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NEWS STORIES

ObamaCare forces Trig's to limit workers' hoursSubmitted: 07/24/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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MINOCQUA - ObamaCare will dig into the pocketbooks of part-time workers at one of the Northwoods' biggest employers.

If Trig's Supermarkets hadn't cut part-time work hours, it would have been out of business within a year.

That's what a consultant told the company.

About two-thirds of the 1,100 Trig's employees are part-time workers.

But if they work more than 30 hours a week, the president's health care legislation technically considers them full time.

That means Trig's would be forced to provide health insurance to those workers.

The report said keeping the work schedules as they were AND providing that health coverage would have been disastrous to the company's bottom line.

"Doing nothing was not an option. It would have put us out of business. Within a year, it would have put us out of business. There's no doubt about that. So obviously we've had to make some changes," says Angie Dreifuerst, Trig's' Vice President of HR, Benefits, and MIS.

Those changes include promoting a few workers to full time.

But the biggest impact comes to the 65 percent of employees working part-time.

They're not allowed to work more than 30 hours per week.

That way, Trig's can avoid considering them full time workers.

"Yeah, they were frustrated, but I believe they also understood why we had to make the decisions that we did. I said, 'this isn't good for you, this isn't good for us, it's not what we want to do either.' Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of options. We have to do what we have to do to comply and stay viable," she says.

Companies like Trig's aren't the only ones facing employment challenges from the Affordable Care Act.

Even school districts like Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk have taken steps to make sure their part-time workers stay under the 30 hour threshold.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Rummage sale focuses on raising money for the homelessSubmitted: 08/21/2014

RHINELANDER - People will swarm Trig's Riverwalk Center for the best deals for the next couple of days, but it won't just be for groceries.

People hunted today for the best used items at the Mammouth Rummage Sale. The sale began today and runs through Saturday.

"We are very busy! I thought they were going to run me down when I opened the door," said Bev Geske, a NATH board member. "They were lined up outside. We opened a little early because of that. [I think] we're going to be busy Thursday, Friday, and Saturday."

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Groups seek release of campaign investigation recordsSubmitted: 08/21/2014

MADISON - A coalition of media and open government groups are pressing a federal appeals court to release nearly three dozen documents linked to a secret probe into Governor Scott Walker's campaign.

Prosecutors have been looking into whether Walker's 2012 recall campaign illegally coordinated with conservative groups.

A federal judge halted the probe in May after one of the groups, Wisconsin Club for Growth, argued the investigation violates its free speech rights.

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Unemployment rates fall in most of WisconsinSubmitted: 08/21/2014

MADISON - Unemployment fell in most Wisconsin cities and counties in July.

The state Department of Workforce Development released information today.

It shows unemployment rates fell in 22 of the state's 32 largest cities compared to June.

Unemployment rates fell in 63 of 72 counties, didn't change in four counties and rose in five counties.

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Teens arrested after high speed chaseSubmitted: 08/20/2014

LINCOLN AND PRICE COUNTIES - Police arrested three teens after a high speed chase across two northern Wisconsin counties.

Police say the teens drove as fast as 110 miles per hour Tuesday night during a 30 mile chase through Lincoln and Price counties.

The chase began when an officer was doing a security check on a Tomahawk business and noticed a suspicious car with three people inside.

The car sped away down Highway 8 and deputies followed.

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Local expert offers tips on keeping shrubs and trees healthySubmitted: 08/20/2014

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NORTHWOODS - You may need help keeping your shrubs and trees in shape for the fall.

Many people were forced to buy new trees and shrubs because they didn't survive the winter. Experts at Hanson's Gardening Village told us about a few trees that are most vulnerable to the winter.

"We had some in our own nursery here that we had to dispose of this spring," said Hanson's Garden Village Co-owner Brent Hanson. "A lot of people saw this effect where you get the leafing out like you would normally expect in the spring and then all of the sudden, all the little leaves turn brown the tree seems to be dead. In the worst case scenario, the tree is dead and it seems to me from what I've seen is that maples were most affected and unfortunately, fruit trees."

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Shawano thinks small in economic development role in Forest CountySubmitted: 08/20/2014

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FOREST COUNTY - A new Forest County economic development leader wants to think small, instead of thinking big.

Gene Shawano Jr. just took over as President of the Forest County Economic Development Partnership.

He will help fill a void left when Executive Director Jim Schuessler and President RT Krueger each stepped down earlier this year.

Shawano wants to bring the focus back to small businesses in the county.

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Wisconsin restaurants dealing with rising custard costs Submitted: 08/20/2014

RHINELANDER - Getting a double scoop of custard might cost you double.

Custard prices are up in Wisconsin and across the nation.

Key ingredients in custard are milk, eggs and butterfat. Butterfat is driving the cost of custard up.

A National Milk Producers report shows supply and demand is tight for butter.

Inventories have dropped more than 40% over the past year.

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