NEWS STORIES

Local Company Flooded With Hurricane Sandy Insurance ClaimsSubmitted: 11/08/2012

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MERRILL - A Northwoods company finds itself hit hard with claims from the East Coast.

Church Mutual Insurance in Merrill is handling 530 claims between New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The company insures around 98,000 churches nationwide.

Nearly 10,000 of those are in those three states.

Brian Arndorfer is the Vice President of Claims.

He says claims started coming in right away, but understands churches aren't always top priority.

"You have people that are out of their own homes and in flooded situations, they have to be concerned about their personal well-being and safety first," Arndorfer said.

"Secondly, their homes, so third in line might be the Church property. So they're less likely to report that first. There will naturally be a delay in reporting church losses at the time of a tragedy such as this."

Church Mutual has 100 adjusters out in the field assessing damage.

One of the biggest challenges is getting to the damaged areas.

He says insuring churches is a niche business.

"We do have art objects, priceless or near priceless stained glass windows," Arndorfer said.

"It's a specialty in knowing how to deal with a claim of that nature. In fact we know of one situation in New York where the stained glass windows have been blown out in the storm and there's water damage into the building."

Most claims should be completed over the next few months, but some could take up to a year or longer.

Story By: Matt Doyle

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Fire does $1.5 million in damage in Marathon CountySubmitted: 04/18/2014

EDGAR - Fire did $1.5 million dollars in damage at a Marathon County Highway Department garage overnight.

Someone driving by shortly before three this morning saw smoke coming from the building along State Highway 97 near Edgar.

One of the garages was on fire at the Marathon County Highway Department's location in the town of Wien.

Firefighters from Edgar and Stratford rushed to the scene.

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Man charged with attempted homicide could get all charges dismissedSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man will get a second chance after shooting his uncle.

At first, prosecutors charged 24-year-old Marcus Alsteens with attempted murder, but he might end up with a clean record.

Alsteens led police on a car chase through Oneida County in 2013 before being caught near Eagle River. That was after shooting his uncle at a Mason Street home in Rhinelander.

Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek initially charged him with attempted homicide, battery and two other charges.

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Street to be named after Rhinelander soldier killed in AfghanistanSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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RHINELANDER - Enemy forces killed Rhinelander's Ryan Adams in Afghanistan five years ago.

Now, the Northwoods community will name a street in his honor.

Adams was a graduate of Rhinelander High School.

He served in the Rhinelander-based 951st Sapper Company of the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

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LP conversion of sheriff's cars nears completionSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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VILAS COUNTY - As many as 20 Vilas County Sheriff's patrol cars now run on both liquid propane and gasoline.

That could save the department more than $295,000 over the next 5 years.

The department started converting the cars last November.

A company in Michigan installed 20-gallon propane tanks in the trunks of the cars.

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Record breaking snowfall knocks the power out Submitted: 04/17/2014

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RHINELANDER - Our record breaking snow storm left more than 6,000 people across the Northwoods without power.

WPS had to rely on 20 extra crews from Green Bay, Wausau and Menominee to restore power.

But getting to the outages was a challenge.

A representative for WPS says workers are expecting even more outages to be reported.

"Not all of the back roads are plowed yet and that's where a lot of outages are located," said Leah Van Zile, WPS Community Relations leader. "Throughout the day as the temperatures warm, we expect to receive additional calls due to the unloading of snow off of the tree branches."

Eagle River had one of the highest number of customers affected by the outages.

Representatives for WPS say this was one of the hardest winters they've had to deal with.

"We've had some really, really severe wind chills which has really made the temperatures below zero. Typically, only in emergencies do we work in those conditions," said Van Zile. "But pretty much any other time, whether it's a rain storm, a snow storm, a wind storm, our guys are out there working, getting that power back on."

The number of outages dropped below 4,000 since earlier today.

If you're still without power to call 1800-450-7240.

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Man accused of killing blind wife because she was nagging himSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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MILWAUKEE - A 76-year-old Milwaukee County man has told investigators he shot his blind wife of 56 years because she'd been nagging him for three weeks.

Prosecutors charged Jack Lang of Oak Creek with first-degree intentional homicide Thursday.

Authorities say Lang called 911 on Wednesday to say he'd just shot his wife in the face. Police found June Lang dead near the bed.

Jack Lang told investigators she nagged him and wouldn't shut up, and even though he loved her he'd had enough. He says she criticized him for not being able to help as much with housework.

He says he got his .22 caliber gun and warned her he was holding it inches from her head but she didn't believe him.

Online court records didn't immediately list a defense attorney.

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Vandals, thieves sack old Sacred Heart Hospital building in TomahawkSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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TOMAHAWK - The old Sacred Heart Hospital building in Tomahawk will be knocked down soon.

Milestone Senior Living will build a new home for seniors on the site.

The old building has been vacant since 2003.

But now, the vandalism and theft in the old hospital has gotten so bad, people there call the situation "disgusting" and "disappointing".

Ernie Winker did plenty of carpentry work inside the hospital.

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