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NEWS STORIES

ObamaCare forces Trig's to limit workers' hoursSubmitted: 07/24/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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MINOCQUA - ObamaCare will dig into the pocketbooks of part-time workers at one of the Northwoods' biggest employers.

If Trig's Supermarkets hadn't cut part-time work hours, it would have been out of business within a year.

That's what a consultant told the company.

About two-thirds of the 1,100 Trig's employees are part-time workers.

But if they work more than 30 hours a week, the president's health care legislation technically considers them full time.

That means Trig's would be forced to provide health insurance to those workers.

The report said keeping the work schedules as they were AND providing that health coverage would have been disastrous to the company's bottom line.

"Doing nothing was not an option. It would have put us out of business. Within a year, it would have put us out of business. There's no doubt about that. So obviously we've had to make some changes," says Angie Dreifuerst, Trig's' Vice President of HR, Benefits, and MIS.

Those changes include promoting a few workers to full time.

But the biggest impact comes to the 65 percent of employees working part-time.

They're not allowed to work more than 30 hours per week.

That way, Trig's can avoid considering them full time workers.

"Yeah, they were frustrated, but I believe they also understood why we had to make the decisions that we did. I said, 'this isn't good for you, this isn't good for us, it's not what we want to do either.' Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of options. We have to do what we have to do to comply and stay viable," she says.

Companies like Trig's aren't the only ones facing employment challenges from the Affordable Care Act.

Even school districts like Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk have taken steps to make sure their part-time workers stay under the 30 hour threshold.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/20/2014

- We'll show you how the loss of one event in the Rhinelander area has opened the door for a new one downtown.

- A central Wisconsin paper mill will transition to international ownership after being owned by an American company.

- And hundreds of kids in third world countries will get to open a Christmas gift this year. It's all thanks to people who donate a shoebox filled with supplies for kids. The boxes are part of a world-wide organization called Operation Christmas Child. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek went to the Rock Mission Center in Eagle River where volunteers are collecting boxes filled with toys, toothbrushes, and hope.

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

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Wisconsin mom accused of damaging son's earsSubmitted: 11/20/2014

MILWAUKEE - A 26-year-old Fond du Lac woman is charged with felony child abuse after she was caught on video jamming cotton swabs into her son's ears, causing them to bleed.

According to the complaint, Jenna Schumacher took her 15-month-old son to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin for treatment of chronic ear bleeding and perforated eardrums.

The complaint says doctors found no medical reason for the ear injuries, but discovered a piece of a cotton swab in the boy's ear.

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Snow tires may be an unnecessary expense for some peopleSubmitted: 11/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - The roads in the Northwoods can get slippery and dangerous in the winter. If you're not careful driving in the snow, you can get into an accident.

Recently, a Wisconsin State Trooper in Winnebago County was hit while he was investigating a different accident on the road. Some people use snow tires to prevent accidents like that in the winter.

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The Retail Shed looks to play a piece in improved economy in LaonaSubmitted: 11/19/2014

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LAONA - A drive through Laona might convince you that the community is struggling economically. That's true for many small Northwoods towns. But one locally-owned, independent store is trying to move things in a better direction.

Within the last few months, both the grocery store and the hardware store in Laona closed.

Now, the hardware store is back open, with new owners and a new name. It's called The Retail Shed.

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Ryan to chair tax panel, a possible 2016 platformSubmitted: 11/19/2014

WASHINGTON - House Republican leaders have chosen Paul Ryan to head the powerful House Ways and Means Committee for the next two years.

The new post could give the Wisconsin Republican a high-profile platform if he decides to run for president in 2016 or beyond.

Ryan was the party's vice presidential nominee two years ago. He has sidestepped questions about his plans for 2016.

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Chequamegon-Nicolet trails need workSubmitted: 11/19/2014

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NORTHWOODS - You may need to wait a little longer to go cross-country skiing on certain trails. Trails in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest are packed with snow, but they're not ready for skiers just yet.

"We found with the ground so warm, that all of the snow that we received in the last week really packed down to very little of a base," explained Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Lands and Recreation Program Manager Jeff Mell. "We're really waiting for that base to build up where we can put a track on top of it at this time."

The trails are still open for hiking and snow-shoeing, but motorized trails won't be open until December. Forest Service leaders want people to be careful out on the hiking trails this weekend and the week following. The lands and recreation manager explains that most times, winter activities and firearm season don't overlap.

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Freeze the Gain encourages holding weight steady over the holidays in Forest CountySubmitted: 11/19/2014

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CRANDON - Forest County health workers hope they can help people maintain their weight over the holidays.

A national study found average Americans gain one or two pounds around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"That weight typically doesn't come off," said Forest County Health Department Director Jill Krueger. "You're accumulating a pound or two every year, which is a risk factor for obesity down the road."

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