WAUSAU - "This is the Affordable Care Act in action. It's actually working to help the community."
Standing inside a partially-constructed dental clinic area, with boards, saws, drywall, and laborers all around, Bridge Community Health Clinic Executive Director Laura Scudiere showed off the progress they're making Tuesday in Wausau.
"It's nice to see because it is a manifestation of what the Affordable Care Act has done for our community," Scudiere said. "We will be able to see many more dental patients, and actually addressing the crisis in our area."
Scudiere was demonstrating the clinic's work for Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, during Baldwin's stop at the Wausau health center. Bridge Community Health Clinic, which serves patients in primary care, dentistry, and behavioral health, will expand their dental coverage as a direct result of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, of which Baldwin is an ardent supporter.
"What we're talking about right now is how the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act is going to affect the community services that (Bridge is) providing," Baldwin said.
Bridge Clinic won a grant out of Obamacare funds to build their dental addition, which will cost $3.38 million dollars. It will allow them to serve about 7,000 additional patients from the Wausau area, most of which are low-income, relying on Medicaid for care. Baldwin touted the accomplishment as a tangible, positive benefit of the Affordable Care Act.
"(I'm excited about) the role that Bridge Street clinic is going to play in doing outreach to folks who can now sign up for insurance in the insurance marketplace," she said.
"Senator Baldwin has been a big advocate for the Affordable Care Act, and she was a big part of making it happen, drafting many parts of the plan that I personally feel were a benefit to our patients and the community," Scudiere said.
As for conservative threats to shut down the federal government if Obamacare isn't defunded, Baldwin isn't impressed.
"What we need is more certainty and more regular order rather than these wild threats to shut down government or not have government pay its bills," she said.
Bridge Clinic's new dental space will open in October.
BOULDER JUNCTION - Pilots find very little room for error when they make a landing. Wings, flaps, and landing gear all need to work properly. Then there's the runway itself, which needs to be flat and smooth.
So, when pilots found ruts and divots torn into the grass runway at Boulder Junction's airport, folks were more than upset, they were worried about safe landings. Airfield president Jeff Long thinks someone used a pickup truck to do the damage. It happened right before the airfield's busiest weekend of the year, the Musky Day fly-in.
"To see somebody disregard that, disrespect that, and then again the safety, where somebody could get hurt that we're inviting up here for summer fun, doesn't make you feel very good," Long said.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander and Oneida County will consider borrowing $15 million to help develop a manufacturer in Rhinelander, according to an Oneida County Economic Development Corporation release Tuesday.
The money would help Rhinelander Coated Products start work inside the former Printpack building on Kemp Street.
MADISON - New state regulations designed to retain teachers are going into effect.
The package was published Tuesday. The provisions allow retired teachers or teachers nearing retirement to apply for a nonrenewable five-year license without submitting a professional development plan. They also increase the time that short-term substitute teachers can serve in the same assignment from 20 days to 45 days.
THREE LAKES - Pollinators play an essential role in the growth of plants, and it's not just bees that help pollinate.
Butterflies, bats, and even mosquitoes are pollinators, but those populations have been in decline in recent years.
"Across the U.S., pollinators have been seeing big declines," said Oneida County Conservationist Michele Sadauskas. "We've been hearing more and more about our honeybee pollinations. The monarch populations have had dramatic decreases. So we're seeing it across the board."
EAGLE RIVER - Cities across the Northwoods drop tens of thousands of dollars every winter on crack sealing roads. The Eagle River Airport is no different. The airport spent about $25,000 in 2016 patching up its main runway.
Arguably, that runway is even older than most roads people drive on. The runway was last redone in 1971. On a busy day, the 5,000-foot runway hosts upwards of 80 takeoffs and landings. Airport manager Rob Hom showed Newswatch 12 a number of places where the pavement is buckling and cracked. That can lead to dangerous landings for small planes.
"Relative to a car or a truck [a prop-powered airplane is] pretty light relatively speaking, so having a smooth runway is imperative," Hom said.
CRANDON - For some Northwoods families, it can be hard to find the money to pay for their kids' school supplies every year, but a back-to-school program in Forest County is giving children the supplies they need to succeed.
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