RHINELANDER - Medical bills can take a family to brink of bankruptcy.
Not everything is covered.
Even if you do have insurance.
That's why a Rhinelander nonprofit organization tries to help the families with big medical bills.
Today was the seventh annual Christmas From the Heart event.
28 vendors filled the main hallway at Ministry Saint Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander.
Ministry Hospice Services helps people with and without insurance.
"If Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance can't cover it, since we are nonprofit, then donations such as these can help kick in for patient care," said Volunteer Community Outreach coordinator, Mel Houg.
"At the end of life that's the last thing you want to worry about. How am I going to pay for the care? I don't want to leave it all to my family. So that's a huge part of it."
A portion of every sale goes to Hospice.
The outreach coordinator says this can help a lot of people.
"This can help out a number of people. It pays $163 a day. We go off of what they can afford," Houg said.
"So it can pitch in for a number of people. Right now we have a census of about 55 people. So that's huge. If we can help out one, that's great."
PELICAN LAKE - Tribal members from across Wisconsin held a Deep Winter Camp to pass on parts of their cultures. Members from several different tribes wanted to give kids the chance to experience a piece of their culture. They hope the camp encourages younger members to keep traditions going and never forget where they came from. "They're going to be the next teachers they're good kids and we all love every kid that came here and spent time with us. They all learned something and they'll take it back and teach others," said Lac du Flambeau Band Vice Chairman John Johnson Sr.
CRANDON - Forest County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Justice was justified in shooting and killing 31-year-old Brandon Cude on Jan. 4, Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono ruled Friday.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice released the results of its investigation in the case, and Simono's decision, Friday afternoon.
The DOJ documents detail how Cude swung a shotgun at Justice at close range. The deputy had just learned Cude had felony warrants against him, and Justice was trying to arrest Cude. Justice fired four shots on the scene, a rural road south of Crandon.
"He didn't get a shot off?" a fellow officer asked Justice after the shooting.
"No. He tried, though. Pulled that sucker out and pointed it right at me," Justice replied in an exchange recorded on a body camera.
MINOCQUA - Only about one-third of students showed up to classes at Lakeland Union High School Friday morning, with many staying home after police verified a shooting threat.
More police officers were on hand at the school Friday morning.
On Thursday evening, Minocqua Police Chief Dave Jaeger confirmed the discovery of shooting threats in the ladies' bathroom near the LUHS auditorium. The threat noted an attack would be similar to Wednesday's school shooting in Parkland, Fla., which killed 17 people.
EAGLE RIVER - Vilas County officers can now respond to active shooter calls better prepared.
All deputies and patrol offices now have access to steel-plated body armor, something only the Vilas County SWAT Team had before.
"We want to make sure our staff are fully protected," said Vilas County Sheriff's Office Captain Gerard Ritter. "I never want to see anything happen to any one of my staff. And we should outfit them with the protection they need."
Before the new body armor, Ritter said officers and deputies only had access to soft body armor.
"The weave material is designed to stop or slow down a projectile," said Ritter.
Officers will still wear the soft-bodied armor every day, but in active shooter situations, officers can now essentially double up on protection, protection once only offered to the SWAT Team.
"There has been an increase in active shooter incidences across the United States," said Ritter.
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