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NEWS STORIES

Sequester cuts will hit Wisconsinites getting federal unemployment checksSubmitted: 03/15/2013
Story By The Associated Press

STATEWIDE - Wisconsinites who get federal unemployment will see their benefits drop by nearly 11 percent due to automatic budget cuts.

The state Department of Workforce Development said about 30,000 people will be affected starting the week of April 7. The reductions will continue at least through Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

As an example, the department said, the maximum weekly payment of $363 will fall to $324. Eligibility rules remain unchanged.

The department says people who receive jobless benefits from the state will not be affected.



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RHINELANDER - We'll enjoy great weather this week, but we know it won't last too long. Workers at golf courses across the area know that incoming fall weather spells the end of their season, so they're trying to capitalize on the next few weeks of warm forecasts.

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NORTHWOODS - Children went back to school across the Northwoods Tuesday. That's why it's important to make sure you're prepared for anything.

Emergency workers say it's important to have a plan in place for all possible emergency situations. That plan should include emergency contacts, safe meeting locations, and emergency kits in homes and cars. Officials say taking time to plan and practice is crucial.

"Look at things before it happens," says Dawn Robinson, Oneida County Emergency Management Program Assistant. "Make sure your family, your loved ones, your neighbors, make sure everyone has a plan and practice those plans. That way when something does happen, it becomes more, that you know what to do, so be prepared as much as possible, and practice."

Part of being prepared is communication and knowing who to contact. Officials encourage parents to make sure that schools have up-to-date emergency contact information, especially for small children.

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WISCONSIN - Bicyclists in Wisconsin could get new, marked routes to use.

The DNR is working to mark new routes throughout the state, and other routes that go out of state.

But before it marks those routes, the department needs rider's opinions.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - Drivers in Woodruff and Minocqua might want to avoid a popular shortcut soon. A several month long road project will start next week on County Highway J between Highways 51 and 47.

Last year, the intersection of County Highway J and Highway 51 was completely redone.

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RHINELANDER - Anxious and excited kids will find more creative ways to learn this year at Crescent Elementary School in Rhinelander.

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MERRILL - The school bells rang Tuesday morning for students across Wisconsin.

Another school year has begun with kids looking forward to a new year.

It also means that drivers should be on the lookout around schools.

In Merrill, police keep a close watch around school zones the first few weeks of class.

Speed limits drop dramatically as drivers enter school zones.

Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff says it's important to be especially observant this time of year.

"Especially the first week or two of school because kids are excited, and maybe not so excited, about getting back to school," Neff said. "They're thinking about their friends and maybe not paying attention to traffic."

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HAZELHURST - You won't find any alligator-filled moats at an upcoming medieval festival in Hazelhurst. But you will get the chance to step back in time during the Northwoods Medieval Faire at Tommy O's Playhouse next weekend.

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