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NEWS STORIES

WisDOT leaders hopeful for increase in Northwoods railSubmitted: 04/24/2014

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com

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ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Railroads give businesses a chance to move loads of material for a low cost. Loggers could use rail as an alternative to trucking material, but many businesses don't get that opportunity in the Northwoods anymore.

Canadian National bought rail in the Northwoods about a decade ago. They have cut back service drastically since then.

Some counties haven't seen train travel in years, which hurts business. Now, those businesses want to reestablish rail service.

In response, a group of counties in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan formed the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.

Their goal is to bring back efficient rail to their counties. The group has been working with Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) officials, like Dennis Leong, since forming the group in 2012.

Leong believes there is an opportunity to bring back rail to the region based off of the feedback from businesses and local governments.

"We did a survey of businesses in the Northwoods area and found potentially quite a few business interests in rail," Leong said. "They're meeting with CN (Canadian National) and having discussions, so hopefully maybe certain sections can be brought back to service."

Leong wants to help expand rail in the north, but private companies might only re-establish rail if they think they can make money on it.

"Part of the challenge is that you have to have the volume in which the railroads want to make sure they have an operating system to put back in service," Leong said.

Leaders at the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission are trying to win a multimillion dollar federal grant, TIGER, from the U.S. Department of Transportation to get more log cars for rail in the Northwoods. They'll host their monthly meeting Friday at 10 a.m. at the Oneida County Courthouse.

Wisconsin has 13 freight railroads using a system of more than 33 hundred mile of rail, according to WisDOT.



Related Weblinks:
Northwoods Rail Transit Commission

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Updated-Name released in deadly UTV crashSubmitted: 09/22/2014

TOWN OF LITTLE RICE - We now know a Rhinelander man died in a UTV accident on Gobbler Lake Road in the town of Little Rice.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Department tells us 52-year-old Richard Johnson died from injuries he suffered in the crash. Johnson apparently missed a curve and left the road.

It happened after 10:40 p.m. on Saturday.

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Volunteer fire departments need more volunteersSubmitted: 09/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Rural areas rely on volunteer fire departments to respond to emergencies.

That's the case in Oneida County.

The Rhinelander Fire Department is the only paid full time department in the County.

But it can be difficult for fire departments to draw more volunteers.

The Crescent Fire Department in Oneida County relies on 25 volunteers for an area that serves about 2,800 people.

They need more people to help.

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Northwoods school inspires students from around the world to take care of the planetSubmitted: 09/22/2014

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LAND O' LAKES - Many people know Land O' Lakes as a great vacation destination. But it's not just resorts that draw people to the area. A state-of-the-art school attracts high school students from across the country and around the world.

"There's no other opportunities like this," said Conserve School student Lange Navarro.

That's why she left her high school in Arizona to spend a semester at Conserve School in Land O' Lakes.

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Prentice teacher organizes bike drive for developing countriesSubmitted: 09/22/2014

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PRENTICE - Quan Banh hates to see bicycles go to waste.

The Prentice High School science teacher saw too many bikes used for scrap metal in Price County.

Banh thought those bikes could be fixed up a little and sent to developing countries.

He found a group in Chicago called Working Bikes, which does just that.

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Phillips prepares for Saturday's Fall Harvest FestivalSubmitted: 09/22/2014

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PHILLIPS - Phillips hopes more than the fall colors will draw visitors to the community this weekend.

The city will host the 21st Annual Fall Harvest Festival.

A farmer's market, sidewalk sales, food booths, scarecrow contests, and pumpkin decorating are part of Saturday's celebration.

We asked the Chamber of Commerce what people like best.

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Woman accused of driving drunk with kids in the carSubmitted: 09/22/2014

MARATHON COUNTY - Police accuse a woman in Marathon County of driving drunk with kids in the car.

A Wausau trooper from Wisconsin State Patrol arrested 35 year old Jessica Poetsch from Waukesha for her 4th OWI. It happened Sunday night, around 8 in the evening. There were 2 children in the car at the time of her arrest.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 09/22/2014

- The Wausau Police Department will hold a press conference this afternoon to discuss the recovery of the body of a 22-year-old woman that had been missing for nearly four years. Stephanie Low went missing from her Wausau apartment in October of 2010. Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel says the press conference will be at 4 p.m today. We will update you with this story.

- Plus, you can expect to see two Northwoods authors in Rhinelander tonight. Judith Norling Carlson and Ann M. Andrashie will be at the Rhinelander Public Library from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. They will share their writing experiences and discuss their books. Find out about their experiences on Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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