'Mill Bill' Advances Out of Assembly Committee Published on 06/09/2021 under News Legislation aimed at helping two paper mills in Northern and Central Wisconsin has progressed out of committee in Madison.

Known as the Mill Bill, the initial proposal called on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to provide up to a $50 million loan to help an area cooperative purchase and restart the Verso mill in Wisconsin Rapids which shut down last spring. The purchase would be made by the Consolidated Cooperative of Rhinelander, a co-op entity formed with the backing of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association.

An amendment to the bill made Wednesday added another $15 million loan for the mill in Park Falls. The facility recently idled again just a few months after reopening.

The closure of these mills has had a ripple effect on the Northwoods timber industry as well.

The 'Mill Bill' is authored by Representative Scott Krug of Rome. Representative Calvin Callahan and Senator Mary Felzkowski are listed as co-sponsors of the legislation. It is being proposed separate from the ongoing budget process in an effort to receive bi-partisan support.

Yesterday the bill cleared the Assembly State Affairs committee, and next heads to the full assembly.

In Other News

Rep. Callahan Encourages Eligible Communities Apply for Recovery Funds
Published on 06/16/2021 under News Millions of dollars remain available to municipalities from covid relief funds, and one Northwoods legislator is reminding local officials in his district of the quickly approaching application deadline. The Local Government Recovery Funds come from the American Rescue Plan Act. They've been set aside to help support public health expenditures, negative economic impacts caused by the pandemic, replace lost public sector revenue, provide premium pay for essential workers, and invest in water, sewer, and broadband. Statewide, around 1,200 eligible municipalities have yet to file. That includes 39 municipalities in Representative Calvin Callahan's 35th assembly district. Callahan says, "This funding could have a huge impact on many communities in the 35th Assembly District." Those 39 municipalities could miss out on a combined $3.6 million. These outstanding funds ranged from $11,000 in the Town of Somo up to $800,000 for the City of Antigo. Callahan said in reaching out to those who hadn't applied, the main issue he's heard is that they weren't aware of the funding. He says, "I encourage any municipality in the district that has not yet applied, please do so as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact my office." The deadline for municipalities to apply is coming up on Friday.
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Rhinelander Chamber/Forward Rhinelander Seeking "Best of" Winners
Published on 06/16/2021 under News The Rhinelander Chamber and Forward Rhinelander are looking to find favorite places throughout the community. Earlier this month, the two groups brought back their Best of Rhinelander competition. They're asking community members and visitors to take part in a short survey to identify the "Best of..." in 32 different categories. They range from best trails and lakes to best fish fry and best location for a date. A few unique categories include hidden gems and best Instagram worthy photo location. Winners will be featured on the Chamber and Forward Rhinelander social media accounts. They'll also be recognized at the Chamber's Business After 5 event. The survey launched earlier this month and voting runs through next Monday. We'll include a link in the online version of the story.
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DNR: Wildfire Risk Remains High thru Much of State
Published on 06/16/2021 under News Despite last week's heavy rains, the state of Wisconsin remains dry and fire dangers are rising once again. Yesterday, the DNR sent out an announcement asking the public to remain vigilant and avoid burning due to high fire danger across large portions of the state. While moderate to severe drought conditions are showing up in southern and western Wisconsin, the fire danger encompasses nearly the entire state. Much of the Northwoods was listed in moderate fire danger as of Wednesday morning including Lincoln, Vilas, Oneida, Price, and Taylor Counties. According to their wildfire tracker, the DNR has already responded to two small wildfires this week in Lincoln and Oneida Counties. The state has seen an extended wildfire season in 2021. The DNR has responded to 765 wildfires which have burned more than 1,900 acres.
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Former Oneida County Corrections Officer Reaches Plea for Lewd Behavior
Published on 06/16/2021 under News A former Oneida County corrections officer accused of solicitation of a female inmate has reached a plea deal. Jacob Petitt was back in Oneida County Court yesterday for a plea and sentencing hearing. The 26 year old was originally charged with solicitation of prostitution and misconduct in public office. Petitt was arrested in January after investigators said he exchanged information about drug investigations for sexual favors. At yesterday's hearing, Petitt pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of lewd behavior. The misconduct in public office charge was dismissed, but considered during sentencing. According to sentencing records, Petitt was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine along with court costs. He will avoid any jail time.
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Hatchets Sports Recap - Monday
Published on 06/15/2021 under Sports SOFTBALL: The season for the Tomahawk Hatchets Softball Team came to end with a heartbreaking 8-7 loss in 11 innings to the Westfield Pioneers in the WIAA Tournament on Monday.  The Hatchets scored first with one run in the first inning, but Westfield took a 4-1 lead with 4 runs in the third inning. They added one more run to take a 5-1 lead to the bottom of the fifth inning. But the Hatchets stormed back with 4 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at 5. The game stayed tied and went to extra innings.  Maddie Marino (Tomahawk) and Trista Drew (Westfield) both pitched the entire game for their teams and kept the opposition scoreless until the 11th inning. Westfield scored 3 runs in the top of the 11th inning, and the Hatchets had work to do in the bottom of the 11th. The Hatchets were able to score 2 runs, but Maddie Marino flew out to centerfield with Scout Stromberg on second base to end the game. The Hatchets lost 8-7 and Westfield moves on in the WIAA Tournament.  TRACK AND FIELD: The Hatchets Girls and Boys Track and Field Teams competed in the WIAA Regional Meet in Medford on Monday. Many Hatchets qualified for the WIAA Sectional Meet on Thursday. See below. Girls Sectional Qualifiers: -2nd Rachael Reilly- 3200m run -3rd 4x800m relay- Morgan Hansmann, Kate Reilly, Rachael Reilly, Macey Mann -3rd 4x200m relay- Maddie McCormick, Autumn Peissig, Halle Derleth, Karlie Woodall -4th Ava Dragosh Pole Vault Boys Sectional Qualifiers:-1st Ethan Liebnitz Pole Vault -1st Noah Buckwalter 800m run -2nd Drew Bolder 1600m Run -2nd Drew Bolder 3200m run -2nd Alex Norman 800m run -4th Dakota Jelinek Long Jump
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Nicolet Named 'Promising Place to Work' by National Diversity Groups
Published on 06/15/2021 under News For the second consecutive year, Nicolet College has been named a 'Promising Places to Work' award winner by two national organizations that support diversity efforts by community colleges across the country. The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development partnered with Diverse: Issues in Higher Education to recognize Nicolet for its  "best-in-class student and staff recruitment and retention practices, inclusive learning and working environments, and meaningful community service and engagement opportunities." The school highlighted several recent efforts that contributed to the award including their 10 member diversity, equity and inclusion committee, interviewer bias training on hiring committees, and professional development workshops by indigenous presenters. They've been able to utilize a grant from the Lumina Foundation to build clearer pathways to degrees for adults, particularly those of color or Native America Learners. Nicolet also works with the Wisconsin Indian Education Association to implement 'The Many Ways of Knowing: American Indian Culture Competencies for Community College Career Pathways' 'project. Nicolet was the only college in Wisconsin and one of 16 across the country to receive the honor in the two most recent years.
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Update: Victims Identified in Fatal Brokaw Crash
Published on 06/15/2021 under News Officials have released the names of the two victims in a fatal crash this weekend in Brokaw. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, that three vehicle collision happened Sunday afternoon on Highway 51 South. The initial investigation showed the first SUV rear-ended a second, sending that vehicle forward into a third SUV. The two backseat passengers in the middle vehicle sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene. Yesterday, the State Patrol identified the victims as 88 year old Ralph Rosenbecker and 99 year old Darlene Rosenbecker. Both are from Mukwonago. Between the three vehicles, there were five other occupants. None listed further injuries from the crash. The Wisconsin State Patrol and the Marathon County Sheriff's Office continue to investigate.
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Blood Donations Encouraged Ahead of Summer; Declining Inventory
Published on 06/15/2021 under News Officials are encouraging blood donations with a dwindling inventory ahead of their busiest season. On Monday, the American Red Cross highlighted a "severe blood shortage" on World Blood Donor Day, recognized yesterday. They note that hospitals are currently responding to an atypically high number of traumas and emergency room visits. And this year, they note that more patients are being treated at hospitals after deferring their care during the pandemic. This comes ahead of the summer, which is typically when blood donations are most in demand due to travel and other summer activities. Dr. Baia Lasky is medical director with the Red Cross. Lasky says, "As many people begin to enjoy travel and time with loved ones again this summer, patients are relying on the generosity of donors to help ensure they have access to the treatment they need." We routinely post local blood drives in the WJJQ Community Calendar including both the American Red Cross and Community Blood Center.
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Local Communities Planning for 'Normal' 4th of July Celebrations
Published on 06/15/2021 under News The Fourth of July is less than a month away. After a one year pause due to the pandemic, a number of Northwoods celebrations will return in 2021. Last year, most July 4th celebrations in the Northwoods were postponed. Local organizers have been busy planning for a return this Independence Day. We've recently received schedules for a number of community celebrations. The latest came from Merrill City Administrator David Johnson. On Monday, he confirmed that the annual Merrill fireworks show would return this year. A bit further north, the respective Chambers in Eagle River, Rhinelander, and Minocqua have all shared their 4th of July parades will be back and they are accepting parade entries. As we've mentioned a number of times here on WJJQ, the Tomahawk Lions Club have been busy planning this year's Powwow Days celebration as well. Of course, we'll be covering these events as they approach.
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14 Projects Receive Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grants; Two Local Recipients
Published on 06/15/2021 under News Fourteen food projects across Wisconsin have been selected to receive grants through the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin  program including two here in the Northern Wisconsin. The grants are administered through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). The program is designed to strengthen Wisconsin's agriculture and food industries by helping farms and businesses more efficiently process, market,and distribute locally grown foods and products. Kara Kasten-Olson, DATCP Agriculture Programs Supervisor says, "These grants are intended to support the diverse sectors of Wisconsin agriculture, and outcomes generated by the grant recipients provide benefits to local communities and serve as models for others in the food industry." The 14 recipients were selected from 37 requests. Together they'll share $300,000. Local recipients include: 45 Mercantile in Antigo- Increasing processing and sales capacity and creating branding, website, signage,and photography for featured products and e-commerce Forest Co. Potawatomi Comm. in Crandon- Increasing farm-related opportunities and purchasing necessary supplies and materials.
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