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NEWS STORIES

Local Effects of Sequestration UnclearSubmitted: 02/25/2013
Story By Lex Gray


RHINELANDER - First, we went off the fiscal cliff. Then, Washington lawmakers pulled us back up -- but not for long.

Now, the country faces what politicians are calling "the sequester."

If Congress can't reach a deal by Friday, $85 billion will be cut from public programs.

In Wisconsin, that includes schools, the military, and programs for the environment, seniors, public health, child care, and more.

That comes from a 50-page report from the White House on how Wisconsin would be affected.

The report didn't give an exact or estimated dollar amount, and no one around the Northwoods seems to know exactly how they'd be affected, either.

That's true for Dianne Jacobson, director of the Oneida County Department on Aging.

The federal government funds twenty percent of her department.

"That's a significant amount but as I said, we don't want anyone that we serve to worry, 'Oh they're going to cut that program or they're going to reduce that.'" Jacobson said. "We always will have to look based on the funding that we get, but at this point, we are not anticipating a cut of our services."

Jacobson encourages seniors to talk to their local representatives.

Congressman Sean Duffy spoke to us on the phone from Washington, D.C.

He said he wants to prevent cuts to essential services, but the compromise should be about cutting spending, not raising taxes, as the President has proposed.

"We think we have to get our spending under control. And if we don't, you can't tax your way out of this problem," Duffy said. "I'm trying to look for ways, per the prior agreement with the President, to get us to a place where we can actually live within our means. And that means to start cutting the fat and waste within the federal budget."

The Federal Aviation Administration would be included in the cuts, but the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport is so small, it likely wouldn't be affected.

But the Chippewa Valley Airport would close.

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BIG FLATS - The Adams County Sheriff's Office believes a 62-year-old man set a mobile home on fire in Big Flats, north of Friendship, last Friday. The Sheriff's Office says that the body of the man's 92-year-old mother was likely still inside at the time, dead of an apparent gunshot wound.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A stretch of Highway 8 in Oneida County will get smoother after some resurfacing over the next few months. The project started Monday on a section of the road between Rhinelander and Tomahawk. It's been several years since that area of Highway 8 has been repaved.

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CONOVER - The first stretch of the Conover-Phelps trail may be ready in the fall.

Crews started carving out the first part of the trail, a 3.2 mile stretch, last week.

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The trail is for non-motorized vehicles except for snowmobiles, which will be allowed in the winter. 

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STEVENS POINT - A 58-year-old Portage County man accused of killing his wife and getting in a standoff with police is competent for trial.

That standoff happened in Bancroft, which is south of Plover, in June.

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ANTIGO - Excitement and joy filled faces in Antigo Monday afternoon.

Habitat for Humanity of Langlade County broke ground on their 9th home, but it will take some hands-on work before the family can move in.

David and Theresa Ferrel have been renting for the last 10 years. This will be the first home they will own.

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WOODRUFF - More than 9,000 firefighters spent the day Monday in California battling wildfires.

20 more from Northern Wisconsin will join that group this week.

Firefighters, along with students from Blackwell Job Corps left for Oregon Monday.

Students at Blackwell Job Corps near Laona have been learning how to fight wildfires.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has asked Wisconsin's attorney general to take "immediate action" to protect ratepayers and workers from what the Republican presidential candidate calls "devastating impacts" of a new rule designed to cut greenhouse gases.

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