Community leaders submit written response to news of possible paper mill sale
Several prominent members of the Rhinelander community have submitted a jointly signed letter to the leadership of Wausau Paper Co., expressing a desire to be in communication with the company as the future of the Rhinelander Mill is determined. A copy of the letter, with signatures, is below.
Signatories to the letter include: Richard Johns, mayor of Rhinelander; Blaine Oborn, city administrator of Rhinelander; Greg Berard, supervisor from the Oneida County 2nd Supervisory District; Roger Luce, dDirector of the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation; Lara Reed, executive director of the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce; Mark Gutteter, president of Downtown Rhinelander Inc.; Roger Erdahl, superintendent of Rhinelander School District; Elizabeth Burmaster, president of Nicolet Area Technical College; Ron Skallerud, executive dean for economic development and security at Nicolet Area Technical College; and Timothy Brown, economic development agent at University of Wisconsin-Extension.
The gathering of these leaders was convened and facilitated by the UW-Extension staff of Oneida County. University of Wisconsin-Extension seeks to teach, learn, lead and serve, connecting people with the University of Wisconsin, and engaging with them in transforming lives and communities. This work often involves providing facilitation to groups of citizens or leaders who are seeking the benefit of the community, such as in this case.
The text of the letter is below:
February 11, 2013
To: Thomas J. Howatt, Chairman of the Board, Wausau Paper
Henry C. Newell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wausau Paper
RE: Wausau Paper Mill in Rhinelander
We are writing today as representatives of diverse organizations with a common interest in the health, welfare and advancement of the greater Rhinelander community.
Rhinelander has a long, proud history of manufacturing. From our beginnings as a frontier mill town we have grown to be the manufacturing center of Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Industry is and has been an integral part of our local culture and prosperity. The Wausau Paper Mill is, itself, an important part of our community, providing good jobs to hundreds of our constituents, supporters, friends, neighbors and family members.
We recognize that this is a time of great transition for your company and entire industry. Furthermore, we understand from recent events that there will soon be a transition at the Rhinelander Mill. We are writing on behalf of the diverse community organizations we represent to offer you our full support in easing this transition, whatever shape it may take. Rhinelander is a vibrant community with a strong economic base, and protecting that base is in all of our best interest. We appreciate the investment that Wausau Paper has made in our community, and it is our hope that you remain in close communication with us as you work toward a decision that is best for all involved.