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What the Wausau Paper Brainerd Mill Closure Means for Wis. MillsSubmitted: 02/22/2013
What the Wausau Paper Brainerd Mill Closure Means for Wis. Mills
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

RHINELANDER - We found out yesterday a Wausau Paper mill in Brainerd, Minnesota will close. That's bringing the impending sale of the Rhinelander plant back to the forefront of many minds here in the Northwoods.

Many people aren't sure whether to be relieved or worried, so we spoke with a representative from the company today.

Wausau Paper expects the Brainerd mill to close by April. The company will try to sell the mill. But it will close first, and the town will lose about 130 jobs.

Director of Investor Relations Perry Grueber says the factors that led to the decision to close that mill are specific to Brainerd. He says there are specific differences between that mill, and the two Wisconsin mills up for sale.

"Both the Rhinelander and Mosinee mills are substantially larger operations with substantially larger workforces. They have far more diversified product offerings and have been very well established in the technical specialty market for many years. They are performing significantly better at the present time than Brainerd was," says Perry Grueber.

Brainerd's customers will still need to get their orders from somewhere. Grueber expects production for those products to move to Rhinelander or Mosinee. That should make those mills more appealing to buyers.

Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns hasn't heard of any serious interest yet.

But he and a group of other community leaders wrote a letter in a show of support for the city, and one of its biggest employers. They also asked Wausau Paper to keep the lines of communication open so the city and its people aren't kept in the dark.

"We just have to be patient and see where it goes. And I know it's hard for a lot of people in the community. There are families out there that want to know, 'Can I buy this? Can I do this? Can I do that?' But I'll tell you, with a positive attitude I think we can all come through it very well," says Mayor Johns.

He told us when news of the sale first broke, the City of Rhinelander would do whatever it could to help find a buyer, and keep the mill open.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/23/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on what appears to have been a suicide of a Lac du Flambeau woman whose body was found in a Crandon home following a report of a gunshot early Wednesday morning and leaving three people in jail.

At the close of the high school sports season, Lakeland Union High School had the most successful season of all the schools in the Northwoods. We'll review their season and talk with the Athletics Director and two student athletes about the school's success.

And in spite of all the recent rain, a Tomahawk area family is very excited about today's opening of their strawberry farm. We talk to them about the first day and about how the recent rain may affect the berry growth.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - All the spring rain this year makes it difficult for people to keep up with their lawns. It is especially hard on those who make their living off lawn care. 
 
Steinmetz Landscape Design has been in business for 35 years. Owner and founder Alan Steinmetz says the amount of rain this season isn't something he's ever seen. 

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CRANDON - Update 10:55 a.m. Friday

The death of a woman in Crandon earlier this week appears to have been a suicide.

25 year old Savanna Larson of Lac du Flambeau died early Wednesday.

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TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk Berry Farm opened its gates Friday for the first time this summer.

The morning was what Tom Behling calls the perfect strawberry picking weather.

Behling has owned the Tomahawk Berry Farm for more than 30 years.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker is hitting the road to promote cheese.

Walker announced Friday that economic development officials, members of his cabinet, lawmakers and University of Wisconsin officials will be spreading out across the state to celebrate growing cheese companies.

Walker is kicking off "Wisconsin Cheese Day" on Monday with a stop at Klondike Cheese in Monroe.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that loosens fish farm regulations.

Under the Republican bill, fish farms no longer need permits to discharge material into a wetland if the wetland was created for fish farming. Natural water bodies can serve as fish farms and farms wouldn't need permits to construct or enlarge artificial water bodies connected to a navigable waterway. New permit conditions will be prohibited unless needed to meet water quality standards.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Prosecutors think an Oneida County Sheriff's deputy used her job to steal cash, but she could get those charges dropped if she completes a diversion agreement with the court.

Sarah Gardner, 41, also known as Sarah Welcenbach, faces two felony misconduct charges in Oneida County.

According to the criminal complaint, prosecutors believe she paid herself about $1200 from a cash box her office used for drug investigations.

The diversion agreement says Gardner must pay the money back to the Sheriff's Office and complete a six-week accounting course at Nicolet College.

If she does those things, the state can ask to dismiss the case.

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