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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
Three arrested in Merrill, facing drug chargesSubmitted: 12/22/2014

MERRILL - Three people in Lincoln County face a handful of drug charges after getting arrested Friday in Merrill, according to The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

Randy Degner, 30, of Merrill, Crystal Dean, 26, of Tomahawk, and Danielle Zietlow, 24, of Tomahawk all face drug related charges.

They made their first court appearance Monday.

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No charges in Milwaukee Police shootingSubmitted: 12/22/2014

MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee County district attorney says he's confident the public will see he made a fair decision in not charging a white Milwaukee police officer in the shooting death of a black man.

John Chisholm said the officer, Christopher Manney, was justified in using deadly force when his encounter with Dontre Hamilton turned into a fight last April. Manney shot Hamilton 14 times after Hamilton got control of the officer's baton.

Chisholm said the release of the full investigative file will help people understand what went into the decision.

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WXPR: One of only a few public radio stations in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 12/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can't find public radio stations as easily as you can find commercial radio stations in the Northwoods. That's because they're funded mostly by donations. However, one Rhinelander radio station has found a way to make it work for more than 30 years.

"The station came about as the result of a dream, really, of a fella named Peter Nordgrin who came from northern Minnesota at a station very similar to this one," said Ken Krall, news director and interim station manager at 91.7 WXPR in Rhinelander. "He realized that there was a hole in northern Wisconsin for public radio."

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Helpful Holiday Tips: how to cook on a budgetSubmitted: 12/22/2014

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MINOCQUA - When we think of the holidays, we often think of giving gifts and sharing big meals with our loved ones.

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There are a few things you can do to save money.

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Credit card purchase leads to Rhinelander burglary arrest Submitted: 12/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - A 23-year-old Wausau woman faces three charges for allegedly stealing a purse and using a stolen credit card in Rhinelander. Those charges include burglary, theft and credit card fraud.

Prosecutors accuse Brieanna Persike and Andrew Washburn, 25, of Wausau, of stealing a purse from an unlocked home on South Rifle Road in Rhinelander. The criminal complaint shows that Persike told investigators they broke into the home. She said it was after visiting Washburn's grandmother early on December 17th.

The two then went to Wal-Mart and spent more than $500 using the stolen credit card. The criminal complaint shows that the two bought a car installation kit, a car amplifier, a black BB gun, cat food, ice fishing equipment and other items just hours after the reported burglary.

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UPDATE:DOJ to review Milwaukee police shootingSubmitted: 12/22/2014

MILWAUKEE - Federal officials say they'll review the shooting of a black man by a white police officer in Milwaukee for a possible civil rights violation.

Dontre Hamilton, a 31-year-old man whose family said he was mentally ill, was shot to death last April in a downtown park after he struggled with Officer Christopher Manney. The Milwaukee County prosecutor announced Monday that Manney's use of force was justified self-defense, and he wouldn't be charged in the case.

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Browns to leave Extension for unique, rare opportunity with State DepartmentSubmitted: 12/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Tim Brown will soon leave his job at Oneida County's UW-Extension.

He doesn't know where he'll be going, but it will be to one of more than 270 embassies and consulates worldwide.

"It's always been a dream," Brown said.

His dream has been to live and work abroad. That dream will be realized in just a matter of weeks.

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