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Rhinelander's Mayor cautiously optimistic mill buyer will keep plant openSubmitted: 03/22/2013

Lane Kimble
Assistant News Director
lkimble@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - We need to wait awhile to figure out how the sale of Wausau Paper's Rhinelander and Mosinee mills will really effect the communities.

But Friday night, we did find a sense of cautious optimism coming from city leadership.

Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns worked at the paper mill from 1955 to 1994. He's seen plenty of changes at the plant over the years, including three separate sales.

That past experience keeps him hopeful for the future.

"Confident's not a good word, but I'm hoping that it will be," Johns said. "That's important to all of us. You know, we have PrintPack down on the other side of town, that's an improvement to our community and we're proud of that and we're proud of that paper company."

KPS Capital Partners in New York invested $130 million to buy the two Wisconsin mills.

They're offering Wausau Paper 25 percent ownership in the new paper company they plan to form. Wausau Paper claims the investment group has "significant experience" in the paper business.

Mayor Johns hopes KPS understands Rhinelander needs to keep its mill.

"Any industry in this day and age is important to the community, especially when it's over 100 years old, you've had it here and it's been a part of your community for those many years," Johns said.

The sale isn't official just yet. There are seveal steps to go through, including establishing a new collective bargaining agreement with the unions.

Wausau Paper hopes to wrap things up by the end of the second quarter this year.

KPS invested in Waupaca Foundry, Inc., based in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Just last month, Waupaca Foundry dolled out a $200 million return to investers.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

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RHINELANDER - It's barely 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and this group is already breathing hard.

About a dozen members of the YMCA of the Northwoods pedal fast and slow, their bike shoes spinning up and down.

Judi Linder is drenched in sweat. But class members like her keep coming back.

"It's been seven-plus years that I've been doing Sue's spin class," Linder says.

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MARATHON COUNTY - People living in the Aspen Apartments in Weston said they're still shaken up by shootings from two days ago.

Neighbors who lived in the same building as the suspect, Nengmy Vang, say some of them have been allowed to come back to their apartments today.

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WAUSAU AREA - Organizations in the greater Wausau area set up funds remembering and honoring the victims of Wednesday's shootings.

A Marathon Savings Bank fund will support the families of the two bank employees shot. Dianne Look had worked at Marathon Savings Bank for almost 19 years, and Karen Barclay had been there for more than six years.

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ST. GERMAIN - A school bus doesn't feature a lot of amenities. Seats, windows, and that's about it. But a company out of St. Germain thinks buses, and other big vehicles, make the perfect kitchens.

Caged Crow Fabrication is owned by Josh Romaker. HeĀ moved to the Northwoods about three years ago. Around the same time a woman in Madison approached him to help refurbish an old camper. He decided to make it into a food truck instead.

"We took on the challenge and that first build was featured on US Today and some magazines and our phone just started ringing. We've got them in Denver, Salt Lake City, New Jersey," said Romaker.

That was just the beginning for Romaker's company, Caged Crow Fabrication in St. Germain. They now specialize in food trucks of all kinds.

"If a customer wants a food truck that looks like a barn or a steam train or a school bus conversion, we really stick to the unique food truck builds," said Romaker.

The 1982 bus that Caged Crow Fabrication is working on now will be complete in a little over a month. The team made up of just a few workers has one rule- they never build the same thing twice. And they take their time.

"We have a sign on the wall here that says 'quality over quantity'. I think our reputation right now is really based on the attention to detail and I think we want to keep that up," said Romaker.


If you're interested in checking out more work from Caged Crow Fabrication, follow the link below.

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MARATHON COUNTY - The suspect in a Wisconsin shooting spree that left four people dead has been identified, and court records show one of the victims was his wife's divorce lawyer.

A person close to the investigation identified the suspect Friday as 45-year old Nengmy Vang. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak ahead of authorities officially identifying Vang.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 03/24/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We take you to Wausau and bring you a conversation with a neighbor of Nengmy Vang, the suspect of Wednesday's shooting in the Wausau area that took the life of an officer and 3 other people.

Investigators say Wednesday's shooting started with a domestic incident between Vang and his wife. We'll bring you observations from a domestic abuse advocate and a family law attorney.

And the arguments are done and the case is in the jury for the trial for Kristopher Torgerson, the Wausau man who is accused of killing Stephanie Low and burying her body in Forest County. We'll take you to Wausau and talk about where the case goes from here.

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

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WASHINGTON - UPDATE: 3-24-17, 4:00pm:  Ryan bemoans collapse of health care bill:

Speaker Paul Ryan says the collapse of the House Republican health care bill means former President Barack Obama's health care law will be around for the foreseeable future.

The Wisconsin Republican addressed reporters minutes after GOP leaders abruptly shelved the legislation, averted likely defeat for the bill. But it still dealt a damaging setback to President Donald Trump, Ryan and an entire party that has long said it wants to annul Obama's statute.

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