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.
RHINELANDER - A snow storm caught Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander off guard last weekend and collapsed a greenhouse. Now that spring weather is here, Hanson's is ready to move forward by making some adjustments. "We got by for 25 years doing what we were doing," said Hanson's Garden Village Co-owner Brent Hanson. Last weekend's spring snow storm set back Hanson's. "We thought we were ahead of schedule having that greenhouse nice and filled," said Hanson's Manager Beth Hanson.
"One bad storm and there you go. Things happen," said Brent. The storm collapsed a greenhouse holding thousands of plants. "For years we've gotten by with these lighter cheaper green houses," said Brent. "We'll be down a greenhouse for a little bit here," said Beth. Now Hanson's will only use sturdier and solid greenhouses so that collapses don't become a pattern.
RHINELANDER - Oneida County needs more foster care homes. Right now, there are nine licensed foster homes in the area, most of which are full according to the county's social services department.
Foster Care Coordinator Rachel Nelson says that in Oneida County there are 24 children currently living in foster homes. The department participated in a statewide foster care recruitment project last fall, and discovered just how great the need is.
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