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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

KENOSHA - The Kenosha mayor says he's very disappointed Gov. Scott Walker decided against a request to build a casino there.

Gov. Scott Walker on Friday denied the Menominee Nation's request for permission to build an off-reservation casino in Kenosha, saying it could leave the state owing a rival tribe millions of dollars.

Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman says he's frustrated with Walker's denial of the tribal casino at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park.

He said the loss of $800 million in investment and the expected thousands of construction and permanent jobs is a blow to the city.

Bosman said the process has been very frustrating.

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MEDFORD - Members of the Medford Curling Club celebrated their 100 year anniversary this weekend. The club began its first curling season in July of 1914 and has steadily built a following during the past century. Club members believe media exposure has brought more attention to curling locally and across the country.

"I think the Olympics have done a great boost for curling, clubs are popping up all over the United States now," said Centennial Committee Chairman Jeff Mueller. "You can meet people all over the country, you mention curling, they say they saw it on the Olympics. Unlike years ago when they thought it was just some boring shuffleboard on ice type of thing, people really get into it."

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THREE LAKES - Many people get their tax forms at Northwoods libraries. But they might not get everything they need to file their taxes at the library this year.

The IRS won't be able to send local libraries every free tax form and instruction booklets because of budget cuts.

At the Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes, the free tax forms are usually a popular service. The library's director think many people will be let down. But the library will still offer some of the tax forms people will need.

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WAKEFIELD - Close to 3,000 people in Gogebic County experienced a widespread power outage Friday.

The Gogebic County Sheriff's Office aren't sure how it happened, but power is being restored.

They say the outage affected much of the county, but it was narrowed down to the city of Wakefield. About 50 percent of the city was without power.

Deputies say the city of Wakefield maintains its own power grid. They say Wakefield Electric Department and Xcel Energy worked all day Saturday to restore power.

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MINOCQUA - A large crowd had the chance to try a wide variety of tasty chilli Saturday.

The Minocqua Brewing Company hosted their fourth annual Chilly Chili Challenge. People had the chance to try 10 different chili's.

Minocqua Brewing Company Manager Doug Etten says the warm weather might have played a roll in how many people came out Saturday.

"It's so nice out this weekend that we've got a lot of people in the area, but they'll be out doing some stuff," said Etten. "We understand that and they should be because that's why they come to the Northwoods."

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MEDFORD - 28 middle aged and elderly people will need to find housing after an apartment fire in Medford Saturday.

It happened a little before 1 p.m. The Medford Police Department says the fire happened in Riverview Village Apartments on the third floor.

Medford Police Chief Ken Coyer says a neighbor smelled and saw smoke.

The 28 people who lived there were displaced due to smoke, fire and water damage throughout the building. Red Cross helped them at Medford Area Senior High School to make arrangments for housing.

The chief says this was an accidental fire.

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MILWAUKEE - A driver who entered Interstate 94 the wrong way is dead and five others are injured after a six-vehicle crash in Milwaukee County.

According to the county sheriff's department, 32-year-old Marcos Cortez, of Wauwatosa, entered the freeway at about 8 p.m. Friday travelling westbound in the eastbound lanes without headlights on when he crashed into another car.

Cortez died on the scene. The three people in the car he struck were not seriously injured.

Four other vehicles were involved in secondary crashes, with two people taken to hospitals for minor injuries.

The eastbound freeway was shut down for nearly 5 hours while deputies investigated.

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