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.
Students celebrate International Day in the Northwoods
WOODRUFF - The Olympics might be over, but the Paralympics are underway in Sochi. Teachers at one local school are using the Olympic spirit to teach students about other countries.
Students at North Country Montessori celebrated International Day Friday morning. The students learn about different countries throughout the school year.
"The children at Montessori do a huge unit on geography and world culture, and we used today as a way to express the information that we found and things that we've learned," says North Country Montessori director Candice Henderson.
This year's theme was the Sochi Olympics.
Each student dressed up as a different country and sang songs in Russian.
This was the school's 30th annual International Day celebration. It ended with a potluck meal featuring ethnic food from different countries.
Diehard Bears fan trades in his orange and blue for green and gold
ST. GERMAIN - We all love our favorite sports teams. But what would happen if you had to dress up in your rival's gear? That's exactly what happened to Bears fan, Jerry Healy.
He's the janitor at St. Germain Elementary School. Healy challenged the students to raise over $700 for charity. If they did he'd wear the green and gold.
“Mr Healy you're unbelievable thank you for doing this,” says Jerry Healy, St. Germain Elementary School Janitor. “One kid said, "all this is disgusting Mr. Healy,” and another little kid who's a diehard Packers fan came up he came up and he's got an orange and blue pair of pants on and goes I'm a bears fan, today you're a packer fan, and that was pretty cool he's in second grade.”
As you can see the students surpassed the goal. The money went to pennies for patients. It’s an organization that supports people diagnosed with leukemia. The challenge brought the whole school together.
“Well I think they rose to the occasion they understood they're helping others in an easy but fun way. They came together as a class, as a whole school and just had a lot of fun with it,” says Jeff Waltz, a third grade teacher at St. Germain Elementary School.
This wasn't the first time Jerry got to dress up as a Packers fan. He did the same thing a few years ago when students accomplished a reading goal.
VILAS COUNTY - More people today use maps on their phones when traveling, but some people still like those paper maps.
The Vilas County GIS just made 15 maps of the area. They give people the option to download and print them at home. A map of Boulder Junction even won an award at the 27th annual Wisconsin land Information Association conference in Middleton.
“There was a lot of interest in creating a portable, easy to use map atlas that responders, town crew, delivery entities, could take out in the field with them and find any address point any road name any water body,” says Rebecca Nordine, Vilas County GIS Specialist. “Something that they could bring out along out in the field with them.”
The atlases will give people an easier way of looking up addresses across Vilas County.
“We do offer up online mapping and that's great but if you get into an area where there's no cell phone or no internet service you'll need something a map or paper map to fall back on,” says Nordine.
Each atlas will be updated at the beginning of the year.
To download a copy of the atlases for FREE you can visit: http://vcgis.co.vilas.wi.us/vcom/.
Attorney general candidates believe heroin high priority, growing problem
RHINELANDER - Wisconsin will get a new state attorney general this election year.That could mean new changes for the department.
But many of the candidates agree that more needs to be done to deal with heroin in Wisconsin.
Police and prosecutors say the drug continues to spread throughout the state. Republican candidate Brad Schimel, Waukesha County district attorney, believes heroin and opiates are one of the state’s biggest challenge.
"We're seeing more people die from accidental drug overdoses than we're seeing in car crashes," Schimel said. "That is a dangerous statistic for us to be looking at."
According to a Gannet Wisconsin Investigative study, at least 199 people died in 2012 in Wisconsin from drug overdoses.
The legislature has passed several bills this session to fight heroin and help people who are addicted to the drug.
State Rep. Jon Richards-(D) Milwaukee, is one of three Democratic candidates running for attorney general. He believes the state needs to keep going after drug traffickers.
"Local prosecutors and law enforcement are already stretched to the max in terms of their man power," Richards said. "We have to be addressing these new problems of public safety in creative ways and effective ways."
Democratic candidates Susan Happ and Ismael Ozanne were not available before running this story.
Richards was touring the Northwoods Friday talking to media and district attorneys in the area.
The Democratic primary is set for August 12th. Election day is Nov. 4, 2014.
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