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Two Northwoods Companies Expand with Help from Jobs AgencySubmitted: 04/26/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Two Northwoods Companies Expand with Help from Jobs Agency
CRANDON - A quarter million new jobs- that's what the Governor promises by the end of his first term.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation wants to help create them, and local companies are taking advantage of the effort.

The WEDC loaned two Crandon companies hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Hometown Trolley recently finished a 20,000 square foot expansion, and Infinity Wood Floors opened a manufacturing location in Crandon in January.

The two companies are bringing 77 new jobs to the area. That's a lot of jobs for the city, but 250,000 jobs is still a ways off. WEDC CEO Reed Hall thinks it's still a realistic goal.

"I do. And we're going to do whatever's in our power to make that number come true. One of the things I think helps us, is I think Wisconsin is right on the edge of a turn-around. I think we have a very stable political environment, or much more stable than it was in 2010, 2011," says Hall.

Hall also thinks the regulatory environment is better than it was in the past. He points to housing and auto sales as indicators of a turn-around.

Hall says economic development in the Northwoods presents unique challenges.

"The timber industry here is so very, very critical. Certainly tourism is so very critical to this area. Broadband issues are sort of unique here too because we don't always have enough broadband capability. I think we need to concentrate on the timber industry specifically," says ," says Hall.

Hall says they'll hold a conference this summer to promote getting more timber harvested from the national forests.

He wouldn't name specific companies, but Hall did say the WEDC is working with other businesses in the area.



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 IN OTHER NEWS

EAGLE RIVER - During the summer Northland Pines High School is being used as the home base for a foreign exchange program. 

The Northwoods Adventure Quest Program brings students from China and America together.

 Last year travel rules stopped the program from happening, but this year the students and organizers are more driven than ever to keep their mission going. 

"You get to form relationships with people from around the world," said 10- year- old Chase Neubauer. 

This is Neubauer's first time joining the two week Adventure Quest Program. 

The goal of the program is to do more than just keep kids busy during the summer. 

"[It] promotes connections with Wisconsin especially the Northern part [of Wisconsin with] all of China," said WISP Executive Director Xiaodong Kuang.

Kuang is one the organizers of the quest program. He couldn't think of a better way of promoting his goal than starting with young students. 

"[So that] the young generation, who will be the future leaders of the world, [can] appreciate cultures and know more about each other," said Kuang. 

This is Power Liu's first time coming to America with the program. 

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THREE LAKES - One teenager decided to spend a day giving back to the Three Lakes community 18-year-old Maxwell Blanchard lives in L.A but always makes it back to Three Lakes during the summer. 

Blanchard learned how to water ski and wakeboard in Three Lakes at five years old. 

On Sunday he spent the day giving free water skiing and wakeboarding lessons.

"[To] get someone new out there to ski or at least get them attempting. It's always fun when you get the kids who are a little nervous out there and a little shaky, then they get out there and they love it," said Blanchard. 

Blanchard said every year the water sports community chooses a day to give back and participate in "International Pass the Handle Day."

 Kylee Swendson decided to help Blanchard this year with the lessons. 

"It's great for everybody to get a chance to learn especially people who don't get the opportunity every day," said Swendson. 

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MANITOWISH WATERS - "When you have something like this everybody turns a little bit Irish," said Irish Fest volunteer Ron Troller.

Ye Olde Shillelagh in Manitowish Waters hosted its Second Annual Irish Festival this weekend. The big draw for the volunteers and attendees is the music.

"Who doesn't like professional Irish music," said Troller.

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RHINELANDDER - Most people who kayak will go out for a few hours and cover several miles. But one southwestern Wisconsin man is trying to cover more than 400 miles as fast as possible.

Ben Sasse is from Muscoda and is trying to break the speed record for paddling the Wisconsin River.

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RHINELANDER - In June, the Rhinelander City Council approved a fenced-in dog park at Shepard Park. It's something Tina Werres has been working towards for the last 10 years.

On Saturday, about 30 volunteers gathered at Shepard Park to clean up the south end of the park.

The fence is scheduled to be put up in about three weeks so Werres wanted to get the area cleaned up as soon as possible.

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EAGLE RIVER - A woman went missing last night east of Eagle River, but searchers found her safe early Friday morning.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Department got the report of the missing woman just before 8:00 p.m. Thursday.

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MINOCQUA - The tennis courts at Lakeland Union High School usually get filled with students. 

If you stop by the courts during the summer, you'll see a different demographic taking over. 

A group of senior citizens dressed in all white play with wooden tennis rackets to mimic a Wimbledon, tennis game. 

Jerry Sikora never played tennis until the day he decided to get a group together back in 1990. 

"It means a lot to a lot of us that don't do activities that much," said Sikora. 

Since getting the group together for the first time Sikora has gotten a lot of practice. 

He also added about 20 older adults to the team.

 The age range of the players is from the 50s to mid-80s.

"The older you get the smarter you get," said 70-year- old Ted Dasler. 

The group said they only get better with time. 

Sikora said the snowbirds get more practice during warm winters in the south.

"They have no mercy on us when they come back," said Sikora. 

Things can get intense on the court at times, but the friendships and entertainment brings everyone back to play. 

The players said the most important thing is to always have fun. 


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