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NEWS STORIES

Democrats hoping Gov. Walker will decide on federal Medicaid coverageSubmitted: 02/05/2013
Story By The Associated Press

MADISON - Democratic lawmakers and health care advocates are calling on Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans who control the Legislature to expand Medicaid coverage as allowed under the federal health care overhaul law.

Walker has not said if he will take advantage of the voluntary expansion. He has indicated his decision won't be announced until when he releases his two-year state spending plan on Feb. 19.

Expanding Medicaid in Wisconsin as allowed could result in 175,000 uninsured childless adults getting coverage.

State Rep. Jon Richards of Milwaukee says Walker should follow the lead of other Republican governors who have agreed to take the federal money to pay for the expansion. Under the law, the federal government would pay for the added costs through 2016.

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CRANDON - The School District of Crandon needs a new superintendent midway through the school year.

Jim Asher told the school board Monday he was retiring, effective immediately.

Asher told us he had been wrestling with the decision since November.

He said he made the decision "for him," and that it had nothing to do with the district.

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SUGAR CAMP - A recent grant might help students at Sugar Camp Elementary stay healthy this school year. The NFL and the National Dairy Council gave the school a $900 grant last week. The students get in shape by taking part in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

"Our kids are tracking physical fitness points and nutrition points every day on the Fuel Up to Play 60 website," said 4th Grade Teacher Robin LeMoine. "They are involved in the 100 Mile Club that we started here this fall, where we're walking one mile every day."

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MADISON - The Republican leader of the Wisconsin state Senate is renewing his call for passage of a right-to-work bill.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald issued a statement Thursday saying debate of right-to-work needs to occur along with consideration of the state budget. Walker will release his budget plan on Tuesday.

Walker has repeatedly said he doesn't want the Legislature to act early in the session on right-to-work, but he also is a longtime supporter of the idea. Walker has also never said he would veto such a bill should it pass.

Right-to-work laws prevent private-sector employers from forcing workers to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment.

Supporters say it's about worker freedom while opponents argue it will drive down wages and it's bad for the economy.

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THREE LAKES - It appears Gov. Scott Walker will try to address rural broadband internet in his 2015-2017 budget.

Walker proposes adding $6 million to the state's Broadband Expansion Grant Program.

"The fact that the Governor put another $6 million into the fund that already has $5 million is huge. That's double the size of the grant funding that's going to be available to us," said Don Sidlowski of the Northwoods Broadband and Economic Development Coalition.

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MADISON - Members of the Menominee Tribe, southeastern Wisconsin union workers and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers are urging Gov. Scott Walker to reconsider his rejection of a new casino in Kenosha.

Walker rejected the tribe's proposal last week and reiterated on Wednesday that he would not change his mind.

But advocates for the project gathered at the Capitol Thursday to say Walker can still change his mind by the Feb. 19 deadline.

Walker says he can't reverse his decision even if he wanted to.

But Kenosha casino backers say the Bureau of Indian Affairs would be willing to let Walker change his mind. A spokeswoman for BIA did not immediately return a message asking if Walker could reverse course.


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MADISON - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is asking that the lead investigator probing allegations of opiate over prescription and retaliatory practices at a VA hospital in Tomah take into account the testimony of whistleblowers.

In a letter Thursday, Baldwin asked that VA Under Secretary Carolyn Clancy consider concerns not addressed in an earlier report. Baldwin says an investigation published in March was not thorough in its reporting of opiate-prescribing practices.

Baldwin had recieved the report in 2014, but did not start advocating for the issue until an investigative journalism piece showed a 35-year-old Marine died of an overdose in the inpatient care unit.

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods supermarkets want to be prepared for the Superbowl this Sunday. Some local stores have ordered a lot more food for this week to make sure they don't run out of Superbowl staples.

The assistant store director of Trig's in Rhinelander has ordered extra shipments of soda, pizza, and snack food. The store wants to be prepared but it doesn't expect food to sell as quickly as it does during other times of the year.

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