NORTHWOODS - Water main breaks from this harsh winter will cost Northwoods communities millions of dollars.
The U.S. Congress might want to help.
Under old rules, northern Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Weston) might have tried to get direct federal money to help pay for repairs.
He can't anymore.
Congress used to have the power to earmark money for specific projects across the country.
But that hasn't been allowed since 2010.
"If we were still earmarking in Congress, this would be one that would be considered through the earmark process. But again, it was abused at a pretty disgusting level, and that's why it's gone," Duffy said.
Lawmakers used earmarks to send money for big projects in their home state.
That could help them gain popularity and win reelection.
The practice is gone.
But Duffy might have used it for water main repair projects in Northwoods communities if it was still around.
"They're not bursting at the seams with revenue. They don't have the resources to fix, many times, very, very old infrastructure," he said.
Instead, the state may apply for federal disaster aid to help pay for the work.
RHINELANDER - A snow storm caught Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander off guard last weekend and collapsed a greenhouse. Now that spring weather is here, Hanson's is ready to move forward by making some adjustments. "We got by for 25 years doing what we were doing," said Hanson's Garden Village Co-owner Brent Hanson. Last weekend's spring snow storm set back Hanson's. "We thought we were ahead of schedule having that greenhouse nice and filled," said Hanson's Manager Beth Hanson.
"One bad storm and there you go. Things happen," said Brent. The storm collapsed a greenhouse holding thousands of plants. "For years we've gotten by with these lighter cheaper green houses," said Brent. "We'll be down a greenhouse for a little bit here," said Beth. Now Hanson's will only use sturdier and solid greenhouses so that collapses don't become a pattern.
RHINELANDER - Oneida County needs more foster care homes. Right now, there are nine licensed foster homes in the area, most of which are full according to the county's social services department.
Foster Care Coordinator Rachel Nelson says that in Oneida County there are 24 children currently living in foster homes. The department participated in a statewide foster care recruitment project last fall, and discovered just how great the need is.
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