LAONA - The type of timber harvested in the Northwoods won't change much from year to year.
But a main product it can become wood flooring has undergone a big transformation.
WD Flooring in Laona is a success story with that change.
Last fall, they laid out plans to double their workforce and refurbish a new manufacturing building.
That was so they could better move out of the business of thin strip flooring to the economical and popular prefinished engineered wood flooring.
"Styles of flooring have changed dramatically in the past ten years. I think we've seen more change in this industry - which, really, for a hundred years had been stagnant and had seen little innovation - we've seen more innovation in the past five years than we did in the previous one hundred," says WD Flooring President Peter Connor.
They've hired about half of the 58 new employees they originally planned on so far, with more to come.
The changing flooring landscape - and WD Flooring's change with it - earned them honors.
They took home the Floor of the Year prize at the National Wood Flooring Association convention in Dallas.
"Winning an award like that is a tremendous affirmation of all the hard work that we put in for the last five or six years with regard to changing the products that we're doing, and going into a new course to put us in good stead over the next hundred years as we continue to grow as a company," says Connor.
The winning floor was installed at a penthouse in Minneapolis.
The Boulder Junction Town Board voted two to one Tuesday night to move forward with a town plaza plan. The plan will now go to a design phase.
The board estimated the cost of the design phase to be between $30,000 to $50,000, but it was dropped to about $25,000 at the meeting.
Town Chairman Dennis Reuss and Town Supervisor Dennis Duke voted in favor, with Town Supervisor Denny McGann voting against the plan.
A little more than $1 million may not seem like a lot of money to a city like Madison or Milwaukee. But for a town of fewer than one thousand people, it's a lot. The Boulder Junction Town Board could vote Tuesday whether or not to move onto the next phase of a $1.26 million town plaza project.
Dennis Duke has a vision of what Boulder Junction could look like in a few years.
"This one has a much more artistic flair, this has a more engineering flair if you will," said Duke while looking at potential design plans.
THREE LAKES - The DNR hopes it won't find more Northwoods deer with chronic wasting disease.
Last year, a deer on a game farm near Three Lakes tested positive for the deadly disease. Although it hopes that incident is isolated, the DNR wants more data on the health of the Northwoods deer herd.
The agency is urging hunters near Three Lakes to give their deer heads to the DNR for CWD testing.
RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander will be able to cast their November election ballots starting on Friday. It's the earliest people in Wisconsin have ever been able to vote.
The absentee ballots are stacked and ready for Friday at the Rhinelander City Clerk's office. To make the early voting process go as smoothly as possible, you will need to come prepared.
"When you come in make sure that you're registered. That is important. Make sure you're registered in the city if you're coming into us," said Clerk Valerie Foley.
Registering is easy; all you need is a photo ID and proof of residence. The registration form takes a couple of minutes, and then you will be able to fill out an election ballot.
"I think it is going to be a very busy day. I think people are pretty interested in the issues. And I think a lot of them would like to get and make sure they can vote if they're not certain they're going to make it to the polls in November or not," said Foley.
The clerk's office has already sent out about 200 ballots to people who have requested them.
Now, it is preparing for the early voter in-person rush.
If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or where to go for early voting, the clerk's office suggests voters visit myvote.wi.gov for more information.
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