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.
EAGLE RIVER - Several Northwoods schools wanted to make it clear to their students Wednesday, there's always someone there to talk to. Anti-Bullying and suicide prevention speaker Bob Lenz spoke at Three Lakes and Northland Pines high schools Wednesday. Northland Pines Dean of Students Josh Tilley said he hopes students walk away from the talk knowing they can reach out to at least one person when they feel alone.
"Over the last few years, we've been bringing speakers in, national, local and state speakers so that we can really help our students understand that if they feel different they have the opportunity to be an individual, but if it's hurting them they can get help," said Tilley. Northland Pines staff members recently looked closely at their relationships with students by reviewing class rosters. They want to make sure all students have support.
MARATHON COUNTY - Two important Wisconsin products won't benefit from a possible trade war. It will likely hurt them. Last month President Trump placed tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports. China came back and slapped tariffs on more than 100 U.S. products. The motives are political. But the effects trickle down to hurt local economies.
When it comes to growing ginseng, nobody does it quite like Marathon County.
"Wisconsin ginseng is sort of the cream of the crop when it comes to American ginseng," said Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises Director of Operations Mike Klemp-North.
Ninety percent of the U.S.'s ginseng crop is grown in Wisconsin. Ninety-five percent of that crop is grown in Marathon County.
ANTIGO - People around the country will see just how much a police officer killed in the line of duty meant to his family and community.
Karl's Transport in Antigo revealed its newest semi-trailer design Tuesday afternoon. The trailer features Everest Metro Detective Jason Weiland. Weiland, 40, was shot and killed in a shooting rampage around the Wausau area on March 22, 2017.
MADISON - The Legislature's finance committee is giving the Department of Corrections more money to cover prisoner health care.
The agency was budgeted $80.6 million in fiscal year 2017-18 to inmate health care but now expects to spend $90.7 million thanks to rising drug costs, more hospital visits for the prison system's aging inmate population and rising contract nurse costs.
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