With growing demand, Great Lakes Cheese works on major Wausau expansionSubmitted: 06/25/2018
With growing demand, Great Lakes Cheese works on major Wausau expansion
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

WAUSAU - Each American eats about 35 pounds of cheese each year.

That number is higher than it has ever been.

The demand is good news for Wisconsin, which produces more cheese than any other state and more than all but three countries.

One company is building big in Wausau to keep pace.

"We will have state-of-the-art packaging, trying to create that innovation for the customer that wants to have some of those uniquenesses for the marketplace," said Dan Zagzebski, the president and CEO of Great Lakes Cheese.

The demand for cheese in creative trays, packages, and combinations has led to the major expansion of the Ohio-based company. Next year, the 225 employees from the current, aging Wausau plant will move to the new facility. Great Lakes Cheese will hire 125 more to work on its packaging operations.

"We're thrilled to be in Wausau, and certainly the community has been so supportive over all the years," Zagzebski said.

Wisconsin cheese production continues to dominate the country.

"It's fantastic. It's a great opportunity. People love cheese," said Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association President Kim Heiman.

Heiman said specialty cheeses, like the ones assembled at Great Lakes Cheese, are growing the fastest in popularity.

"Together with the dairy farmers and the cheesemakers, we're helping to feed the world," Heiman said. "We're able to do that with facilities and help like this."

Each year, Wisconsin produces more than three billion pounds of cheese. The industry hopes to build on what it has already.

"We're deploying technology here that will make Great Lakes Cheese in Wausau, WI, the envy of the dairy industry around the world," Zagzebski said.

At a ceremony at the Great Lakes Cheese facility, Gov. Scott Walker celebrated Wisconsin Cheese Day Monday, part of June Dairy Month.

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TOWN OF LINCOLN - On Tuesday around 9:45 p.m. Forest County Sheriff's Deputies performed a traffic stop in the Town of Lincoln for a vehicle that failed to stop at a stop sign.

The driver was identified as Dana M. White. She was taken into custody for operating a motor vehicle while revoked.

Police found a clear plastic bag containing marijuana in the vehicle. While performing a search of White in booking at the Forest County Jail, she removed a clear plastic bag from inside of her containing 15 individually packaged bags of crack cocaine.

The 27-year-old Green Bay resident is being held in the Forest County Jail on felony charges including possession with intent to deliver cocaine, possession of THC and operating after revocation OWI related.

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TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk police arrested three people they think committed four burglaries over the weekend.

Chief Al Elvins said in a press release his department responded to a "suspicious activity" complaint on Tuesday in the 800 block of North 4th Street, which would be in the block north of the new Kwik Trip.

About 700 collectible coins, power tools, lock boxes, and construction materials were stolen.

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MADISON - Republican state Senator Steve Nass is looking to kill or delay new regulations Governor Scott Walker ordered to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Walker ordered the Department of Natural Resources in May to develop rules requiring deer farmers to upgrade their fences and restrict deer carcass movement.

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Green Alert IssuedSubmitted: 09/18/2018

EAU CLAIRE - A Green Alert has been issued for a 38-year-old veteran.

Nicholas Wagener was last seen in the City of Eau Claire on September 5, 2018, at approximately 3 p.m.
Wagener was riding a bright green bicycle and had a large backpack with him. He said he was going camping with his father, but no family member or friend has been in contact with Mr. Wagener since September 5th.

Wagener has left without contacting anyone for long periods of time in the past, most recently living in the woods using his advanced outdoor survival skills.

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WISCONSIN - Emergency teams met in groups throughout Wisconsin Tuesday for the North Central Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition.

The groups called in on a conference call to work through fake scenarios in each county.
Each county had to work through an emergency plan for a mass shooting.

Oneida County worked through a mock scenario at Hodag County Fest.

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PHILLIPS - In Missouri, the ruffed grouse population could vanish in the next few years. The bird is losing its habitat, and a state conservationist calls the situation "perilous."

That trend convinced biologists to try something creative with help from Wisconsin.

Over the last month, the Missouri Department of Conservation has scouted, set up, and collected grouse from specially-designed traps in Price, Lincoln, and two other Northwoods counties. This weekend, the Missouri team caught and moved its 100th and final grouse to Missouri.

It's an effort that's needed for that state, which hasn't had a grouse hunt since 2011 because of dwindling populations of the native bird. This is the first year of a three-year project to move 300 healthy grouse from the Northwoods to land in Missouri just west of St. Louis.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's first full time city administrator since 2016 wants people to know he is excited to get to work.

Daniel Guild spent his second day as city administrator meeting with people in town and answering their questions.

Guild held a meet and greet Tuesday to go over his past experience and give his future ideas.

Guild is no stranger to the Northwoods. He grew up in Ashland and knows what matters to the people who live here.

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