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NEWS STORIES

Utility bills scam hitting customers who might be behind on paymentsSubmitted: 04/16/2013
Story By Lane Kimble

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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.

Related Weblinks:
Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Prentice teacher organizes bike drive for developing countriesSubmitted: 09/22/2014

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PRENTICE - Quan Banh hates to see bicycles go to waste.

The Prentice High School science teacher saw too many bikes used for scrap metal in Price County.

Banh thought those bikes could be fixed up a little and sent to developing countries.

He found a group in Chicago called Working Bikes, which does just that.

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Local authors talk about experiences and booksSubmitted: 09/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Most people usually don't get to meet some of their favorite authors, but a group of people had the chance to meet two local authors Monday night.

Judith Norling Carlson and Ann Andrashie shared their experiences. Monday, they discussed their books at the Rhinelander District Library. Andrashie wrote her book called "Dog Island" because she feels connected to the animal world.

"We learn a lot from them. That's one of the main reasons why I wrote this. To try and help people understand that they do have feelings. They do have emotions," said Andrashie. "Most people don't believe that animals have emotions, but guess what? They do."

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Phillips prepares for Saturday's Fall Harvest FestivalSubmitted: 09/22/2014

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PHILLIPS - Phillips hopes more than the fall colors will draw visitors to the community this weekend.

The city will host the 21st Annual Fall Harvest Festival.

A farmer's market, sidewalk sales, food booths, scarecrow contests, and pumpkin decorating are part of Saturday's celebration.

We asked the Chamber of Commerce what people like best.

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Updated-Name released in deadly UTV crashSubmitted: 09/22/2014

TOWN OF LITTLE RICE - We now know a Rhinelander man died in a UTV accident on Gobbler Lake Road in the town of Little Rice.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Department tells us 52-year-old Richard Johnson died from injuries he suffered in the crash. Johnson apparently missed a curve and left the road.

It happened after 10:40 p.m. on Saturday.

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Northwoods school inspires students from around the world to take care of the planetSubmitted: 09/22/2014

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LAND O' LAKES - Many people know Land O' Lakes as a great vacation destination. But it's not just resorts that draw people to the area. A state-of-the-art school attracts high school students from across the country and around the world.

"There's no other opportunities like this," said Conserve School student Lange Navarro.

That's why she left her high school in Arizona to spend a semester at Conserve School in Land O' Lakes.

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Woman accused of driving drunk with kids in the carSubmitted: 09/22/2014

MARATHON COUNTY - Police accuse a woman in Marathon County of driving drunk with kids in the car.

A Wausau trooper from Wisconsin State Patrol arrested 35 year old Jessica Poetsch from Waukesha for her 4th OWI. It happened Sunday night, around 8 in the evening. There were 2 children in the car at the time of her arrest.

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Volunteer fire departments need more volunteersSubmitted: 09/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Rural areas rely on volunteer fire departments to respond to emergencies.

That's the case in Oneida County.

The Rhinelander Fire Department is the only paid full time department in the County.

But it can be difficult for fire departments to draw more volunteers.

The Crescent Fire Department in Oneida County relies on 25 volunteers for an area that serves about 2,800 people.

They need more people to help.

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