RHINELANDER - A seemingly endless winter made for a tough year on utility bills. Some people are behind on payments and that could mean your provider shuts off services starting this week.
The latest scam is taking advantage of customers who find themselves stuck in that position.
Wisconsin Public Service customers say someone will call claiming to be from the company. They'll request money for unpaid accounts, claiming services will be shut down if you don't pay.
The scammer will suggest you buy a prepaid debit card or arrange for a cash pickup. WPS Community Relations Leader Leah Van Zile says those should be warning signs.
"They would not be offended at all if somebody says, 'You know, I'm not sure about this, I'm going to call back in,'" Van Zile said. "It's just a part of safety nowadays in the world that we operate."
What about if you actually are behind on your bill? Van Zile says there are still options to keep your lights and heat going.
All it takes is a phone call or a click.
"There may still be some dollars available for energy assistance, so if some of those folks haven't taken advantage of that program and they are income eligible, we really encourage them to contact the social services office for their county and see if there's some crisis dollars available," Van Zile said.
If you do think a scammer has called you, make sure to write down as much information about the caller as possible.
That includes the date and time, phone number and any description of the caller you can gather.
We have a link to the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program below.
MERRILL - Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill doesn't have room for any more kindergarten students next year.
Its class is already full, partly because some families can send their kids to Trinity for free.
For the third straight year, Trinity will participate in Wisconsin's private school choice program.
This year, the state pays tuition for about 30 of Trinity's 120 total students.
"Parents like the Christian base, obviously. That's the main reason people send [their kids] here," said School Administrator Kathy Yahr. "They're keeping them here more now because of the opportunities that we offer."
HAYWARD - Trail conditions for this year's American Birkebeiner race will be just about perfect.
Executive Director Ben Popp said there's about a six inch base, three inches of snow on top, and more snow on the way in the Hayward area.
"The energy right now is just unreal. You can feel it here in Hayward and Cable and certainly around the world. Now with a gold medal, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, brings more excitement to not only this event, but the sport. So it's a really great time to be a cross country skier," said Popp.
WAUSAU - Police arrested a Florence County man in connection to a Wausau homicide case this week. Online court records show Lee Franck, 56 doesn't face homicide charges, but instead domestic abuse counts.
According to the Wausau Pilot and Review paper, the criminal complaint shows Franck got into an argument with Lyle Leith a few days before the 77-year-old was found dead at his Wausau home on Kickbusch Street.
NORTHWOODS - Lakes and nature bring people from all over the country to the Northwoods during the summer. Those same attractions get some people to stay here. Home sales and home prices in the Northwoods went up in 2017.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association reports about 1,300 more homes sold last year than in 2016 in Wisconsin. A local broker saw the increase firsthand.
"The markets that are going crazy right now are premium homes. The Minocqua chain is red hot, the Eagle River chain is pretty hot the Three Lakes chain is pretty hot and there are some chains of lakes that are less hot," said Coldwell Banker broker Jim Mulleady.
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