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Northwoods Transit Connections

The Oneida County Board Tuesday heard the expanded bus service operating in the Northwoods is very popular and has grown quickly since being introduced last May.

The county board approved a $50,000 advance to the Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission to cover a short-term cash flow crunch, as explained by Supervisor Bob Mott...

"....as typical with state and federal government, sometimes monies don't come in on time. At certain times during the year were running a shortage of money for operating expenses to pay for drivers, gas, those types of things...."

We hear from a state consumer official who says they're being deluged by calls from the public about scams. Ken Krall talks with Frank Frassetto,  Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection....

Frank Frassetto from the Department of Agrriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

driverskills.com

A provider of driver training in Antigo and Hurley has closed operation and the DOT suggests looking for other trainers.

Wisconsin DMV spokesperson Deb Kraemer says Adaptive Experts LLC is no longer licensed to provide training services.

Adaptive Experts provided classroom and behind the wheel training.

Kramer says people needing driver training in Antigo and Hurley can go to the DOT/DMV website to get more information...

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An economist says the moves recently made by the Federal Reserve could eventually impact interest rates when we borrow money.

Last month, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates a quarter of one percent, reflecting signs that the economy was growing and to slow inflationary pressures.

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A tangible piece of Northwoods broadband expansion will be available in the Newbold area of Oneida county within a few weeks. Other locations will also soon have service.

Northwoods Connect based in Rhinelander is using recent state grants and other money to construct a 180 foot tower near Two Sisters Lake which company CEO Paul Osterman says will provide faster internet in areas with slower internet or none at all.

The signal should cover about five miles and is part of an expansion in the rural Northwoods...

Grow North Regional Economic Development Corp.

Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation is looking to build on an ambitious agenda as the organization enters 2017.

The organization works to grow business in eight Northwoods counties, along with representatives from tribal governments and schools.

President Collette Sorgel says the goal is to show that the Northwoods is a region open to economic development and a place to work and raise a family...

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The housing market is heating up even in these cold months which means in some parts of the state, the number of homes for sale has dropped. This is causing prices to rise, though that trend is less intense in rural areas. Those are the conclusions of an economist working with Wisconsin Realtors Association looking at November sales and price data.

David Clark says 2015 was a strong year, that is being topped by 2016....

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Wisconsin's frozen road law took effect today in roughly the northern half of the state.

The declaration applies to all numbered state and federal highways. The law does not apply to Interstate highways except to portions of I-39 and I-41.

The frozen road law allows heavier loads for trucks carrying peeled or unpeeled forest products cut crosswise (not including wood chips), and salt and sand for winter maintenance until approximately early March.

Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce

The new Executive Director of the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce is someone already well known in the community and the search committee announced Maggie Steffen has been named to the post.

It has been vacant since the departure of Bill Clow in the fall.

Steffen is a Rhinelander native and most recently was Executive Director of Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. before cutbacks there caused her position to be terminated.

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An annual report issued by Citizen Action of Wisconsin shows the Affordable Care Act slowed the cost of health insurance increases in Wisconsin, though the long term trend is toward rapid inflation.

Executive Director Robert Kraig says they have data going back to the year 2000 to juxtapose with the recent numbers...

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The holiday Grinch has arrived at the gas pumps, as prices are rising before two travel weekends coming up.

Senior Petroleum analyst at the website gasbuddy.com, Patrick DeHaan, says the recent cold weather was a factor in prices going up a few cents at the pump....

"....the extreme cold over the last week has resulted in at least temporarily refinery 'glitches' that should be resolved in the next week or so. At least for now it's impacting the price of gasoline locally...."

Northwoods Transit Connections

Northwoods Transit Connections is continuing to grow with some added routes being added soon, providing a public transit option for residents in Vilas and Oneida counties.

Transit Manager Jim Altenburg says the bus service has grown to the point they have 3 to 4 buses running the Rhinelander area, 2 to 3 in the Lakeland area, along with a couple buses in Eagle River.

He says a new service will be added in January with shuttle routes between Rhinelander and Minocqua...

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An economist working with state realtors says inflationary pressures will likely be putting pressure on home purchasing power, and possibly in the overall economy.

David Clark works with the Wisconsin Realtors Association and surveys how Wisconsin's home buyers and sellers are doing. Interest rates have been near an all-time low, but he says inflationary pressures are again being seen, as measured in percentage points..

"..we actually saw a little bit of an increase in October...."

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State economists have held that statistically, when unemployment is at or below four percent, it means nearly everyone seeking a job has one.

54 of Wisconsin's 72 counties are at that statistical marker. The state's monthly unemployment report finds Iron county with the second highest jobless rate at 5.9 percent. The rest of the counties in the listening area range from 3.7 percent in Lincoln county to 4.8 percent in Forest county. Those numbers are far below the recession figures of a few years ago.

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Home sales are continuing to rebound in Wisconsin as reported by Wisconsin Realtors Association.

Realtor's economist David Clark says this October's sales matched last October’s extraordinarily strong market, capping off the strongest 10 months of sales in Wisconsin since 2005. 70,000 homes have been sold in Wisconsin this year, pushing median prices 6 percent higher, and Clark says while there are plentiful rural properties available, the market is tightening up in urban areas.

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