Northwoods home sales and interest ratesSubmitted: 06/20/2013
Story By Adam Fox

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.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/24/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on the details of a fatal car crash in the Town of Stella that took the life of a teenager late Saturday night.

This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history. But it also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths. No one knows for sure why, but we'll tell you about some possible reasons.

And the Elcho-White Lake High School football team agreed to play an 8-man football game against a nearby high school's team. We'll tell you how it's helping out the nearby team.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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WISCONSIN - This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history.

The totals cement Wisconsin's title as the best state in the U.S. for bear harvests with 4,643 registered.

But it wasn't all good news for bear hunters. 

This year also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths.

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Newswatch 12 learned earlier this month Chief Steffes is leaving Rhinelander to take a job with the Department of Justice.

Steffes beat out 34 other candidates to win the chief job in 2007.  Police and Fire Commission President Todd McEldowney expects to see dozens of new applicants this time.

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People like Dylan Schielke can help make that happen.

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Jennings died September 8, two days after he was struck by lightning while walking his dog.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim says the Town is now accepting letters of interest from anyone wanting to fill Jennings's seat.

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RHINELANDER - A Marathon County man who drove to Rhinelander to meet up with a 15-year-old girl for sex told police he nearly turned around.

Instead, Dustin Zernicke pulled into the Shopko parking lot Friday night and found officers waiting for him.

The 35-year-old Zernicke made his initial appearance in Oneida County Court Monday afternoon.  Undercover officers posted an ad on Craigslist pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.  The post said "Mom sent me [to] Rhinelander for the weekend and I have nothing to do."

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