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White House report says Medicaid expansion would cover 120k WisconsinitesSubmitted: 07/02/2014
Story By Associated Press

White House report says Medicaid expansion would cover 120k Wisconsinites
MADISON - President Barack Obama is stepping up pressure on states that have refused to expand Medicaid eligibility.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has released a report saying expansion here would mean health coverage for an additional 120,000 people in 2016. The report says expansion would lead to 11,200 new jobs by 2017 and result in nearly $2.6 billion in additional federal spending in Wisconsin.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has rejected any federal money to expand Medicaid and restricted coverage to those whose earnings are at or below the poverty level. He has expanded coverage to childless adults who had been on a waiting list, however.

Walker's spokeswoman called the report wrong. She says more than 80,000 childless adults now have coverage under the governor's changes.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department wants you to stay safe, especially when it comes to fires.

There is a difference between campfires and bonfires.

Campfires are small fires used for cooking and heating, not the kind of fire you need to stand back from because it's so hot.

Always remember to fully put out fires before you leave.

And watch kids when they're near the fire.

"When you're making those fires, they're keeping an eye on how you're doing it. So once in a while they like to try to do it themselves," says firefighter Jon Leiskau.

Wildland fire season is about to wrap up, but you still need to pay attention to burning restrictions.

"Anything bigger than a campfire size: fire with a fire permit, and there is no open burning in the city limits," says firefighter Rick Sparks.

Fire danger signs are changed every day according to the weather conditions.

You can also visit the DNR website for updates.

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MEDFORD - The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Virginia Tech University, and Sandy Hook School in Connecticut all stir memories of deep fear and sorrow.

Mass shootings can happen anywhere, at any time.

In rural areas like northern Wisconsin, county courthouses could be prime targets. Taylor County trained for that possibility this week with an active-shooter simulation.

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RHINELANDER - Most people stop by Rhinelander's chamber of commerce to get their picture taken with the giant hodag out front. Visitors to the chamber can also stock up on Rhinelander trinkets and gear.

Now, the chamber has decided to downsize its store in order to let someone else set up shop. 

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- A Nicolet College club provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and allies to socialize and discuss personal issues related to gender and sexual orientation.

However, outside of the campus, there is no supportive group in the Northwoods. Now, the Rainbow Hodags Club is helping to get a community LGBT group started. Club member Don Schindhelm says he wishes a club like this existed years ago.

"I really felt like I didn't know anyone else who was gay or lesbian. It was frowned upon, so I suppressed it for most of my life. That's why I struggled with it for so many years," said Schindhelm.

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MINOCQUA - In 2006, more than 40,000 pets died in fires due to smoke inhalation. 

That number has gone down, in large part thanks to oxygen masks designed for animals. 

The Minocqua Fire Department got its own set of pet oxygen masks Tuesday, courtesy of Invisible Fence of Northern Wisconsin.

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EAGLE RIVER - A lot of things need to go right to build a 40,000 square foot addition in just one year.  Workers in Vilas County used a fairly mild winter to their advantage to work toward that goal.

Construction on the county courthouse's addition is both on budget and essentially on time.  Crews have the drywall up on the second floor and are working to do the same on the first floor soon.  Vilas County Clerk Dave Alleman says a rainy spring held some masonry work up, but it's nothing crews can't handle to stay on track.

"Very well disciplined," Alleman said of the workers.  "They're working every day, things are being done on time. I think overall that makes for a good project."

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TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins takes pride in his department's connection to the community. 

And many members of the community clearly feel the same way.

Augie's Collectibles owner Richard "Augie" Augustine donated eight ballistic helmets and a shield to the Tomahawk Police Department.

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