SHAWANO - The lights never go out at Christensen Printing and Publishing in Shawano.
President and CEO Rod Christensen's plant operates 24 hours a day, cranking out about 135 magazines, shoppers, and local newspapers.
"They're from all over Wisconsin," Christensen said. "Every little community around here we pretty much print for."
Local papers like the Forest Republican, Merrill Foto News, and Antigo Times roll off the presses. They're all on newsprint from Canadian mills, like just about every newspaper in Wisconsin. Christensen takes in about 60 tons of the paper each week.
But this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce upped the tariff on Canadian newsprint to about 30 percent.
That's hitting small newspapers and printers hard. Christensen said he's now paying an extra $40,000 per month for newsprint compared to last year.
"In order for us to survive, we try to give the best deals we possibly can to our local communities," he said. "That's getting harder and harder and harder to do with these new increases in pricing."
Andrew Johnson owns and operates three weekly community newspapers in Dodge County. He's also the vice president of the National Newspaper Association.
"This tariff would jeopardize our news in Wisconsin," Johnson said in a Skype interview.
He's worried the tariff could put some small Wisconsin newspapers out of business.
"We definitely are at risk of losing [them]," Johnson said. "If the prices go too high and/or we can't get supply, we would go out."
Johnson said the tariffs were triggered by a loophole in Commerce Department code. Lawyers and investors associated with a small newsprint-producing mill in Washington state found and exploited the loophole, starting the tariff.
This year, Johnson will lobby the Commerce Department to get rid of the tariffs. He'll argue, in part, that a loss of newspapers could mean a loss of small towns.
"There is no one else that's really interested in your communities," Johnson said. "I think without that, the community would lose its identity."
In Shawano, Christensen is frustrated with the tariffs.
At the same time, he keeps a positive outlook.
"We'll be around for a long time to come," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind."
FLORENCE COUNTY - Two high school students died in a car crash early Friday morning in Florence County. The wreck happened at around 6:20 a.m. according to the Florence County Sheriff's Office.
The vehicle was traveling north on County Highway N in the Commonwealth Township, when the driver lost control while making a turn. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway, and hit a tree, bursting into flames upon impact.
The names and ages of the Florence High School students will be released after notifications are made.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group working to maintain recreational trails in the area got some help in their mission. The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association received grants to help fund its various projects.
The group got two DNR Recreational Trail Act Grants totaled at a little more than $13,000. The WPS Foundation also gave a total of $1,800 in grants. The grant money will be used to help with multiple projects.
One project is to construct a boardwalk over the wetlands of the Cassian Cross County Ski Trail. RASTA is also going to construct a new ski trail at Washburn.
For more information on all of RASTA's projects, visit their Facebook page lined below.
MINOCQUA - Owners of wooden boats describe them as labors of love.
"If you're going to own a boat like this, you have to have a commitment," said boat owner Marc Toigo. "It's not optional."
It's the kind of commitment Gordon Moore had when he helped start the Minocqua Antique Wooden & Classic Boat Show 26 years ago. Moore passed away in August, making this weekend's show the first without him.
"We're going to laugh a lot, because he'd want us to," said show organizer Al Hanley. "(Moore) had a great sense of humor, he was a truly unique individual."
- In the last week, more than a dozen people in the Wausau area found their cars damaged or broken into.
In a span of six days, at least 17 vehicles were either keyed, had windows bashed in or had stuff stolen from them.
"Some weirdo doings some weirdo stuff that's how I look at it," said Jon Radtke who lives in the neighborhood where items were stolen from a handful of unlocked cars."It's kind of (strange) for this area. We really don't have a lot of problems in the area."
Last Friday, two vehicles parked at the East High Apartments on Street and Adams Street and three more just down the street were broken into.
"We're working on who [is doing] this," said Wausau Police Officer Brian Burkhardt.
He says a few days after the break-ins around 7th Street; he received calls of 12 cars being vandalized, nothing stolen just vandalized.
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