RHINELANDER - We can often judge how the economy is doing, by the strength of the housing market.
Things have been rough since the housing bubble burst in 2007.
Buyers and sellers are just starting to feel good again.
But how long will that feeling last?
Dave Olson's house has been for sale for a year.
He hasn't hired a broker.
But he thinks this is the summer to sell.
"You know that there are people out there buying homes, so there are more people looking than maybe what there was a year ago," Olson said.
That's optimism that homeowners in the Northwoods haven't felt lately.
Kim Brixius has been selling homes for 16 years.
This winter was her best ever.
She thinks that's because a historic opportunity is almost closed for good.
"The interest rates and the historically low values," Brixius said. "I think it's driving people to realize if they wait much longer, they're gonna miss out."
Interest rates are historically low because the Federal Reserve is buying bonds to keep them there.
But Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says if the economy continues to improve, they will slowly step back.
"If the incoming data supports the view that the economy is able to sustain a reasonable cruising speed we will ease the pressure on the accelerator by gradually reducing the pace of purchases,"Bernanke said.
Brixius thinks that would bring Wisconsin home sales to a screeching halt.
"All that could put the brakes on the buyer situation, so then sellers may be waiting a lot longer than they thought,"Brixius said.
Regardless, Olson is staying positive.
"I'm very optimistic," Olson said. "I'm thinking one that the market should be getting better; it has to be getting better."
And hopefully the Northwoods won't have to experience another housing burst anytime soon.
Supporters of a second softball field at Pioneer Park in Rhinelander will need to wait for any decision on if those plans can move forward.
The Parks, Buildings and Grounds Committee decided Monday night to hold a public hearing in front of the full city council before deciding on whether it wants to accept the park plans.
The Rhinelander softball program hopes to build a second softball field at Pioneer Park just south of its existing field. The program would use about $50,000 from donations and fundraisers to build the new field. Softball coach D.J. DeMeyer tells Newswatch 12 the second field would allow the city to host upwards of 70 games a year, including RHS softball games, tournaments, and city recreation leagues.
But the new field would require cutting down nearly 10 trees and take up space routinely used by the fair and farmers' market. City Administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner says she's heard from plenty of people worried about space issues.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker still owes nearly $900,000 on his failed presidential campaign, which ended abruptly last fall.
The campaign has been gradually reducing its $1.2 million debt from the end of 2015. According to finance records, the campaign owed $898,676 at the end of April, down about $50,000 from the previous month.
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