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.
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Some Wisconsin schools will be using gunshot-detection sensors when classes resume this fall to try to get police to respond more quickly to a mass shooting.
The sensors are among various security upgrades schools are rolling out with grant money state lawmakers approved this year after the shootings in Parkland, Florida.
The Kenosha Unified School District plans to use $384,000 of its nearly $900,000 award to install sensors from New Mexico-based EAGL Technology at its 43 schools. The system is designed to alert police within seconds of shots being fired and activate surveillance cameras near their location to livestream the scene to authorities. The sensors can also lock doors after gunshots.
EAGL Technology says the number of schools across the country expressing interest in the sensors has increased since Parkland.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group working to maintain recreational trails in the area got some help in their mission. The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association received grants to help fund its various projects.
The group got two DNR Recreational Trail Act Grants totaled at a little more than $13,000. The WPS Foundation also gave a total of $1,800 in grants. The grant money will be used to help with multiple projects.
One project is to construct a boardwalk over the wetlands of the Cassian Cross County Ski Trail. RASTA is also going to construct a new ski trail at Washburn.
For more information on all of RASTA's projects, visit their Facebook page lined below.
FLORENCE COUNTY - Two high school students died in a car crash early Friday morning in Florence County. The wreck happened at around 6:20 a.m. according to the Florence County Sheriff's Office.
The vehicle was traveling north on County Highway N in the Commonwealth Township, when the driver lost control while making a turn. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway, and hit a tree, bursting into flames upon impact.
The names and ages of the Florence High School students will be released after notifications are made.
MINOCQUA - Owners of wooden boats describe them as labors of love.
"If you're going to own a boat like this, you have to have a commitment," said boat owner Marc Toigo. "It's not optional."
It's the kind of commitment Gordon Moore had when he helped start the Minocqua Antique Wooden & Classic Boat Show 26 years ago. Moore passed away in August, making this weekend's show the first without him.
"We're going to laugh a lot, because he'd want us to," said show organizer Al Hanley. "(Moore) had a great sense of humor, he was a truly unique individual."
- In the last week, more than a dozen people in the Wausau area found their cars damaged or broken into.
In a span of six days, at least 17 vehicles were either keyed, had windows bashed in or had stuff stolen from them.
"Some weirdo doings some weirdo stuff that's how I look at it," said Jon Radtke who lives in the neighborhood where items were stolen from a handful of unlocked cars."It's kind of (strange) for this area. We really don't have a lot of problems in the area."
Last Friday, two vehicles parked at the East High Apartments on Street and Adams Street and three more just down the street were broken into.
"We're working on who [is doing] this," said Wausau Police Officer Brian Burkhardt.
He says a few days after the break-ins around 7th Street; he received calls of 12 cars being vandalized, nothing stolen just vandalized.
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