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.
We'll update you on what appears to have been a suicide of a Lac du Flambeau woman whose body was found in a Crandon home following a report of a gunshot early Wednesday morning and leaving three people in jail.
At the close of the high school sports season, Lakeland Union High School had the most successful season of all the schools in the Northwoods. We'll review their season and talk with the Athletics Director and two student athletes about the school's success.
And in spite of all the recent rain, a Tomahawk area family is very excited about today's opening of their strawberry farm. We talk to them about the first day and about how the recent rain may affect the berry growth.
We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
MADISON - A federal judge says Wisconsin's use of solitary confinement in its juvenile prisons poses "acute, immediate and enduring" harm to young inmates and is ordering that it be dramatically scaled back.
U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Friday also ordered that shackling juvenile inmates and the use of pepper spray be used much more sparingly than now.
RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.
There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.
"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.
All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.
"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."
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