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Group hopes tax reform helps industrySubmitted: 09/06/2013
Story By Adam Fox

TOMAHAWK - A storied history of industry built the Northwoods.

But it was hit hard by a recession in 2008. Now manufacturing is starting to come back.

Factory floors are humming across the Northwoods. Loggers are cutting and managing the forests.Industry looks good.

That's because Wisconsin ranks fifth in manufacturing growth in the US since 2009, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. But Wisconsin Secretary of Revenue Rick Chandler thinks an improved tax system could help manufacturing break through.

"The feeling is that if manufacturing thrives, every other sector of the economy is going to thrive," Chandler said.

That's one reason why the state cut income tax by 650 million dollars over the next two years.

"That involves reducing individual income taxes, creating new business with tax incentives and other things that make our tax structure more competitive," Chandler said.

Chandler hopes that brings more jobs to the state. But he says people might not be qualified for the open positions. That's where Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation comes in. Executive Director Sarah Kapellusch says they bring Northwoods economic groups, trade schools and employers together.

"This is where the employers can come to the table with the technical colleges up here and create programs," Kapellusch said. "It has been very successful in the past."

But manufacturing isn't the only concern here in the Northwoods. Access to broadband is a struggle. And the group knows connectivity could improve education and jobs opportunities.

"We are all working together to get to the resolution of how we get an internet service provider up here to actually get all of us connected," Kapellusch said.

A connection the Northwoods needs to catch up with the rest of the state economically.

"We're definitely heading in the right direction and we're doing everything possible to pick up the pace," Chandler said.

Everything possible is what Wisconsin might need.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 01/16/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos responds to harsh criticism from Rhinelander's Robert Kinney, a former member of the Ethics Commission who resigned a month ago saying the board "require(s) too much secrecy and too little transparency."

We'll tell you why it's important to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species even in winter.

We'll introduce you to a Land O' Lakes elementary student who didn't want anything for himself this Christmas but instead wanted help from the community so he could give to his classmates.

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

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PHILLIPS - The Phillips School District covers 600 square miles. That means a lot of time on the bus for many students, and a lot in fuel costs. This year Phillips is trying something new, hoping that investing a little extra money now pays off down the road.

The Phillips School District bought two new buses for this school year. Both buses run entirely on propane, rather than diesel. 

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MINOCQUA - It takes a lot of guts to quit your day job and follow your passion. But one Minocqua woman has had success with her painting. And now she's sharing it with others.
Benson quit her job as a dental assistant three years ago to follow her passion as an artist.
"When I learned that I could make people happy with things I created…it was more of an encouragement for me to pursue it more," said Benson.
Now, she teaches others about how to step out of their comfort zones.
"Persuade you to take up something new or something you thought you couldn't do is always a good thing," said Benson.

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ANTIGO - In a week, the Christmas trees of Antigo will burn in a huge bonfire.

Community volunteers will burn the trees next Monday in the annual city event. This Monday, those trees disappeared from the streets.

City workers rounded up, crushed, and hauled away Christmas trees from the curb all across the city.

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EAGLE RIVER - It took a couple years to come back, but lots of volunteers made sure Eagle River could get its ice castle back in time for the middle of winter.

The icy tradition took more than one-thousand hours to put together.

The Eagle River Fire Department and other volunteers stacked the 90 pound blocks over the last five days.

Each ice block is nearly uniform, so they fit together like legos. 

"It's a tedious process using those ice scrapers and getting that tight seam," said Fire Chief Michael Anderson.

Even though it took a lot of hours and manpower to get the job done, Anderson says they do it for the Eagle River community.

"I see it as an obligation for our community, to put it together because they like it so much and it brings so many tourists to the area," said Anderson. 

The castle will stay up as long as the weather stays cold. 

You can visit the castle at any time. It is near the railroad depot on Railroad Street in Eagle River.


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RICE LAKE - Police say a man in a small northwestern Wisconsin community was killed after he followed through on his threat to explode a bomb in his apartment building.

Rice Lake police say 12 to 14 residents were evacuated before the explosion and subsequent fire that destroyed the one-story building Sunday night.

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EAGLE RIVER - An Eagle River girl with some special skills hopes you'll go online to support her.

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