SHAWANO, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin dairy farmer Kevin Ainsworth rushed to the emergency room in 1992, when he sliced off the tip of his finger. Other than a quick trip in 2010 when a test during a blood donation raised a false alarm about hepatitis C, that was his last visit to a doctor.
His father jokingly hassles him about needing a prostate exam now that he's past 50, but Ainsworth shrugs that off. With a $5,000 deductible on his health insurance policy and a never-ending slate of chores, he's not eager to spend time or money on medical care that isn't absolutely necessary.
Ainsworth is a typical dairy farmer, more likely than most Americans to go without health insurance or buy his own policy. For years, he has received basic care from a unique community program that sends a nurse to farms to check farmers' blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels and screen them for health risks. Farmers with signs of serious problems are referred to a doctor or clinic.
Agriculture and health care advocacy groups had hoped the new federal health care law would improve farmers' situation by allowing them to buy affordable policies that cover preventive care and have lower deductibles. No savings are to be had, say farmers who've been shopping for insurance and believe they'll end up with plans similar to their current ones.
That's why the Rural Health Initiative remains valuable.
"I would say most farmers, in general, if it's not a lost limb or something crushed, they're probably not going to go to the doctor. If you've got a virus, it's going to wear off," said Jay Vomastic, another dairy farmer who lives minutes from Ainsworth in central Wisconsin's Shawano County.
Most dairy farms in Shawano County are generations-old and small enough to be run by a family, perhaps with one or two workers. Farmers can easily spend eight hours or more on their feet, but increased mechanization has made them less active than previous generations. Add to that a diet traditionally heavy in milk, cheese and beef, which presents cholesterol and other risks.
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Holiday travelers are expected to meet snow-covered roads and reduced visibility in Wisconsin this weekend.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for much of the state, predicting 4 to 8 inches of snow Saturday night and Sunday.
"Eventually, everyone will see it," said senior forecaster Bob McMahon, with the National Weather Service in Sullivan.
The heaviest snow will fall in southern and eastern Wisconsin, with precipitation getting lighter toward the far northwest part of the state, he said.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation sent out a severe weather alert, reminding motorists to plan on potentially dangerous road conditions this weekend.
The snow will cover freezing rain that fell most of Friday in southern Wisconsin, with some places getting a tenth of an inch of ice accumulation. Some schools were closed, and the freezing rain created a glaze of ice on roads.
Some cities declared states of emergency Saturday, including Beloit, to keep people from parking on the streets. Several churches in Milwaukee, Waukesha and Dodge counties also announced they were canceling Sunday morning services.
PORTAGE, Wis. (AP) - The widower of a Wisconsin woman killed in 1980 waited too long to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the convicted killer, according to a court of appeals.
The 4th District Court of Appeals issued a written decision Thursday, agreeing with Columbia County Circuit Court Judge W. Andrew Voigt. He decided in February that the wrongful death lawsuit was filed four months after the two-year deadline of the statute of limitations, according to the Portage Daily Register (http://bit.ly/1fvypgFhttp://bit.ly/1fvypgF ).
Randolph resident Curtis Forbes, who is now 56, was convicted in 2010 of killing 18-year-old Marilyn McIntyre in Columbus. Her husband found her body when he returned from working an overnight shift on March 11, 1980. The couple's 3-month-old baby was in a crib.
Forbes was charged in March 2009 after advances in DNA technology revived the investigation.
McIntyre's husband, Lane McIntyre, and their son, Christopher McIntyre, filed the lawsuit in July 2011.
The law requires that wrongful death cases be filed within two years of the date when it is known to a reasonable probability the identity of the person alleged to have committed the murder.
Just when that date begins in McIntyre's death was the issue up for debate.
CHICAGO (AP) - A storm with a 2,000-mile footprint threatened to frustrate Christmas travelers from Texas to Nova Scotia with a little of everything Mother Nature has to offer, from freezing rain, ice and snow to flooding, thunderstorms and possibly some tornadoes in the South.
Some of the millions of people hitting the roads and airports Saturday squeaked through before any major weather hit, but as the afternoon wore on some cancellations and delays started to mount at major aviation hubs. Forecasters said roads that are passable one minute could become treacherous the next as a cold blast on the backend of the storm turns rain to ice and snow.
Making it harder for forecasters to stay a step ahead, the system was a weird swirl of wintry and spring-like weather as it passed over areas in the Midwest with freezing temperatures and places like Memphis, Tenn., where temperatures surpassed 70 degrees on Saturday.
"This is a particularly strong storm with very warm, near record-breaking temperatures in the East and very cold air in the Midwest, and that contrast is the sort of conditions that are favorable for not only winter weather but also tornadoes," said National Weather Service meteorologist Ed Danaher in College Park, Md.
The worst of the storm was expected to hit Midwest population centers Saturday night, giving some travelers a window at the start of the holiday rush to get through airports and along highways with little disruption. About 350 flights had been cancelled, nationwide, as of 5 p.m. EST, according to aviation tracking website FlightAware.com. Most of the disruptions were affecting flights in and out of major hubs like O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, though the weather there was not yet nasty.
Other major airports being affected Saturday afternoon included Dallas/Fort Worth International and Denver International.
It's bad timing for the estimated 94.5 million Americans planning to travel by road or air during this holiday season, which runs from Saturday through New Year's Day, and those hitting the roads for some last-minute shopping.