- As the mercury continues a downward trend in the Northwoods, many of you might turn to the thermostat for comfort.
But if you have trouble footing the bill in this tough economy, energy assistance may be an option.
Home Energy Plus provides a benefit to eligible households throughout the October 1st to May 15th heating season.
The social services department in Oneida County handles applications and disbursement of benefits for heating assistance.
Amy Mayo is the Support Program Supervisor, "If somebody is financially eligible, they will receive the benefit. I know people are anxious to apply right away when the program starts in October, but it is not a first come, first served. If you're eligible, you will receive that benefit. We process the applications within 30 days."
It doesn't matter how you heat your home, as long as you're eligible the Home Energy Plus program helps cover some of the costs says Mayo, "So if you have just electric heat or propane heat, it would be based on what your heating source is. We also look at what your heating bills are and your usage. There's only so much we can pay towards your usage, but that factors into the benefit as well."
For a 1-person household you should earn less than $24,282 annually to be considered for this benefit.
Applications are available by contacting your county social services departments and you will also need to provide proof of income.
Eight Years Prison Time for Sexually Assaulting a Child
RHINELANDER - A man from Rhinelander will spend the next eight years in prison for sexually assaulting a very young child.
The details of the case are so graphic and so disturbing, we can't put them on television.
What we can show you is edited to protect the victim's identity.
Forty five-year-old Jack Kaufman faced up to 40 years in prison. He insisted to the very end, that what he did was an accident, not sexual assault.
Prosecutors said today Kaufman gave so many versions of the story, they couldn't keep track of them all. One version was that the child walked in on him while masturbating. Then he said he accidentally ejaculated on the child. Although in some interviews, he said it was on purpose.
But the child described a full sexual assault to police, and said it happened, "lots of times".
"Mr. Kaufman provided many versions of his assault of (the victim). When confronted with the overwhelming discrepancies he said (the victim) was telling the truth. But at no time did he say he was sorry. He did say he wished his family wouldn't have reported," says Scott Moller, Oneida County Assistant District Attorney.
Kaufman told investigators he had no interest in sexual activity with anyone, child or adult. Judge Michael Bloom didn't accept that.
"That did not stop him from taking advantage of the presence of a warm, living, breathing person who happened to be nearby when he was engaged in this activity," says Judge Bloom.
Judge Bloom sentenced Kaufman to 14 years prison. He'll spend the first eight behind bars, and the remaining six on extended supervision.
RHINELANDER - Rhinelander kindergartener Carlie Jahn watched her dad leave for his third overseas tour of duty last fall.
Usually, she gets to see him for two-weeks during his nine-month tour. But there was no leave for Guardsmen Justin Jahn this year. He will be in Afghanistan until July.
Instead of too much sadness, Carlie's mom is helping her by sharing at school.
"Once that time came through, it was hard for her to understand why he wasn't coming home. I thought this would be a fun way to have her realize that she's not the only one, that there's others out there," says Amanda Jahn.
Jahn talked with grade schoolers at Crescent Elementary today about living with a family member in the military.
Students also recognized veterans and active soldiers related to them.
ANTIGO - Despite having to poke her fingers, and inject insulin throughout the day, 7 year old Meredith smiles all the time. Now YOU can make her smile even brighter.
This is the race car Meredith Meidl designed for Ford's "Real Heroes Contest" benefitting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. Meredith knows a lot about diabetes. She's had the disease since she was 2.
"I just (clicks) and then I push it on my finger and I squeeze my finger and then I put my blood into the strip and it reads my blood," said Meredith demonstrating how she tests her blood sugar.
RHINELANDER - You might remember the name Shannon Wolf. He chased his wife down, stabbed and choked her by the Hodag statue in Rhinelander last February. He'll now spend the next twelve years in prison.
Today Latoya Wolf testified she was partly to blame for what happened. She told the court Shannon Wolf was trying to cut his own wrists. But she got in the way and was cut in the struggle for the knife.
Prosecutors said the violent encounter and the victim's backtracking was a classic example of the domestic abuse cycle.
"I believe that there are significant pressures on Mrs. Wolf," says Assistant District Attorney Scott Moller.
Moller presented Wolf's extensive criminal history. He said there's also a documented history of domestic abuse.
Moller asked Judge Patrick O'Melia to sentence Wolf to 30 years.
Judge O'Melia said he believes this case is one of classic domestic abuse.
He sentenced Wolf to 24 years. He'll spend 12 in prison and 12 years extended supervision.
Wolf is not allowed to have any contact with his wife. He's also not eligible for early release or boot camp.
RHINELANDER - You don't need to get a library card to check out a book theses days. Boxes that look like bird houses are popping up all over.
They're called Little Free Libraries. Anyone can stop by to take or give a book. It's all based on the honor system. Maureen O'Melia put her's up at home last night across from Pioneer Park.
"I contacted Ed Hughes from the library. He was excited about the idea as well and he, a week later, says I built you one Maureen. But I had to stain it and get it ready for the outdoors," says Maureen O'Melia, who built a Little Free Library.
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