NEWS STORIES

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

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.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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Oneida County Sheriff announces bid for general electionSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Sheriff Grady Hartman wants to keep his job for another four years.

The Oneida County Sheriff announced Monday he will run in the general election.

Governor Scott Walker appointed Hartman to the position in January 2013 when former Sheriff Jeff Hoffman retired.

Hartman has served in the Oneida County Sheriff's office for 15 years.

He was promoted to Sergeant in 2006.

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Trost aide: Walker to sign police billSubmitted: 04/22/2014

MADISON - An aide to a Wisconsin lawmaker says Gov. Scott Walker intends to sign a bill that would put outside agencies in charge of investigating officer-involved deaths.

Craig Trost, an aide to Rep. Chris Taylor, says in an email that Walker's office notified Taylor's office that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday.

Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, developed the legislation in response to three high-profile deaths in the last 10 years. None of those incidents resulted in criminal charges.

Supporters say the new requirements will counter claims that police protect their own from consequences of using deadly force. But police observers say the bill could create conflict and confusion for Wisconsin agencies that have traditionally done the investigations themselves.

The bill passed the Legislature earlier this year.

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Rhinelander receives award to upgrade sewersSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Leaders in a Northwoods community want to make sure that their untreated waste water doesn't get into lakes and rivers.

That's why they applied for an award that will help them upgrade the sewers.

The city of Rhinelander won the award today.

The city got $3,754,000 in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve its downtown sewers.

Leaders say a flood with the current system could hurt local waterways.

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Cooking for people with multiple, chronic health conditions Submitted: 04/22/2014

MINOCQUA - For people struggling with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease, cooking can be a challenge.

But being careful with how you cook doesn't mean your meal has to be bland.

One dietician teaches the "Cooking for Multiple Diseases" class at Nicolet College in Minocqua.

People taking her class need help finding the best recipes for their conditions.

"Maybe they have diabetes and their spouse has heart disease. Or other people in the family may have a different disease," said Mary Sikora-Petersen, a Registered dietician. "They want to know, how [to] cook a meal that's going to be for everybody in the family."

Petersen also stresses the importance of using healthier ingredients without losing flavor. One way to do that is by using seed-based seasonings and avoiding too much salt.

"[Add] flavors to food without adding salt. Certainly, salt adds flavor," said Petersen. "But there are other ways to add flavor, such as adding ground seasonings, adding fresh herbs to the foods."

Petersen also recommends using light olive oils and whole wheat products.





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It's time to start looking out for ticksSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - It may not feel like summer just yet, but it is time to start thinking about tick prevention.

The peak season for ticks is May through August but healthcare professionals suggest you be on the lookout as soon as the snow melts.

Last year, there were 153 reported cases of tick-borne illnesses in Oneida County alone.

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Merrill looks to identify mission, major issues, future plans in first-ever strategic planSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MERRILL - What does a city see as its mission?

How does it address its biggest issues?

Where does it hope to go in the next few decades?

Leaders in Merrill want to answer those questions with their first-ever strategic plan.

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2 fined for mistreating dairy cowsSubmitted: 04/22/2014

GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.

Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.

Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.

Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.

Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.

A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.

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