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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

WOODRUFF - Two events in Woodruff helped raise money for two local groups.

On Saturday there was a craft fair and car show at the Woodruff Town Hall.

The Dr. Kate Museum organized the craft fair.

The money made went to a scholarship the museum gives out.

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RHINELANDER - The Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander opened Saturday for the season.

More than 75 people came to check out the museum in the first two hours it was opened.

It takes a while for workers to get used to working at the complex again.

"We haven't done this since last October, September, you know, and so it's like 'oh okay, how do I do this?'" says Pioneer Park Historical Complex Coordinator Aprelle Rawski.

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LAND O' LAKES - The Land O Lakes Area Artisans (LOLA) Center went through some remodeling for its classroom.

After a few months, the classroom is finally finished, and it's being dedicated to a woman who left a big impact on the community.

Friends and family got together to remember Sandra Brown, who shared her love of art with the Land O Lakes community. She passed away in 2010.

Sandra gave her time and skills to areas that didn't have art programs, and they found a way to show their appreciation.

"The space has been enlarged greatly," said LOLA President Lynn Richie. "It was a coffee shop originally. And it's being dedicated to Sandra Hardy Brown, who was instrumental in bringing us money through a memorial fund when she passed away, and it helped kick start our art classes."

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EAGLE RIVER - One popular Northwoods tourist destination wants to make it easier for visitors to find information about all the attractions the community offers.

The Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center unveiled a new website design recently.

Chamber leaders wanted to make it more convenient for visitors who are already in the area to find something to do.

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WAUSAU - The case against a Weston man who's accused of putting a child's face in extremely hot water will move forward. Twenty-two-year-old Christopher Kolden faces a felony for child abuse.

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About 1:30 this morning, The Store gas station on Stewart Avenue was robbed by a man  who had a t-shirt wrapped around his face to hide his identity.

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EAGLE RIVER - You can get out on the water and help a good cause this weekend. Wildwood Outdoor Adventures will sponsor Paddle Fest on Saturday, May 23

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