Cold snap continues
3:04 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Don't Forget Pets And Your Safety In The Bitter Cold

Even the Iditarod dogs are protected

The cold snap can cause problems for not only humans but pets and a Division of Emergency Management spokesperson says just because they have fur doesn't mean they're cold-proof.

Tod Pritchard says there are a few things to remember....

"....dogs and cats can get frostbitten ears, and nose and of course their paws are especially vulnerable to not only the cold but to other things like salt we put down on our sidewalk, and to anti-freeze which people know is very deadly to pets and that sometimes can leak out...."

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E-cigs not F.D.A. approved to end smoking
9:52 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Bill Would Make E-Cigarettes Legal In Bars, Restaurants

E-cigarette designed to look like a filtered tobacco cigarette

A bill in the Wisconsin Senate would update the language in Wisconsin's statewide smoking ban to make electronic cigarettes legal in public places. An e-cigarette is a device operated by a battery where the user inhales a water vapor. The user also inhales nicotine in the draw. The devices don't have the restrictions of tobacco cigarettes, which are banned in public places.

Oneida County Public Health Tobacco Coordinator Niki Kostrova says the feds have not yet approved them as a smoking cessation device....


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Source of Crime
10:00 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Prescription Drug Abuse on the Rise

Unused and outdated prescriptions are the source for significant drug abuse.
Credit Bradley P Johnson

The Vilas County Sheriff says drug abuse continue to be a growing problem in the area.  Sheriff Joe Fath says the department works closely with Lac du Flambeau tribal police in its investigations. 

“Prescription medication, synthetic THC, heroin, those are the three big ones that we see affecting our communities.” 

Lac du Flambeau tribal leaders declared a state of emergency last spring to address a growing drug problem on the reservation. 

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More money but contracts to change
1:11 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Mental Health Contracts Based On Performance Possible

Human Service Center office in Rhinelander

A consultant has been hired to help the three-county Human Service Center develop outcome-based contracts for local counseling providers.

Board President Bill Korrer said Center staff contacted the three partner counties about getting a pay hike for providers, something Korrer says hadn't been done for a long time...


"....we've had the rates frozen for a number of years now, and a lot of the smaller providers haven't had the luxury of a rate increase...."

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Needs federal approval
5:02 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Walker Says He Has Option to Obamacare

Gov. Walker last week at Nicolet College in Rhinelander
Credit Ken Krall-WXPR

Wisconsin could be offering a health care option that is outside the realm of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare.

During a stop in Rhinelander last week, Governor Scott Walker said he's been talking to the federal government to have Wisconsin residents get another option outside of the Affordable Care Act protocols.....


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Online Health Exchange Improves
4:00 am
Sun December 22, 2013

As First ACA Deadline Looms, Application Assistants Lend A Hand

With the federal online health exchange working better, more people are signing up.
Credit Will Brady

Monday is the deadline to pick a plan on the federal health exchange, if you want your coverage to start January 1st.  Most insurance companies are extending the deadline to pay for that coverage…until January 10th. 

Meanwhile healthcare groups in the Northwoods are seeing an uptick in the number of people asking for help signing up via the exchange.

Myra Kubesh is a certified application assistant at Langlade Hospital.  She says many people have questions about whether they qualify for a subsidy...and what kinds of coverage different plans offer. 

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Looking for Volunteers, Donations
2:56 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Food Pantry Says Holidays Are Peak Time

Canned food donations are good, says the Rhinelander Area Food Pantry, but monetary ones go further.
Credit Salvation Army USA West

Grocery stores and shopping centers aren’t the only places seeing heavy traffic this time of year. 

Rhinelander Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen says demand goes up during the holidays.

“Our business increases – we have a lot of people that come in, when they wouldn’t come in other times of the year, because they’re preparing for holidays, company and so on.  And money’s always a little short at this time of the year.” 

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A Look At Insurance Premiums
4:47 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Rhinelander Healthcare Costs Rank Average Statewide

Rhinelander health care premiums are falling somewhere in the middle as compared to the rest of the state.  That’s according to a new report from progressive group Citizen Action of Wisconsin.  It compares health insurance rates in different regions statewide.

It finds Madison tends to rank lowest, while the highest premiums are found in the Milwaukee area and in far Northwestern Wisconsin. 

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A third of the students sick
9:44 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Second RSD School Closes Due To High Absenteeism

A virus

Rhinelander School District's Pelican and Crescent elementary schools are closed today after large numbers of students went home sick this week. The school district closed the schools on the recommendation of the county health department.

The high absenteeism is attributed to gastrointestinal and upper respiratory problems.

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Signing Up Can Be Challenging
11:27 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Health Exchange Gains Momentum, and Critics

The Mercer Library held an info session last week to help answer questions about the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

More people are signing up for health insurance through the federal health exchange, now that some of the website’s bugs have been fixed.  But not everyone’s finding it easy…or affordable. 

Alicia Cook is a certified application assistant at Aspirus Grandview in Ironwood, Michigan.  That means she helps people in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula sign up for health insurance. She says two months into the open enrollment period, people are just starting to come to her for help. 

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