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NEWS STORIES

Oneida County prepares for Affordable Care ActSubmitted: 07/06/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson


RHINELANDER - The Affordable Care Act might make it easier for individuals to have health insurance.

But Oneida County thinks they'll need to increase their workforce to make that happen.

Oneida County Social Services hopes to hire two more case workers.

But the labor relations board and the county board still need to approve the hires.

Social Services wants to be ready to help people apply for health insurance.

Amy Mayo, Oneida County Support Programs Supervisor, says, "The caseload and the volume of work that we'll need to process as a department as a whole will definitely increase for everybody. We're spending this time right now looking at different efficiencies and things we can do to make it as smooth a process as we can for the clients."

The Act, also known as Obamacare, created a marketplace where Americans can buy insurance with the help of the government.

Mayo says a person's income determines the insurance program a person can enroll in.

"Badgercare, again, will be children under 300 percent poverty level, adults under 100 percent poverty level. Marketplace will handle the people that are over 100 percent poverty level and the children over 300 percent poverty level," she says.

Mayo says it can be confusing so it's best to contact Social Services.

They will help you figure out what program you are eligible for.

"With the marketplace, clients also have the ability to apply locally. We will do an income test in the application. They will have to verify their income. If they fall over the 100 percent poverty level as an adult, then we would transfer that application or send them on to the marketplace," says Mayo.

Applications for the Federal Program open October 1st.

Coverage begins January 1st.

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MERRILL - We told you earlier in July about the Merrill Citizen's Fire Academy.

People who take the 10 week course this fall will learn more about what firefighters do.

12 people will take the class.

Spots for the course are filling up.

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EAGLE RIVER - You may not notice the Northwoods trade school tucked along Highway 17 in Eagle River.

One national organization thinks it deserves more attention.

The Advanced Welding Institute will receive an award for its high graduation and employment rates.

The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges is granting the welding school its School of Excellence Award. School administrators are invited to attend the professional development conference in September in Arlington, Va. 

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RHINELANDER - Thousands of people will come to the Oneida County Fair starting Thursday.

The fair has grown a lot in recent years. Organizers try to get new rides and entertainment to draw in bigger crowds.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - A Vilas County shooting range will get some financial aid thanks to the Wisconsin DNR.

The Boulder Junction Shooting Range got a grant for venue upgrades.

The range also got a grant last year.

It used the money to make its facilities handicap accessible.

Range officials say they will use this year's grant for additions.

Those include making the space more energy efficient.

"[The] money will be used for insulating the clubhouse," says Secretary of the Boulder Junction Shooting Range Pete Drahn. "It'll be used to remove doors and windows that we no longer need, and to replace a window with a more energy efficient window."

The range has gotten grants two years in a row, but it won't happen again next year.

"They've told everybody that received the grants this year that they'll start doing grants only every other year for someone who has received it," says Drahn. "So at the earliest, it would be the year after next."

The range's board members want to make the venue better for shooters, but they say they couldn't have done it without the grant's help.

"These are projects we probably wouldn't do for eons," says Drahn. "We don't receive any money from anybody except the users of the range. So we don't have a lot for our capital needs."

The range also plans to install a new fence to improve the facility's safety.

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's search for a new city administrator got a little narrower - from nearly two dozen candidates to a handful. Rhinelander has been without a city administrator since the middle of May when Blain Oborn went to Lake Geneva.

The Rhinelander City Council held a meeting last night to go through a list of candidates. At the end of that meeting, they went front from having 22, down to a list of four.

"We have four candidates that we have coming in," said Rhinelander's Mayor Richard Johns. "And the candidates vary, one's from Eau Claire, Antigo, Kewaskum, and Stevens Point. We pretty much have a local area so-to-speak, rather than out of state."

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MERRILL - All K-8 students in Merrill Schools will get their own iPads this fall.

Wednesday, teachers were trained on how to use the new technology.

Last year, six third grade classrooms tried out how it would work.

District leaders said parents and students involved in the pilot program liked it.

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Bev Linnihan-Moye didn't start competitively swimming until she was 65. She's now 77 and faster.

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