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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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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 03/30/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Every year, the federal government puts almost a half-billion dollars into public radio and television. But in his preliminary budget proposal earlier this month, President Trump pushed for cutting all of that funding. Tonight we talk to managers of public radio stations in Wausau and Rhinelander about how those cuts would affect their stations.

We'll tell you about a plan that would turn a former Rhinelander nursing home building into student housing.

And we talk to the Phelps Chamber of Commerce Director about new classes that will be a part of this Saturday's Maple Syrup Fest.

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

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ONEIDA COUNTY - 65 species of native mammals call Wisconsin home.

The DNR wants help collecting data about all of them.

"Snapshot Wisconsin" is a statewide wildlife monitoring program. It relies on volunteers to host a trail camera throughout the year.

"We ask a volunteer to set the camera out for us and go out and check it periodically, change the camera chip, change the batteries. Then they upload the photos to a central site," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz.

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MADISON - Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he's "generally supportive" a bill allowing the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit.

Vos told reporters Thursday he hasn't yet asked Assembly Republicans where they stand on the bill but that they plan to discuss the proposal.

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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin, K-12 schools and the Department of Natural Resources will all be in the spotlight as the Legislature's budget-writing committee completes three days of briefings.

The Joint Finance Committee meeting on Thursday comes after a 14-hour marathon Wednesday that saw Republicans on the panel disagreeing sharply with key planks of Gov. Scott Walker's budget.

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MINOCQUA - Minocqua's Northwoods Zip line Adventure Tours added new attractions for the upcoming season in hopes of bringing more people to the Northwoods.

The Northwoods Zip Line Adventure Tours has been a travel destination for thrill seekers around the country.

Owner Josh Russart wanted to bring an extreme outdoor activity to the Northwoods.

"We have something for everyone," said Russart.

But Russart wasn't content with just zip lining. He added more attractions every year since he opened the canopy tours in 2014. Last summer he added an aerial adventure tour.

General manager Andrew Warner says it's a mix of an obstacle course and zip lining.

"Our aerial adventure is going to offer a little bit more of a challenge for people that maybe are a little bit more of a thrill seeker," said Warner.

But Warner says not to worry if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground

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CRANDON - A woman charged with helping sneak prescription pills into the Forest County Jail will need several thousand dollars to get out of jail.

52-year-old Patricia Kirker had her initial appearance in Crandon on Thursday.  Police say she supplied 20 pills for an inmate on work release to sell in the jail.

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RHINELANDER - You can watch fake doctors perform fake surgeries on TV almost any night of the week.  It's not every day you get to watch an actually surgery performed.

Students from the Northwoods learned their experience Wednesday was not for the faint of heart.

High school and college students filled the Nicolet College Theater in Rhinelander to watch a live stream of an open heart surgery.  Doctors, nurses, and other surgical staff from a hospital in Illinois were on camera and answered questions as they put in a left ventricular assistive device in a 37-year-old man's heart.

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