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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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

"People come to this whether there's good weather of bad weather," said Executive Director of the Eagle River Chamber Kim Emerson. "And with this year being great weather, we had above-average crowds and it was just spectacular. We're so happy about that."

By 3 p.m. Saturday, the World's Largest Cranberry Cheesecake had already been devoured. Sales of slices go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. 

Organizers said they also almost sold out of cranberries, but they said they would still have more to sell on Sunday. 

There were also dozens of craft vendors, food and wine and cranberry marsh tours.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp portraying lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. all had a piece of history to share.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event had a hay maze, horse drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

"I think it's going great. We got a little sunshine right now. We got probably a couple hundred people here. People are buying food, spending money. It's what we're after," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hanson.

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ASHWAUBENON - Early interest in the Green Bay Packers' proposal for an entertainment, retail and residential district around Lambeau Field has the franchise already thinking of expanding its plans.

The Packers announced recently it plans to develop the Titletown District on 34 acres around the stadium, including 30 to 50 townhouses overlooking a public plaza.

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TOWN OF NEWBOLD - Dreams of a world-class disc golf course and recreation area could soon become reality.  On September 26, people in the Town of Newbold voted to buy about 18 acres of land currently owned by Oneida County.

The land, about a half mile off Highway 47 along Ole Lake Road, was the site of an old landfill that the DNR closed in July 1988. The site has been empty ever since.

Buying the land would essentially double the space Newbold already owns for its planned recreation area.

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RHINELANDER - Swiping your credit cards could soon be a thing of the past.

Businesses across the country are switching to a chip card reader for credit and debit cards.

Credit companies say the new system will help cut back on fraud.

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ACROSS WISCONSIN - Abbotsford 62, Thorp 6

Algoma 24, Sturgeon Bay 8

Almond-Bancroft 61, Tigerton/Marion 6

Amherst 56, Manawa 6

Antigo 42, Lakeland 28

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