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NEWS STORIES

State Supreme Court Rules Against Local Homeowner in Bat Infestation ClaimSubmitted: 03/07/2012
Story By Kailey Burton

LAKE TOMAHAWK - A batty situation for a well-known lawyer has set a new precedent for home insurance coverage.

Attorney Joel Hirschhorn assumed a bat infestation, and all the droppings they left behind in his in his Lake Tomahawk cabin, would be a covered loss under his policy.

Turns out, that's not the case.

"It was pretty pungent. I mean when you walked in you knew, at high noon, that there was a smell. Something -Not the kind of thing you'd want to bring people over," says attorney Joel Hirschhorn.

Hirschhorn argued before the state supreme court that his policy covered rebuilding the soiled house.

But yesterday the court sided with the insurance company, reversing an appeals court decision.

The court ruled that bat guano fell under an exclusion to his policy.

So what does that mean for homeowners in the Northwoods?

"You gotta read the real small print that says 'uh oh, if this happens or that happens, we're not going to cover you," says Hirschhorn.

Local insurance agent Don Strupp tells us homeowners can pick a policy that covers just the basics, or they can opt for a "nearly" all-inclusive Form 3 policy.

"Basically on those policy forms they cover whatever happens to the property EXCEPT, [the named exceptions]and that's where you can read those certain exceptions," says Strupp.

Both Hirschhorn and Strupp agree that it all comes down to the print in your policy, and making sure your policy covers what you think it does.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Early Halloween celebrationsSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - Halloween won't be here until next week but the celebration has already begun in the Northwoods.

Hundreds of kids took over the streets of Rhinelander Saturday. They all had one goal in mind...candy!

For many of the kids, this was the second time they've gone trick or treating. Hundreds of people got candy at the YMCA's Not So Scary Halloween Trail.

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Movie makers use Newswatch 12 studioSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - You can expect to see Newswatch 12's studio on the big screen in the future. Movie makers from Madison used our set for a scene in their low budget indi film.

Barking Shadow Productions company has been shooting a movie called Tesla Factor in Rhinelander. It's based on corporate and political dirty deeds.

We don't want to give too much away, but our set was used for a broadcast informing viewers about a company doing illegal things.

The company hopes to have the movie featured on Netflix.

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Second year of pumpkin display in RhinelanderSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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RHINELANDER - Rhinelander continued a Halloween tradition a week before the special day.

You could see pumpkins lined up in front of Trigs Saturday night. This is the second year Downtown Rhinelander Inc. held the pumpkin sighting.

They didn't have as many pumpkins as they did last year, but people still had the chance to judge which pumpkin had the best carving.

"We just wanted something that would be pizazz when people drove by or walked around. They would see all these lit pumpkins," said Downtown Rhinelander Inc. member/Sandy Bus, Joan Belongia.

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Pet Expo brings in dogs and ownersSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Plenty of dogs and their owners took over a well known place in Eagle River Saturday.

More than 25 vendors filled the Eagle River Derby Track.

This is the first time WRJO of Eagle River held the Pet Expo. They wanted people to get good information about grooming, veterinarian services, dog treats and other aspects they might not have known about.

"The veterinarians and some of them are doing essentials oils that are good for their skin. There's dog nutrition," said WRJO Account Executive, Trish Keeley. "There's when they need to get shots; when they should be worried about ticks, flees and spay and neuter. All that type of information."

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Wisconsin insurers signing up same-sex couplesSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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MILWAUKEE - Several Wisconsin insurance companies are holding special sign-ups so same-sex couples can add spouses to their health plans.

The special enrollment period is needed because gays and lesbians who got married this summer were unable to add spouses to their coverage amid the uncertainty surrounding the legal status of their marriages.

People generally can make changes to a health plan during the year only after a ``life-changing'' event, such as a marriage, divorce, or birth or adoption of a child.

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Teen building sugar shack to help school's science department, become Eagle ScoutSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods teen will build a sugar shack for his high school's science department. Will Starke put up the framework for the shack Saturday.

Starke is a boy scout with troop 601 of Eagle River. He wants to build the shack for his Eagle Project.

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Wisconsin sex offenders must stay home HalloweenSubmitted: 10/25/2014

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MADISON - Police are teaming up with parole agents across Wisconsin to make sure sex offenders stay home on Halloween night.

All of Wisconsin's 5,000 registered sex offenders under active community supervision are subject to special restrictions on Halloween.

Grace Roberts, who heads the Department of Corrections sex offender program, says they began actively enforcing the rules under the Halloween Knock and Talk program about eight years ago.

Offenders are barred from putting up Halloween decorations that might attract children to knock on their doors.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke says his officers will be out both this weekend and next reminding registrants they're being watched.

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