WOODRUFF - Ministry's Spirit 2 helicopter will have a new home, but not as soon as originally expected. Plans to build a hangar to house the helicopter have hit a snag in the permitting process.
Right now Spirit 2 is housed at the Oneida County airport. But Ministry Health Care studied flight data and found Howard Young Medical Center to be the most central location relative to the area it serves.
"Ten to 15 minutes of time can be saved depending on the location of the call. And our main concerns are trauma, stroke and heart attacks. In those three scenarios ten to 15 minutes can literally mean the difference between life and death," says Dr. Roderick Brodhead, Howard Young Medical Center Director of Emergency Services.
"The other big advantage is the helicopter crew is able to provide care to patients in the emergency department while they are not making a flight."
Construction was supposed to begin soon but the Town of Woodruff requested Ministry apply for a conditional use permit. It would allow neighbors with noise concerns to be involved in the process.
"We're assessing alternatives right now to make sure that we're not flying directly over the homes of our neighbors, and looking at alternatives to mitigate some of the noise whether it be natural borders, or what can be done to help reduce the noise levels on the ground," says Laurie Oungst, Northern Region Vice President of Hospital Operations.
The site has already been cleared but they're holding off on construction until they have the permit. It's expected to take several months.
FOND DU LAC - A police standoff has ended in Fond du Lac with a man in custody.
Officials say the standoff outside an apartment may be connected to a house fire in the city Monday morning. Police tell WBAY-TV (http://bit.ly/18wYmYO) that a man holed up in an apartment fired shots at officers, but no one was hurt.
Police negotiators were able to talk to the man on the phone and get him to leave the building and surrender. He was taken into custody without incident.
Authorities say the man in the apartment is a ``person of interest'' in the fire at a two-story house elsewhere in the city.
Police have cleared the scene and say no explosives or anyone else was found in the apartment. Neighbors can return to their homes.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander employee union believes the city illegally rejected their collective bargaining agreement,now they’re suing the city.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1226 represents City of Rhinelander workers from public works, wastewater, parks, water and golf course employees. They filed suit against the city on Dec. 4, 2013.
The union says they reached a tentative agreement for a new collective bargaining agreement in early December 2012. But according court documents, the union claims the city council illegally rejected the agreement and didn’t tell the union about it.
Aaron Halstead, from Madison-based firm Hawks Quindel, S.C., has been a labor lawyer for more than 20 years and says he has never seen a municipality do something like this before.
"I've never had any municipality do what the city did here which is to reject an agreement with the union, despite the fact that they had an agreement on all of the terms," Halstead said.
The union believes the city is violating Wisconsin Municipal Employment Relations Act. In 2012, city workers asked for a one percent wage increase starting January 1,2013.
Halstead said the city and union agreed to that increase in their tentative agreement. According to the group's complaint, the city council rejected the tentative collective bargaining agreement, but passed the one percent wage increase as a resolution.
But the union claims the collective bargaining agreement wasn’t renewed. Instead the group says the city passed a resolution putting the terms into a personnel manual.
Rhinelander city council met Monday night to discuss how to move forward once the city is formally served with lawsuit.
"I think it's unfortunate. We have a good relationship with the union, and a good relationship with the employees," said Blaine Oborn, Rhinelander city administrator. "We have a lot of outstanding employees. So unfortunately, with all this ambiguity [concerning] Acts 10 and 32, I think that this kind of stuff unfortunately [happens]."
The complaint also claims that the city reduced the wages of newly hired people by $4 an hour. They say this violates the terms of the parties' tentative agreement. Halstead says they still haven't received an explanation.
"The city contends that it doesn't have to, but it has never provided a satisfactory answer as to what it is that is objectionable about the agreement that was reached," Halstead said.
Monday nights' meeting was a closed session.
The city will have three weeks to respond to the complaint.
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