“We have a lot of issues in Northern Wisconsin that many districts in the state of Wisconsin don't have,” says Cheryl Baker, Tomahawk School District Superintendent. “For instance in the Tomahawk School District there's about 425 and I'm rounding that off, square miles of terrain that has to be covered everyday two times a day to pick kids up, to bring them to school, and to take them home.”
“That cost is our cost,” says Baker.
The school district does not plan to cut any electives. Instead they are moving from an 8 to a 7 period day.
“We're moving from an 8 period day to a 7 period day purely for economic reasons,” says Baker. “In other words had we not gone to the 7 period day for next year we would have had to of cut entire classes, electives, and or start cutting down teachers full time positions.”
The school district will also need to cut its full time social worker.
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