ANTIGO - The first graduating class from a Northwoods forestry program will receive their diplomas this May, and most of them have job offers.
It's a program that's taking the forest industry to another level.
But it's not just about the trees.
It's about jobs.
"We're just trying to develop the best possible people for this industry that we can," said Brown.
Northcentral Technical College's Wood Tech program is teaching future forest industry employees, right in Antigo.
"The equipment that we have here on the floor, the curriculum that we teach here at NTC is very unique, and it is cutting edge. It's what employers are looking for when they're hiring new employees," said instructor Travis Allen.
The forestry industry job market looks good too.
With almost 60 thousand jobs in Wisconsin in 2011, compared to 52 thousand in 2010, according to the DNR.
Oradei sees it as a sustainable job market too.
"It's a very desirable industry to be involved with; you're always working with a renewable resource," said Oradei.
Brown is happy to see business growing.
"Business has picked up in the united states and worldwide, so it's getting a lot more fun," said Brown.
Sixteen students in Travis Allen's class are hearing from employers too.
"A week ago I had three different employers contact us for skilled employees, and the nice thing is our curriculum is covering exactly what they want to hire on," said Allen.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
HARSHAW - Oneida County sheriff's deputies found three runaway sisters, ages 14, 14, and 12, in the woods in Harshaw just after 1 p.m. on Monday.
The sisters had been reported missing by their parents Monday morning. The parents had gone to wake the girls up for school, but instead found a note saying they had gone on an "adventure."
The missing girls triggered a search from the Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Unit, Newbold Fire Department Search and Rescue, Minocqua Fire Department, Lake Tomahawk Fire Department, and Little Rice Fire Department.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.
Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander factory that makes smoke flavoring caught fire early Monday morning.
Shortly before 6:00 a.m., Rhinelander, Crescent and Newbold Fire Departments responded to a fire at Red Arrow Products on Rhinelander's west side.
An employee says there were about eight workers inside at the time.
No one was injured.
"Flames were coming out of a conveyor area as high as the roof. We made an interior attack and knocked that flame down. Came in from the other side of the partition wall, then made another interior attack and knocked that down," says Chief Terry Williams.
As of 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters were still working to make sure the flames were out.
RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.
Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway. The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.
They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time. About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
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