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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ANTIGO - We often hear of big groups and organizations raising money for cancer.

But sometimes it's nice to know the face behind who is giving the money.

Dorothy Mifflin, 15, of Antigo is one of those faces. She crochets hats, scarfs and headbands and sells them, giving the money to local people suffering from cancer.

She then gives her money to local people with cancer.

When she was young, she found spare yarn around her house and taught herself how to crochet. Later she made hats for her entire fourth grade class. When more and more people wanted her hats, she decided to sell them.

And she made her business into a mini non-profit.

She sells her hats of all different shapes, sizes and designs for just a few bucks.

Here's the interesting part. Instead of keeping the money she makes, like many people her age probably would, this teen donates her money to local people with cancer.

"I get shy I guess, I just say I wanted to do this because I thought it would be really nice," Mifflin said.

Right now she buys the yarn or its donated to her. But her new project is to make her own yarn, and she has all the machines for it. A family friend donated the machines to Dorothy and another friend taught her how to use them, including how to spin. She also makes dryer balls with the wool she spins.

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"I've been showing sheep for a long time," Mifflin said. "I just love it. I love showing sheep."

Mifflin has a Facebook page for selling her hats, called "Funky Hats By Dorothy." See the link below. 

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