ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Railroads give businesses a chance to move loads of material for a low cost. Loggers could use rail as an alternative to trucking material, but many businesses don't get that opportunity in the Northwoods anymore.
Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.
Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.
In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.
Their goal is to bring back efficient rail to their counties. The group has been working with Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) officials, like Dennis Leong, since forming the group in 2012.
Leong believes there is an opportunity to bring back rail to the region based off of the feedback from businesses and local governments.
"We did a survey of businesses in the Northwoods area and found potentially quite a few business interests in rail," Leong said. "They're meeting with CN (Canadian National) and having discussions, so hopefully maybe certain sections can be brought back to service."
Leong wants to help expand rail in the north, but private companies might only re-establish rail if they think they can make money on it.
"Part of the challenge is that you have to have the volume in which the railroads want to make sure they have an operating system to put back in service," Leong said.
Leaders at the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission are trying to win a multimillion dollar federal grant, TIGER, from the U.S. Department of Transportation to get more log cars for rail in the Northwoods. They'll host their monthly meeting Friday at 10 a.m. at the Oneida County Courthouse.
Wisconsin has 13 freight railroads using a system of more than 33 hundred mile of rail, according to WisDOT.
MERRILL - Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he didn't want to spend too much time at the Republican National Convention last week because he wanted to get back to campaigning in his home state.
The senator from Oshkosh stopped at the Lincoln County Fair on Saturday.
He faces a tight races against former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis).
Johnson gave a speech on Tuesday in Cleveland about national security, as he is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security.
He seems pleased with the Republican presidential ticket.
"I think it's really complimentary to the skills Donald Trump brings to the table," Johnson said. "You got Donald Trump with the private sector experience. You got Mike Pence with a real record accomplishment both in the House and as the governor of Indiana. I think it's a pretty good pairing."
He said he wouldn't pay too much attention to the speeches at the Democratic National Convention this week.
"They've got their ticket, we've got our ticket," Johnson said. "They'll make a bunch of promises they can't deliver on. And what we're going to focus on is economic growth, strengthen our economy so we can strengthen our military, so we can defeat ISIS and secure our borders."
SHAWANO COUNTY - UPDATE 5:13 p.m.--Police say six people, including children, were taken to area hospitals after two sport utility vehicles carrying Boy Scouts crashed in Shawano County.
The accident happened Saturday morning on Highway 29 near Bonduel.
Police say one of the SUVs was towing a trailer with equipment. The driver of that vehicle went off the roadway then overcorrected and lost control. The second SUV hit the first, and both went off the road. The trailer flipped and the second SUV landed partially on top of the first.
Bonduel police Chief Todd Chaney tells the Green Bay Press Gazette that one of the injured, a troop leader, was airlifted to St. Vincent's Hospital in Green Bay with a head injury.
Chaney said he didn't think any of the injuries were life threatening.
MADISON - State attorneys have asked a federal judge to stay a ruling allowing people to vote without photo identification in November's election pending an appeal.
In Milwaukee this week, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued a preliminary injunction allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explaining why they couldn't get the identification.
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