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WPS Alerts Customers to a Utility Phone Call ScamSubmitted: 03/01/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer


ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Your phone rings with a call. On the other end the caller says your power will be shut down if you don't pay within the hour. The callers ask for either cash or a prepaid credit card number.

It's a growing trend that one utility company wants you to be aware. Wisconsin Public Service says people have been calling customers pretending to be the utility company.

"First of all, we're not disconnecting any residential or small commercial accounts during this time because of the winter martourium. And then secondly, we never ask for a prepaid debit card for payment," says Leah Van Zile, Community Relations Director.

For customers that are late on payments, the call can be decieving. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure the call isn't a scam.

"Any time you get a call like that, and it seems suspicious, you can take down the callers information. A lot of times, at that time, they will hang up because they don't want to give out any information," says Van Zile.

If information is given, ask to call back after double checking with the power company to verify. And if you do catch a scam, notify your utility company.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/02/2016

- Until now, Price County has never had any type of public transportation.  Park Falls hasn't even had a taxi service in years.  That all changed in April with a new bus.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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EAGLE RIVER - Riding through forests and past scenic lakes make the Northwoods one of the best places to go ATVing.

Routes opened for the season at 8 a.m. Sunday in Vilas County.

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ADAMS COUNTY - Update-We now know the names of two men who died in a two car crash near the Wisconsin Dells over the weekend.

The Wisconsin State Patrol tells us 65 year old Timothy Helm and his passenger, 72 year old Frances Chowaniec died at the scene of the crash.

Both men were from Oxford.

24 year old Kolton Coon of Wisconsin Dells was the second driver.

He was taken to a hospital and expected to survive.

The crash happened Saturday afternoon around 2:00 on County Road B north of state highway 23 in Adams County.

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating.





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MERRILL - Grass fires forced a road in Lincoln County to be shut down for a while yesterday.

The first fire was reported at 11:30 yesterday morning in the Merrill area near the exit for US 51 near County K.

As fire crews were arriving, additional calls came in reporting fires near County Road C.

A short time later, another fire was reported north of County Road S.

That fire got into heavier brush, and parts of the road had to be shut down.

It took firefighters nearly an hour to put out the flames and check for hot spots.

The cause of the fires is not known yet.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - You often see tomatoes growing in gardens across the Northwoods, but making sure tomato plants stay healthy is difficult here in Wisconsin because of tomato blight.

In Wisconsin, tomato plants often get a disease called tomato blight. It can come early or late in the season.

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NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.

They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.

But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.

And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.

That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.

It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.

"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate. 

Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday. 

You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.

All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.

That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.

"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."

If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.


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MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.

Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.

Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.

"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."

On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.

Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.

The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.

"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."

Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer. 


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