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."
NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.
Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.
“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”
It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.
“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”
In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.
Cooking for people with multiple, chronic health conditions
MINOCQUA - For people struggling with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease, cooking can be a challenge.
But being careful with how you cook doesn't mean your meal has to be bland.
One dietician teaches the "Cooking for Multiple Diseases" class at Nicolet College in Minocqua.
People taking her class need help finding the best recipes for their conditions.
"Maybe they have diabetes and their spouse has heart disease. Or other people in the family may have a different disease," said Mary Sikora-Petersen, a Registered dietician. "They want to know, how [to] cook a meal that's going to be for everybody in the family."
Petersen also stresses the importance of using healthier ingredients without losing flavor. One way to do that is by using seed-based seasonings and avoiding too much salt.
"[Add] flavors to food without adding salt. Certainly, salt adds flavor," said Petersen. "But there are other ways to add flavor, such as adding ground seasonings, adding fresh herbs to the foods."
Petersen also recommends using light olive oils and whole wheat products.
MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials say they're going to hand out personalized certificates to successful first-time turkey hunters this year.
The Department of Natural Resources says hunters can fill out information about when and where they killed the bird as well as information on its weight and spur length on the agency's website. Hunters also can submit a photo of themselves with their turkeys.
The agency will send the certificates out electronically within a few weeks of receiving the information.
The certificate program will run during both the spring and fall hunts.
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