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Mayor Urges Patience in Paper Mill SaleSubmitted: 01/12/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Mayor Urges Patience in Paper Mill Sale
RHINELANDER - We learned last night that Wausau Paper plans to sell three of its mill locations-- including Mosinee and right here in Rhinelander.

The Rhinelander mill reportedly employs nearly 500 people. Some of those employees told us they'd heard rumors for about a month. But they were caught off guard when they heard it was official. Some say supervisors never even formally told them.

They weren't the only ones surprised.

"I heard it last night at eight o'clock. I received a call telling me it was going on and it was in the papers this morning. The first thing I heard about it, it kind of took me by surprise," says Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns.

Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns understands the importance of keeping the paper mill alive. He worked there himself for 40 years.

Johns says he's seen the mill change ownership before, and it's not time to panic yet.

"You never know what's down the line for us and we're going to have a long process. We have to take our time and move slowly through it. And the only thing I can say, is the community can be rest assured that this office and City Hall is well behind anything to keep that mill up in operation," says Mayor Johns.

A spokesperson for Wausau Paper says the company wants to focus entirely on tissue and towel products. This move will likely leave only the Wausau Paper corporate headquarters located in Wisconsin.

Mayor Johns says he's contacting agencies like the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, that can hopefully help find a buyer for the mill.

We'll be sure to keep you updated as we learn more information.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River's Natalie Decker signed with Venturini Motorsports earlier this spring.

When she became a part of the group, she noticed they did a lot of events with PADD, People Against Distracted Driving.

She got involved in that cause by bringing it back to Eagle River for the UTV/ATV Championships.

Her and her family took the annual scavenger hunt and turned it into an event to bring awareness to PADD

Decker thinks her young age can help make an impact on other young drivers.

"It's not like we're 21 yet and drinking and driving. That's another bad thing, but this is becoming even worse. I want to hit all the young kids that follow me, even on my Instagram or Facebook," said Decker.

Once Decker gets across the serious message of PADD, then comes the actual scavenger hunt.

The participants in the event had some funny challenges.

"They had to do crazy stuff like get a picture with a purple sock and a high heel, and all these crazy things and stop at all the bars across Eagle River," said Decker.

If you would like to learn more about PADD, follow the link below.


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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.

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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.

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WOOD COUNTY - A man died after a motorcycle crash on State Highway 54 East of School Lane in Wood County.

The crash happened around 4:41 p.m. Saturday in the Town of Cranmoor.

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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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NEWBOLD - Hundreds of people took time to visit the Newbold Fire Department Saturday for their annual picnic fundraiser.

The event featured plenty of food, raffles, face painting, and live music. This was the 49th year for the event.

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