NEWS STORIES

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

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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

Story By: Lane Kimble

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Fire does $1.5 million in damage in Marathon CountySubmitted: 04/18/2014

EDGAR - Fire did $1.5 million dollars in damage at a Marathon County Highway Department garage overnight.

Someone driving by shortly before three this morning saw smoke coming from the building along State Highway 97 near Edgar.

One of the garages was on fire at the Marathon County Highway Department's location in the town of Wien.

Firefighters from Edgar and Stratford rushed to the scene.

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Street to be named after Rhinelander soldier killed in AfghanistanSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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RHINELANDER - Enemy forces killed Rhinelander's Ryan Adams in Afghanistan five years ago.

Now, the Northwoods community will name a street in his honor.

Adams was a graduate of Rhinelander High School.

He served in the Rhinelander-based 951st Sapper Company of the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

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LP conversion of sheriff's cars nears completionSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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VILAS COUNTY - As many as 20 Vilas County Sheriff's patrol cars now run on both liquid propane and gasoline.

That could save the department more than $295,000 over the next 5 years.

The department started converting the cars last November.

A company in Michigan installed 20-gallon propane tanks in the trunks of the cars.

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Meth lab suspects in court Submitted: 04/17/2014

RHINELANDER - Prosecutors believe four people arrested for keeping meth planned on sell the drug.

Police also think two of them were making meth at the home just north of Rhinelander.

Scott Dumpprope, Thomas Franz, Gerry Fredrick and Carrie Steinmetz were arrested Tuesday.

That's when the sheriff's office found meth, pot and a meth lab at Dumpprope's house.

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Vandals, thieves sack old Sacred Heart Hospital building in TomahawkSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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TOMAHAWK - The old Sacred Heart Hospital building in Tomahawk will be knocked down soon.

Milestone Senior Living will build a new home for seniors on the site.

The old building has been vacant since 2003.

But now, the vandalism and theft in the old hospital has gotten so bad, people there call the situation "disgusting" and "disappointing".

Ernie Winker did plenty of carpentry work inside the hospital.

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Asian Lady Beetles come out after winteringSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Do bugs seem to be everywhere in your home, even though there's snow outside? One type of bug in Wisconsin spends the winter inside our houses! They look like Lady Bugs, but they are actually not native to this country.

"They're actually called a multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle. They can be anywhere from a pale yellow to a darker orange and they have black spots on them but you'll see some that don't have spots," says Kerri Ison, UW Oneida County Extension.

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Man charged with attempted homicide could get all charges dismissedSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man will get a second chance after shooting his uncle.

At first, prosecutors charged 24-year-old Marcus Alsteens with attempted murder, but he might end up with a clean record.

Alsteens led police on a car chase through Oneida County in 2013 before being caught near Eagle River. That was after shooting his uncle at a Mason Street home in Rhinelander.

Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek initially charged him with attempted homicide, battery and two other charges.

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