Avoid heating hazardsSubmitted: 01/05/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson

RHINELANDER - Health officials urge people to stay indoors the next few days to avoid health problems caused by frigid temperatures.

But staying inside your home can be dangerous if you don't heat it properly.

The most common cold weather emergencies Rhinelander firefighters respond to are fires caused by portable heaters.

But it's not just the heaters that cause fires.

It's the extension cords used to power them.

"People overuse them. They join them together. In fact, we recommend if you need an extension cord to buy a power strip. That's got the circuit breaker built in to it so if the appliance were to overheat, the circuit breaker would trip," said Rhinelander Fire Department Deputy Chief Craig Metz.

People using portable heaters should place them in the middle of a room to avoid a fire hazard.

They shouldn't run extension cords through doorways.

The cords can bend, causing them to wear down.

Firefighters don't respond to as many chimney or oven fires as they did a few years ago.

New furnaces and the ability for more people to have heat through heating assistance programs have helped reduce the use of ovens and fires.

But a furnace can still pose a danger.

"You want to make sure the intake and the exhaust on your furnace is kept clean. We see that quite a bit where the snow banks will block off the exhaust of the furnace," explained Metz.

Exhaust can build up, creating deadly carbon monoxide levels if the snow isn't cleared.

Firefighters say now is a perfect time to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to be sure they're working.

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WAUSAU - This fall Wausau's Woodson Art Museum will bring together artists from all over the world. 

The Birds in Art Exhibit gives artists an opportunity to share a piece of themselves with their audience. 

To water color artist Wendy Brockman this exhibit was an opportunity to release.

"I used nests as a metaphor for home and loss," said Brockman.

Brockman's mother suffered from Alzheimer's and dementia. She showcases her experience through her piece "Season's End." 

If it wasn't for "Birds in Art," her piece might have never been seen.

"Birds in Art" is a really unique opportunity to show work that you can't show in other places," said Brockman. 

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board always knew it would need to replace Supervisor Bryan Jennings eventually.  But the board didn't think it happen so soon.

Jennings died September 8, two days after he was struck by lightning while walking his dog.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim says the town is now accepting letters of interest from anyone wanting to fill Jennings' seat.

Hartzheim wanted to wait until January to start looking, but the board was having trouble getting enough members for official town votes.  Hartzheim says he hoped to get through budget season and the holidays, but couldn't wait any longer.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many of us already put out the scary decorations and pumpkins for some Halloween spirit.

If you're looking to take it up a notch, dress like a zombie and grab your running shoes this Saturday.

The 2016 Zombie 5K Fun Run starts at 5 p.m. at Three Eagle Trail in Eagle River.

Zombie Fun Run is still in great need of runners.

Registration is $30 for a t-shirt and a spot as either a runner or a zombie.

Run times don't matter for this race; it is just a race for the fun.

Runners will be given flags attached to a belt to wear throughout the race.

Zombies will then hide on the trail and run after the runners to steal their flags.

Runners with flags left at the end of the race are the winners.

"It's something different. Nothing you know that is normal," said Hallow Fest co-chair Susie Erikson.

You must be over 13-years-old to participate.

Feel free to come in full costume and make-up for the race.

Registration begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday after Hallow Fest.

You can register up until 15 minutes before the race starts on Saturday.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/24/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on the details of a fatal car crash in the Town of Stella that took the life of a teenager late Saturday night.

This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history. But it also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths. No one knows for sure why, but we'll tell you about some possible reasons.

And the White Lake High School football team agreed to play an 8-man football game against a nearby high school's team. We'll tell you how it's helping out the nearby team.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MILWAUKEE - Authorities say three women from Chicago were killed when a vehicle ran a red light and slammed their Uber ride in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office released a statement Monday identifying the victims as 32-year-old Amy Taylor, 30-year-old Ashley Sawatzke and 35-year-old Lindsey Cohen. Autopsies are expected Monday.

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MILWAUKEE - The backlog of needed repairs in the University of Wisconsin System has grown to an estimated cost of $2 billion.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the system is asking for $713.3 million in the next two-year state budget, and also asking the state to give the Board of Regents authority to manage projects that are funded by program revenues. Projects such as residence halls, recreational facilities and student unions that generate their own money don't involve state funding.

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MADISON - Court documents show the state Justice Department's former top detective was accused by his wife last year of waving his gun around and threatening her.

Attorney General Brad Schimel last week moved Division of Criminal Investigation Administrator Dave Matthews into a policy adviser position, saying he wanted a different management style.

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