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NEWS STORIES

Local Effects of Sequestration UnclearSubmitted: 02/25/2013
Story By Lex Gray

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RHINELANDER - First, we went off the fiscal cliff. Then, Washington lawmakers pulled us back up -- but not for long.

Now, the country faces what politicians are calling "the sequester."

If Congress can't reach a deal by Friday, $85 billion will be cut from public programs.

In Wisconsin, that includes schools, the military, and programs for the environment, seniors, public health, child care, and more.

That comes from a 50-page report from the White House on how Wisconsin would be affected.

The report didn't give an exact or estimated dollar amount, and no one around the Northwoods seems to know exactly how they'd be affected, either.

That's true for Dianne Jacobson, director of the Oneida County Department on Aging.

The federal government funds twenty percent of her department.

"That's a significant amount but as I said, we don't want anyone that we serve to worry, 'Oh they're going to cut that program or they're going to reduce that.'" Jacobson said. "We always will have to look based on the funding that we get, but at this point, we are not anticipating a cut of our services."

Jacobson encourages seniors to talk to their local representatives.

Congressman Sean Duffy spoke to us on the phone from Washington, D.C.

He said he wants to prevent cuts to essential services, but the compromise should be about cutting spending, not raising taxes, as the President has proposed.

"We think we have to get our spending under control. And if we don't, you can't tax your way out of this problem," Duffy said. "I'm trying to look for ways, per the prior agreement with the President, to get us to a place where we can actually live within our means. And that means to start cutting the fat and waste within the federal budget."

The Federal Aviation Administration would be included in the cuts, but the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport is so small, it likely wouldn't be affected.

But the Chippewa Valley Airport would close.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 09/19/2014

- A cool summer and lots of rain hurt grape growing conditions this year. Some winemakers in the Northwoods don't have enough grapes to make wine, and they worry the harsh weather may have ruined their vineyards. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek went to the Brigadoon Winery to find out what winemakers are doing to make enough wine this year.

- We meet the new executive director of the Human Service Center in Rhinelander. The group helps people in Oneida, Forest and Vilas counties.

- And a recent report by the National Audubon Society says climatic changes could threaten birds in the Northwoods by the year 2080. We look at the study and hear from an expert on what we can do to stop it.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Bad weather takes a toll on local vineyardsSubmitted: 09/19/2014

TRIPOLI - A cool summer and a lot of rain hurt grape growing conditions this year. Some winemakers in the Northwoods don't have enough grapes to make wine and they worry the harsh weather may have hurt their vineyards.

"Here's a couple of vines that we lost," explained David Welbes, owner of Brigadoon Winery. "They died."

Many vineyards in the Northwoods don't look good this year. The bad weather has made it nearly impossible for grapes to grow into a healthy crop.

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UWSP student, instructor teaming up on safety appSubmitted: 09/19/2014

STEVENS POINT - Two members of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point community are developing a safety app that allows students to track the location of friends when they go out on the town.

Stevens Point Journal Media (http://spjour.nl/1DmZSyb ) reports UWSP senior Jenna Furger and instructor Drew Frisk are working together to conduct the smartphone program's first beta test. They hope to roll out the app within the next couple of months.

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Sentencing planned for attack on corrections officerSubmitted: 09/19/2014

WAUSAU - A man convicted of attacking a jail officer in Marathon County will learn his sentence today.

22 year old Fredrick Morris pled no contest to agrivated battery and battery by a prisoner.

Prosecutors say Morris was the inmate who threw a punch which knocked a Marathon County jail officer unconscious.

The attack happened last year in March.

Julie Christensen was critically injured and admitted to the hospital.

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Northwoods churches invite people in for Back to Church SundaySubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - Northwoods ministers want more people to go to church this Sunday. That's true every Sunday, but they're putting a special emphasis on this week.

Calvary Baptist Church in Rhinelander is one of many churches taking part in National Back to Church Sunday.

A vast majority of Americans believe in God,but a much smaller minority attend church on a regular basis.

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Audubon Report says climatic changes could hurt Northwoods birds by 2080Submitted: 09/19/2014

NORTHWOODS - Birds living in the Northwoods could be in serious danger.

A recent National Audubon Society report says climatic changes could threaten birds by the year 2080.

Scientists studied 588 bird species and more than half of those are facing trouble.

The study looks at the important climate needs each species requires to survive.

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Human Service Center welcomes new executive directorSubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - A familiar face will lead a Northwoods organization dedicated to helping individuals and families.

Tamara Feest became Executive Director of the Human Service Center earlier this month.

The center is located in Rhinelander and serves Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties.

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