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NEWS STORIES

Local Lawmakers and Religious Leader's Take on Contraceptive DebateSubmitted: 02/19/2012
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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RHINELANDER - The contraceptive rule in President Barack Obama's health care reform law has sparked an on-going debate between politicians, religious leaders, and women's rights groups.

When President Obama announced contraceptives would be included in required preventative healthcare coverage by all employers, Cardinal Timothy Dolan lead Catholic Bishops in protest.

"Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience," says Cardinal Dolan.

After weeks of pressure the President revised the rule.

"Religious organizations won't have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly," says President Obama.

But the rule does still require the institution's insurance to offer contraceptives.

"All it's doing is saying, 'Well the insurance company has to now provide it'. Well in essence the Catholic Church is still paying for the insurance," says Representative Sean Duffy.

"Although it looked like a compromise to some extent, it does not really respect fully religious liberty. Because indirectly employers will have to pay eventually," says Father Tom Thakadipuram, the Priest at Nativity of Our Lord Parish.

The rule does exempt churches, but almost nothing else including religiously affiliated hospitals or charities. Father Tom says the revision is a good start, but he agrees with Cardinal Dolan that the rule as it stands is unacceptable.

"I would like to see a broader exemption because of the principals of religious liberty at stake," says Father Tom.

But supporters of the contraception rule aren't happy about how GOP leaders are going about opposing it.

"It seems that women are always fair game when there are hot-button issues," says Nancy Meier, from Merrill.

Last week the GOP held a hearing regarding contraceptives. Supporters of the rule pointed out the panel included religious leaders, but left someone else out.

"Imagine having a panel on women's health, and not having any women on the panel," says Representative Nancy Pelosi.

As this issue is likely to continue to be hotly debated, Father Tom hopes both sides can find common ground.

"As religious leaders and as political leaders we need to embrace the virtue of the middle. I think that is the way for the country to go forward," says Father Tom.

Congress is expected to vote soon on legislation to block the President's policy.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Eagle River Groomers prepare to groom snowmobile trails again Submitted: 12/19/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Snow groomers in Eagle River spend a lot of time on trails. They make sure they're perfect for snowmobilers, but it takes a lot of time and money to make that happen.

"See how flat it is? With these machines that's what we do to get it flattened out. And it does a good job," said Sno-Eagles Trail Boss Tom Tomlanovich.

You can tell Tom Tomlanovich loves his job.

"See how the trail is up here now?" Tomlanovich said.

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Leadership Oneida Co. candidates to provide help, new ideas for local non-profitsSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods non-profits may struggle to find volunteers, funding, and to stay afloat. A group of people in Oneida County wants to get more involved.

Leadership Oneida County pairs those groups with those people. On Thursday, those groups met to start working towards a common goal.

"We were very pleased to have the group help us and we're anticipating great results again," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen.

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Camp 10 Ski and Snowboard looking for new Ski Patrol membersSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - When it comes to safety on the slopes- you can turn to the National Ski Patrol.

They're on hundreds of ski hills across the country.

Camp 10 in Rhinelander is one of those hills.

The patrol wants you to consider joining.

The ski patrol dedicates its time to keeping skiers safe.

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Students experience spirit of giving at Santa's WorkshopSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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SUGAR CAMP - One Christmas tradition in Sugar Camp teaches children something very special.

Santa's Workshop helps kids experience what it means to give to others.

Parents and teachers put on the event at Sugar Camp Elementary School every year.

Children in pre-k through 6 grade write out a Christmas shopping list for their family.

They picked out their gifts on Friday.

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Vilas Co. Salvation Army could still use some toys for Northwoods kidsSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - You can help families in need give their kids a special Christmas Day.

The Vilas County Salvation Army is still looking for toys to give to families that need some help this holiday season.

"It's always the 8 to 12-year-olds for boys and for girls. So LEGOs, definitely, are a big hit, action figures. For the girls, you know, arts and crafts kind of things, hair dryers, curling irons, any of those kinds of things," said Vilas County Salvation Army Volunteer Kathy Holtorp.

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Truck supply causing challenges getting wood to mills, upfront costs & recession could explain supplySubmitted: 12/19/2014

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LAONA - Northwoods loggers describe business right now as great. KLP Logging and Trucking Owner Kevin Kramer says it's a golden time to get into the business. The Laona business owner says timber prices are high, so is demand, but he's facing issues getting logs to the mills.

Some loggers can't find enough trucks to get their logs from the Northwoods to paper mills. Kramer would love more trucks in the area.

He believes it started in the early 2000s. Kramer says a number of trucks went to the southern U.S. to cash in, and clean up hurricane damage. He says many didn't return.

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Flood Warning at Keshena may be extended againSubmitted: 12/19/2014

KESHENA - A flood warning effecting south central Menominee county could be extended again.

The warning for the Keshena area is due to run out at 10:00 p.m. Friday.

The warning will be extended if high water continues to be a problem.

The National Weather Service issued the warning after ice jams backed up water on the Wolf River.

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