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NEWS STORIES

Low Income Heating Assistance is Still AvailableSubmitted: 03/08/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer


EAGLE RIVER - Home heating costs can add up over the winter. But it's not too late to get some help paying off that bill.

Wisconsin Public Service wants to remind customers you can still receive assistance for bill paying. One of the places you can go for help is the your county Social Services office.

"We do an interactive interview process here at the office. At the beginning of the year, we do a lot of short forms, which are for fixed income people," says Linda Small, Vilas County WHEAP Coordinator.

Assistance for heating is run through the federal government and electric assistance comes from the state through Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). While you can call in for assistance at any time of the year, it is important to apply early.

"A lot of people are calling now because they have fallen behind in the winter. Once there's a moratorium on with your class A utilities they can't be disconnected but come April 15, they can be disconnected," says Linda Small.

The Social Services office will also help create budget plans to help you avoid needing assistance next year.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

EAGLE RIVER - A fire in Eagle River severely damaged a garage on McKinley Boulevard early Sunday morning.

The Eagle River Fire Department said the fire started in the garage just after midnight Sunday morning.

15 firemen were on the scene for about two hours. Three children and two adults were in the house when the fire started.

The fire department says someone going by the house went in to wake them up and called 911. The fire went partially into the attic and house.

The garage and everything in it were completely destroyed. No one was hurt from the fire. 

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MADISON - A Wisconsin prison guard has served a one-day suspension for a joke on Facebook about President Barack Obama and lynching.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1H0kn2U ) that Collin Visser posted in December a photo of Christmas tree ornaments depicting Obama and the text: "Look guys. Obama Christmas ornaments. Suddenly it's legal to hang a black man from a tree again!"

Visser has worked at the Dodge County Correctional Institution in Waupun since April 2014. The newspaper obtained documents revealing his punishment months after requesting them under the state's open records law.

Warden Marc Clements told Visser in January he'd be suspended for one day and required to attend diversity training for what the warden called a "serious act of misconduct."

Visser did not immediately return a call seeking comment Sunday.

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RHINELANDER - Fourth of July and fireworks go hand in hand.

It's been a while since Independence Day fell on a Saturday.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Parades and marching bands go hand in hand, but Boulder Junction has gone without a band in their Fourth of July parade for more than 20 years. One marching band, though, is changing that tradition.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Approximately 15,000 people came out to support the Boulder Junction Volunteer Fire Department Saturday as it held its 25th annual chicken barbecue fundraiser.

All the money raised during the barbecue will help the department pay for equipment upgrades and training.

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WAUSAU - A crash in Wausau left one man injured after a van collided with his motorcycle Friday night.

The Wausau Police Department got a call about a southbound crash around 9:00 p.m. on Grand Avenue near Ruder Street.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he and GOP legislative leaders have agreed to completely remove a part of the proposed state budget that would severely roll back the state's open records laws.

Walker announced the decision in a joint statement Saturday with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and the co-chairs of the joint budget committee.

The statement says the records proposal "will be removed from the budget in its entirety." They say the plan "was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way."

The restrictions, which Republicans slipped into the proposed budget late Thursday, would exempt nearly everything created by government officials from Wisconsin's open records law.

The statement says the Legislature will form a committee to study the issue and allow for public discussion.

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