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."
VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.
The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.
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