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NEWS STORIES

Local Company Flooded With Hurricane Sandy Insurance ClaimsSubmitted: 11/08/2012
Story By Matt Doyle

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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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Vilas Co. Salvation Army could still use some toys for Northwoods kidsSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - You can help families in need give their kids a special Christmas Day.

The Vilas County Salvation Army is still looking for toys to give to families that need some help this holiday season.

"It's always the 8 to 12-year-olds for boys and for girls. So LEGOs, definitely, are a big hit, action figures. For the girls, you know, arts and crafts kind of things, hair dryers, curling irons, any of those kinds of things," said Vilas County Salvation Army Volunteer Kathy Holtorp.

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Eagle River Groomers prepare to groom snowmobile trails again Submitted: 12/19/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Snow groomers in Eagle River spend a lot of time on trails. They make sure they're perfect for snowmobilers, but it takes a lot of time and money to make that happen.

"See how flat it is? With these machines that's what we do to get it flattened out. And it does a good job," said Sno-Eagles Trail Boss Tom Tomlanovich.

You can tell Tom Tomlanovich loves his job.

"See how the trail is up here now?" Tomlanovich said.

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Camp 10 Ski and Snowboard looking for new Ski Patrol membersSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - When it comes to safety on the slopes- you can turn to the National Ski Patrol.

They're on hundreds of ski hills across the country.

Camp 10 in Rhinelander is one of those hills.

The patrol wants you to consider joining.

The ski patrol dedicates its time to keeping skiers safe.

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Leadership Oneida Co. candidates to provide help, new ideas for local non-profitsSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods non-profits may struggle to find volunteers, funding, and to stay afloat. A group of people in Oneida County wants to get more involved.

Leadership Oneida County pairs those groups with those people. On Thursday, those groups met to start working towards a common goal.

"We were very pleased to have the group help us and we're anticipating great results again," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen.

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Truck supply causing challenges getting wood to mills, upfront costs & recession could explain supplySubmitted: 12/19/2014

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LAONA - Northwoods loggers describe business right now as great. KLP Logging and Trucking Owner Kevin Kramer says it's a golden time to get into the business. The Laona business owner says timber prices are high, so is demand, but he's facing issues getting logs to the mills.

Some loggers can't find enough trucks to get their logs from the Northwoods to paper mills. Kramer would love more trucks in the area.

He believes it started in the early 2000s. Kramer says a number of trucks went to the southern U.S. to cash in, and clean up hurricane damage. He says many didn't return.

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Students experience spirit of giving at Santa's WorkshopSubmitted: 12/19/2014

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SUGAR CAMP - One Christmas tradition in Sugar Camp teaches children something very special.

Santa's Workshop helps kids experience what it means to give to others.

Parents and teachers put on the event at Sugar Camp Elementary School every year.

Children in pre-k through 6 grade write out a Christmas shopping list for their family.

They picked out their gifts on Friday.

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Wisconsin may see the fewest number of traffic deaths since World War IISubmitted: 12/19/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin may see the fewest number of traffic deaths since World War II.

Traffic fatalities continue to decline across Wisconsin.

As of Wednesday, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Data showed there have been 480 road deaths so far this year.

That's compared to 527 in 2013.

The director of the transportation department's bureau of safety hopes there will be less than 500 fatalities by the end of the year.

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