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NEWS STORIES

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


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
Walker looking at 6 to 7 agencies for changesSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says he's looking at consolidating or making ``major changes'' at six or seven state agencies.

Walker talked in general about his ideas for merging state government operations on Wednesday after speaking to Senate Republicans.

Walker says he doesn't think a special session will be necessary to do that, but he does hope the Legislature will act quickly on the ideas early on. He says he learned from the creation of public-private economic development agency that it's better to have more time to transition into something new than not.

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Foundation sues state over contraception recordsSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the state to obtain records related to a decision not to enforce Wisconsin's contraceptive coverage law.

Gov. Scott Walker's administration announced in July it would no longer enforce the law against employers with religious objections in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruled companies with religious objections such as Hobby Lobby can avoid the contraceptive coverage requirement in the federal health care overhaul law.

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Perfect for the holidays- Northwoods woman donates kidney to friend Submitted: 12/17/2014

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SUGAR CAMP - You might find all the joy you need this Christmas between two best friends.

Jean Neumann and Patty Bonack fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.

They've shared a friendship for four years, but now they share something else.

Neumann found out she needed a kidney transplant in May.

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Study: Lincoln County professional departments well trained in hazardous materials, volunteer departments need workSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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MERRILL - Would responders in Lincoln County know how to best handle a hazardous material spill in their area?

It might depend on where that spill happens.

A study for a county committee found a big gap in how prepared certain departments might be to handle hazardous materials.

For the most part, professional fire departments and law enforcement are trained well to respond.

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Plea deal in Tomahawk marijuana plant bustSubmitted: 12/17/2014

LINCOLN COUNTY - The second of two people arrested for having 44 marijuana plants reached a plea deal in Lincoln County Court on Wednesday.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jessica Teich pled no contest to a felony for having a drug trafficking place.

She also pled no contest to two misdemeanors for having THC and drug paraphernalia.

The felony charge will be dismissed if Teich successfully completes her 18-month probation.

Tomahawk Police arrested Teich and 34-year-old Jamaal Wilson last April.

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On the Wilderness Act's 50th anniversary, acquaint yourself with pristine areas of northern WisconsinSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - The first thing you notice in this forest is the silence.

That's the way it was meant to be at Blackjack Springs Wilderness east of Eagle River.

It's a venerable forest, to be sure, but the harvest here isn't timber.

"A Wilderness area," Bob Martini says, "what you're harvesting here feeds the soul."

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Grant pays for high school students to get welding diplomas while in high school Submitted: 12/17/2014

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PHILLIPS - Some Northwoods companies need more skilled workers.

A local technical college got a grant this year to help train people to fill welding jobs.

The grant pays to send high school students to Northcentral Technical College in Phillips and Wausau.

Ten high school students from Price and Taylor counties travel to NTC in Phillips three days a week.

"They will be graduating from Northcentral Technical College with their degree in Gas Metal Arc Welding and it will probably be about a week before they graduate high school," says NTC Phillips Dean Bobbi Damrow.

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