News

Jobless numbers remain at or near 10 percent for much of the Northwoods but a state economist says one trend could be improving news.

The Department of Workforce Development jobless numbers include April unemployment numbers of 14.1 percent in Iron county, second highest in the state. Vilas was third at 12.3 percent, Forest was sixth highest at 10.9 percent, Oneida county was ninth highest at 10.3 percent, Lincoln and Langlade counties had rates of 9.7 and 9.6 percent respectively.

The Oneida County Board has asked the Wisconsin legislature to accept federal Medicaid funds to continue BadgerCare. Governor Walker and Republican leaders have indicated they don't want the money.

Several speakers told the board accepting the money would hurt more than help.

A Board of Health Member...Jackie Cody...says 88,000 parents would be without health coverage from BadgerCare if the money is not accepted. The program does require a payment to be in it...

A Wausau firm ended 114 years of paper-making in Wisconsin Monday. The Wausau Paper Corporation signed a final agreement to sell its mills in Rhinelander and Mosinee to a new company sponsored by K-P-S Capital Partners of New York. The private equity firm is also acquiring Thilmany Paper mills in Kaukauna and De Pere, and it has a new name for the group – Expera Speciality Solutions. It will employ a total of 18-hundred people at the four Wisconsin mills. Raquel Palmer of K-P-S says it will be the largest specialty paper company in North America.

Flickr

The late return of boats to the Northwoods waters brings about a reminder this week with National Safe Boating Week.

DNR Boating Law Administrator Roy Zellmer says the most common mistake boaters make this time of year has to do with temperature: the air is warm but the water can be deadly cold to someone who falls in....

"....air temperatures may be comfortable, you're in shirts and t-shirts...when you hit that water, anything that's below your normal body temperature will move you into that hypothermic stage...."

 

Flickr

Several area high schools were involved with the 17th annual Solar Olympics, sponsored by Wisconsin Public Service for schools within the WPS region.

Spokesperson Leah Van Zile says the contest is underwritten by the WPS Community Foundation. It's a challenge for participating schools through the "SolarWise For Schools" program. Those schools have a curriculum and solar panels on the school roofs....

After three years of sometimes bumpy negotiations, Oneida county's Comprehensive Planning Oversight committee Friday finished work.

State government requires each county to have an updated plan in place. The plan looks at population, the economy, the land and waters and several other factors that work toward helping a community make sense.

DNR law enforcement officials have identified the owner of the land where the Germann Road Fire originated as well as the logging operation responsible for unintentionally igniting the fire.

On Tuesday, May 14, at approximately 2:30 p.m., a nearly 8,000 acre wildfire devastated the Townships of Gordon and Highland in Douglas County. Forty-seven structures were lost; 17 of those were homes. The fire was declared 100 percent contained as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 15. The fire burned a swath more than 9 miles long and a mile and a half wide.

YMCA of the Northwoods

May is Water Safety Month.

The Head Swim Instructor at the YMCA of the Northwoods Karen Fiocchi says it's a good time to learn to swim and think safety.

Fiocchi says learning to swim and wearing life jackets in a boat are the best ways to prevent drowning...

Criminal charges have been filed against two men, Daniel Frausto, currently at the Dodge Correctional Institute in Waupun, and Robert Miles of Red Granite, suspected of operating a burglary ring spanning twelve counties, including Oneida, Oconto, Portage and Shawano counties..

Frausto and Miles have been charged in several counties In addition, charges are expected to be filed against others under a cooperation agreement.

ABC News

A Northwoods woman recently won a national contest to come up with the next great potato chip. Karen Weber-Mendham of Land O’Lakes won a million dollars in the "Do Us a Flavor" contest put on since by Lay’s Potato Chips. She created a Cheesy Garlic Bread chip that was one of three finalists chosen from around three-point-eight million entries. . Actress Eva Longoria presented the prize during a recent ceremony..

Karen says she was surprised to be picked. Her children had suggested the flavor, she entered and then found out she was a finalist...

The revision of Oneida county's allowable zoning uses has drawn the interest of mining opponents.

The county board last August put aside pursuing a sulphide mine in the town of Lynne. As part of a routine review of changes to zoning districts, the Planning and Development committee recently added the possibility of 'mining' to forestry. The proposed sulphide mine would have been constructed on county-owned forest land. Mining opponents like Karl Fate of Crescent feels this could be a back-door way to make easier the opening of mine at the Lynne site....

Wisconsin DNR

The DNR says that wildfire which burned more than nine thousand acres in Douglas and Bayfield counties is northern Wisconsin's biggest forest fire in nearly 33 years.

DNR Wildfire Prevention Specialist Catherine Koele says conditions are perfect for fire...

 

"....we all became a little complacent with all the snow and rain we've had. We thought fire season would sneak by us ....(the fire) consumed about 9,000 acres and 47 structures..."

 

After a surge in the 1990's, revenues for county and municipal governments have fallen to levels of 20 years ago.

Some results of the study by the non-profit Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance is told by WTA President Todd Berry...

"....county revenues were growing by about eight percent in the early '90's. After 2005, they've been averaging just 1.5 percent. We found similar patterns for municipalities with their revenue growth...slowing to under three percent..."

 

Work that will close a portion of Kemp Street in Rhinelander was approved Monday night by the Rhinelander city council.

The council authorized $6.3 million for what's called the interceptor project. It's tied in the the wastewater upgrades in the city. The council awarded the bid to Dorner, Incorporated who will contract with a local contractor to do the work.

The upgrades will mean much of Kemp Street east of Sutliff Avenue will be under construction and closed this summer.

City Administrator Blaine Oborn outlines the work area this year...

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Northwoods residents have been calling for faster internet service in underserved areas. Money for more broadband service has been restored to the state budget after a group of rural legislators objected to it being cut.

34 District Representative Rob Swearingen says Governor Walker had said money for expanded service would be in the budget currently under construction. The budget-writing Joint Finance Committee pulled the $4.3 million from the budget. Swearingen says when they found out they acted to get it restored...

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