HARSHAW - No power means no water for the animals at Leanne Chaney's ranch. This was a big problem this week when high electric bills caused her to fall behind on payment.
"They could have died... on a 90 degree day with a heat index in excess of that, in the hot sun... The horses had been without power, without water since 9:23 that morning," says Chaney.
The previous owner of Chaney's horse ranch left her with a big problem- One she didn't know about until her first power bill.
"They just came in with vehicles and took off the trailers and things that were there and really didn't cap off the power...The first bill that we received was $450 something."
So she called WPS, and was surprised to learn they couldn't help her.
"Any power that comes to the box WPS will be in charge of, any power after the box is something that the homeowner is in charge of so any lines that have been put down beyond the powerbox is something they are not responsible for.”
The problem is buried cables leaching power into the ground. Chaney's bills climbed through the winter, and her payments fell behind. She received a shut-off notice, and her full payment came too late.
"If that check is not received by that certain date we do put them back on the disconnect notice and they will be disconnected," says Mike Kuczmarksi, Operational Supervisor with WPS.
Luckily Chaney's horses did get water by 9:00 that night, and seem to be ok. Now she's converting her ranch to solar power.
She doesn't agree with what the power company did, but they both agree that having another power source is a good idea.
"We always tell people have a back-up plan. There's no way if a big storm rolls through the Northwoods here and everybody is out of power that we can guarantee you power to keep your animals fed or oxygen if you have a person that needs oxygen in the home. Always have a back-up plan," said Kuczmarksi.
NORTHWOODS - Home sales fell in the state of Wisconsin, but they're on the rise in the Northwoods.
Real Estate experts say home sales are up 5% in Oneida County. Home sales for the Northwoods are up 4%. Experts say right now it's a buyers market.
“If you're a seller right now you are probably going to be seeing some low ball offers,” says Ashlei Highfill, Century 21 Sales Associate. “We just encourage people to respond to any offer that they get not to just reject it or be offended but these days we are seeing a lot of buyers coming in and offering a lot less than what sellers are asking for.”
Experts say fewer homes are being foreclosed. This allows more families to make first time home purchases.
“It’s great to see that people are obviously getting back to work so they can afford to take that opportunity to put their family in their first home it's exciting for all of us,” says Highfill. “We're always happy to see somebody get that first house for their kids we're seeing some people that are making more money now so they're buying a move up house.”
Overall home sales in Wisconsin fell 11% compared to this time last year.
MERRILL - Hospitals can sometimes scare kids and even many adults.
That's why one Northwoods hospital wants those kids to be comfortable with doctors if they ever need their help.
Merrill kindergarteners visited Ministry Good Samaritan Health Center on Wednesday.
The kids got to see an ambulance, physical therapy and x rays.
"We try to show them that you know what, the hospital isn't so scary. And we bring them through different areas that they may experience when they come in or they have a family member here. And a lot of times children, if they don't know, they're very afraid. A hospital can be very intimidating, says Jane Bentz, Director of Foundation and Community Outreach.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - 4.7 might seem like just a random number, but it gives us an idea of just how cold it was this year. 4.7 degrees was the average temperature for this winter. It's the coldest winter in more than a century.
It’s common to see these sights and hear these sounds in a typical winter. But this year, we heard them a bit more. The Northwoods fought through it’s snowiest and coldest winter on record. What made it so rare was the persistent cold.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People from all over the Northwoods celebrated Earth Day today. Students at Lac du Flambeau school participated in a natural resources fair today.
Classes, groups and individual students submitted projects to be judged. By doing the projects they learned the importance of Earth Day.
“Polluting could harm the earth and if that harms the earth later on we won't have a better earth to do stuff on like camping, or fishing, hiking and taking walks,” says Sky Risingsun, a Lac du Flambeau student.
35 projects were judged in the science competition. Each student was given a white spruce seed to take home and plant in their own yard.
“It's a white spruce which is a native tree to this area,” says Bryan Hoover, Lac du Flambeau Energy and Air Quality Coordinator. “We've got almost 500 of them and every student is going to take one home so that they can pick a spot in their yard to plant the new tree and watch that tree grow as it matures.”
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