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NEWS STORIES

Oneida County Realizes Big Savings From Insurance, Retirement PlansSubmitted: 10/30/2012
Story By Matt Doyle

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RHINELANDER - Budgets will go in front of county boards across the Northwoods over the next few weeks.

In Oneida County, the budget will reflect significant savings.

The county saved more than $550,000 last year because of changes to collective bargaining and retirement contributions.

Human Resources director Lisa Charbarneau says some of the changes to health care plans were minor - but the changes resulted in big savings.

"We increased the employees contribution level," Charbarneau said.

"The employees are paying an additional 3 percent towards that premium. We have seen good renewal numbers for 2013 and with some negotiating with our health insurance company and changes to deductibles we're hoping to hold that increase down to less than six percent."

She also said it gives local government a chance to look at multiple options.

"It does give us some more flexibility in order to look at those plan designs and that we can change them more often," Charbarneau said.

"With the contracts in place as they were, we used to have to bargain those changes with each individual union with the county. With if there's six, you could have six different health plans."

The county has also completed work on next year's budget.

It's now heading to the county board for possible amendments.

Charbarneau says this year's budget is even more promising.

"The final budget that is being submitted to the county board is actually below a zero percent tax levy increase," Charbarneau said.

"They've worked very hard to get it to that number. Certainly there can be additional amendments and changes made."

The county board will review the budget next month.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Nicolet's College Visit Night gives people more information about schoolSubmitted: 10/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - People who want to learn more about going to school at Nicolet College can go to College Visit Night.

College Visit Night will be held from 5-7pm on Tuesday.

The event will give people an idea of what programs the college offers.

It's taking place at the University Transfer Center.

There will be admissions information, campus tours and financial aid information.

"We open this opportunity up for students to come in and make an informed choice about their educational path. We work with non-traditional students coming in, high school students, parents, support whoever wants to come and see what we're all about at Nicolet," says Nicolet College Career Coach Kelly Anunson.

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Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Open HouseSubmitted: 10/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - The new Rhinelander Area Food Pantry features new aisles for easier shopping, a sitting area, and large scale for weighing food.

You could see the updates at the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Tuesday. The pantry held an open house to celebrate its new location.

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Rennes Health and Rehab Center to expandSubmitted: 10/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - The Rennes Health and Rehab Center in Rhinelander will add an extra 10,000 square feet to its facility.

The center hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday. It offers rehabilitative and skilled nursing services.

Right now the facility has 72 beds.

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Thousands of Walker-related emails releasedSubmitted: 10/21/2014

MADISON - Thousands of emails prosecutors collected during the first secret investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's former aides and associates when he was county executive have been released.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's office on Tuesday made public the nearly 16,000 emails and attachments that prosecutors seized from county and personal computers.

The investigation ended in 2013 with six of Walker's aides and associates convicted on charges ranging from theft to misconduct in office.

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Promoting feed beets in Wisconsin Submitted: 10/21/2014

BRYANT - Only one farm in all of Wisconsin grows sugar beets.

Rine Ridge Farms is northeast of Antigo, in Bryant.

They hope more farmers will catch on to alternative dairy feed.

"They're 80% digestible where corn is usually only around 40% digestible. They're high in sugar they're 20% sugar," said Dan Rine of Rine Ridge Farms.

Beets are easy to grow in our neck of the woods.

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Humane societies see influx of kittens Submitted: 10/21/2014

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NORTHWOODS - We know fall for pumpkins, football, and falling leaves but it's also known for kittens.

Shelters in northcentral Wisconsin refer to both fall and spring as "kitten season."

The Oneida County Humane Society has already found homes for 30 kittens just in the last month.

Right now the adoption center has 25 kittens.

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Teal pumpkins to signal allergy-safe trick-or-treating in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 10/21/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Teal pumpkins will act as a beacon to some trick-or-treators in the Northwoods this Halloween.

For kids with food allergies, gathering candy might not be an option.

A new program by the Food Allergy Research & Education organization wants to help those kids.

They've come up with the Teal Pumpkin Project.

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