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.
Several Republican senators, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), have said they're not ready to vote.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) says he supports Johnson on this.
"We've given Senator Johnson some suggestions," Walker said. "I think he wants to vote for it, he made the promise when he ran in '10 and then last year in 2016 that he would vote to repeal it, he wants to do that, he just wants to make sure that the repeal ultimately ends up serving the people of Wisconsin well."
Both Democratic and Republican senators say they have issues with the bill.
Some Republicans say the bill doesn't get rid of enough of the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats worry about Medicaid cuts.
Walker says he wants Wisconsin to continue to do what it does well in healthcare.
"What I've asked Senator Johnson is help us do the things we've been successful at," Walker said. "We're a top ten state when it comes to access for healthcare for citizens, we're a top ten state with the quality of our healthcare systems. We want to maintain that going forward."
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the new bill would cause 22 million Americans to be uninsured.
Johnson put out a statement Tuesday saying he was glad there won't be a vote this week.
RHINELANDER - Three decades-old signs greet people coming into Rhinelander from various sides. But if you drive past them every day, you likely don't even notice them. Rhinelander wants to make sure those old signs stand out.
WAUSAU - Many of us try to honor our veterans whenever we can.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) added one more way.
The Governor visited several veteran-owned businesses across the state Tuesday for Veteran-Owned Business Day.
Tuesday afternoon he stopped at Prosthetic Orthotic Center in Wausau.
He says veteran-owned businesses are good for other veterans and the economy.
"We found statistically that veterans are about 30 percent more likely to hire fellow veterans as employees," Walker said. "So it's good all the way around."
If you are a veteran-owned business, you can register with the state at WisVets.com
That way you can get a decal that says Wisconsin Veteran-Owned for your business window or door.
You also get listed in a state veteran-owned business directory.
"We're branding it, letting the public know that businesses that are owned by veterans, letting them know whether it's in a sign in their window or whether it's on the website, or other ways that we can draw attention," Walker said.
About 390,000 veterans live in Wisconsin, and about 11 percent of the state's businesses are veteran-owned.
WAUSAU - Drugs led to four arrests and one death in north-central Wisconsin on Monday.
The Marathon County Sheriff's Office reports a 37-year-old Shawano man died after apparently overdosing on methamphetamine.
Witnesses say 37-year-old Lucas Groshek and his wife, Carolyn, were shaking and convulsing in a car in the eastern Marathon County town of Norrie. Mr. Groshek died before getting to the hospital. Mrs. Groshek, 33, is in stable condition as of Tuesday afternoon.
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