RHINELANDER - October will be a big month for the Affordable Care Act.
If you don’t have insurance, that’s when federal exchange plans will be available.
But many Wisconsinites still have questions on how the program will affect them.
That’s why seniors met in Rhinelander Friday.The Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans hosted the forum. Billy Feitlinger, executive director of the alliance, discussed Medicare, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.
His group supports the healthcare reform because it will keep Medicare in the green for an additional nine years.
But some like Gloria Oberneder know people who feel lost in the system.
"Most people who become seniors and are on that low income, if they are not on Medicaid and they do make a little more money, they are always searching for answers for different things and they are confused,"Oberneder said.
Another concern was rising policy cost. A new Rand Corporation study says the reform won’t have widespread cost increases for policies.
But experts like Robert Laszewski of the Health Policy & Strategy Associates projected an increase in Wisconsin at a June summit in Wausau.
"Wisconsin is one of the states projected to have the biggest increases," Laszewski said. "That's because the the affordable care act sets very high standards for what package of insurance looks like."
The forum also focused heavily on Social Security. That's because Congress is preparing for another fight over spending cuts and the debt ceiling, and Billy Feitlinger worries Social Security could be targeted.
"There should be some reform to Social Security, but it should not be in the context of the federal deficit or debt ceiling because Social Security hasn't contributed one penny to the federal deficit."
That’s because funding for Social Security has always been automatically taken out of our paychecks. But more Baby Boomers are entering the program, and under current obligations the $2.7 trillion fund will run dry by 2033.
TOMAHAWK - The Tomahawk School District will need to make big budget cuts in the next year. The district will need to cut more than $500 thousand dollars. Rising transportation costs along with declining enrollments challenge many Northwood's School Districts.
“We have a lot of issues in Northern Wisconsin that many districts in the state of Wisconsin don't have,” says Cheryl Baker, Tomahawk School District Superintendent. “For instance in the Tomahawk School District there's about 425 and I'm rounding that off, square miles of terrain that has to be covered everyday two times a day to pick kids up, to bring them to school, and to take them home.”
“That cost is our cost,” says Baker.
The school district does not plan to cut any electives. Instead they are moving from an 8 to a 7 period day.
“We're moving from an 8 period day to a 7 period day purely for economic reasons,” says Baker. “In other words had we not gone to the 7 period day for next year we would have had to of cut entire classes, electives, and or start cutting down teachers full time positions.”
The school district will also need to cut its full time social worker.
APPLETON - Law enforcement officials say they have exhausted all efforts to recover a handgun thought to be used in the shooting of a 25-year-old man in an Appleton nightclub.
That includes taking apart some of the club's plumbing system.
Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider tells Post-Crescent Media (http://post.cr/1kFLfi0 ) they will keep following up on leads on the gun's whereabouts but they've so far pursued it as far as they could.
WAUSAU - Most magicians wow us with their tricks, but Magician Lou Lepore does more.
He teaches his audiences how to do some of the tricks he performs. He spent the last week as magician-in-residence at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau putting on magic shows and hosting workshops.
It was part of the museum's latest exhibit on Mystery, Magic and Mayhem.
Students from local schools visited him during his six-day residency as in-house magician.
"We had schools come in, and depending on the size of the kids, if it was about 20 or under we would do a class, an actual workshop with them and teach them magic," says Lepore. "You would teach them maybe a half a dozen tricks that they can use with friends and family and things like that. If it was more than 20 we did a show."
Lepore specializes in sleight of hand using items like cards or coins. He also dabbles in cabaret.
Lepore has been doing magic for more than 40 years, but this was his first time as an in-house magician.
"They said can you do an artist-in-residency, and I said I have no idea what that is, what do I do?" says Lepore. "They said you're gong to show your art form, being magic, and you're going to teach kids classes and do demonstrations and workshops. I said oh yeah, I've done that for fairs, festivals so I can do all that for you."
Two more magicians will perform at the museum through April.
MADISON - If all this snow melts too quickly, there could be severe flooding in areas of Wisconsin.
That's according to the National Weather Service.
Steve Buan, the senior hydrologist for the North Central River Forecast Center in Chanhassen, Minn., says the ripening flood conditions have been caused by higher-than-usual snowfall and frost depths nearing 8 feet in some places.
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