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NEWS STORIES

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


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

WAUSAU - A crash in Wausau left one man injured after his motorcycle collided with a van Friday night.

The Wausau Police Department got a call about a southbound crash around 9:00pm on Grand Avenue near Ruder Street.

A motorcycle was in the left lane and a van in the right. The 48-year-old Schofield woman driving the van said she didn't see the motorcycle in her blind spot. She hit the 43-year-old Schofield man on the motorcycle, who landed on the sidewalk. 

The man was not wearing a helmet. He was taken to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau.

The woman got two citations, one for not having insurance on the van and another for unsafe lane deviation.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Parades and marching bands go hand in hand.

Boulder Junction has gone without one in their 4th of July parade for more than 20 years, but one marching band that is changing that tradition.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Around 15,000 people came out to support the Boulder Junction Volunteer Fire Department Saturday.

The volunteer fire department held their 25th annual chicken barbeque fundraiser.

All money raised during the barbeque goes to the fire department to help with equipment upgrades and training.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he and GOP legislative leaders have agreed to completely remove a part of the proposed state budget that would severely roll back the state's open records laws.

Walker announced the decision in a joint statement Saturday with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and the co-chairs of the joint budget committee.

The statement says the records proposal "will be removed from the budget in its entirety." They say the plan "was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way."

The restrictions, which Republicans slipped into the proposed budget late Thursday, would exempt nearly everything created by government officials from Wisconsin's open records law.

The statement says the Legislature will form a committee to study the issue and allow for public discussion.

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MIAMI BEACH, FLA - Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless has been arrested for allegedly firing two shots into the air during an argument outside a Miami Beach parking garage.

A witness told Miami Beach police that Quarless and three others pulled up to a car full of women early Saturday. An arrest affidavit says the football player and another man approached the car. The conversation eventually escalated and the witness told authorities he heard the women yelling for Quarless and his friend to leave them alone.

That's when authorities say Quarless pulled out a handgun and fired two shots in the air.

He was charged with discharging a firearm in public.

A call and emails to the Packers were not immediately returned Saturday.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - A cracked lime kiln has caused a fire that damaged the Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids.

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ANTIGO - Low temperatures this time of year can cause problems for some farmers. One Northwoods strawberry farm had to close down for a few hours earlier this week because the berries aren't ripening as fast as normal.

"The cold days this week made the berries ripen much slower than normal," says Andy Merry, owner of Merry's Berries.

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