ANTIGO - We have more information for you about the fire that devastated an Antigo apartment building Sunday.
Antigo fire crews and state fire marshals wrapped up their investigation and the cause of the fire is undetermined. But Fire Chief Jon Petroskey says they can't rule out careless use of smoking materials.
The fire started on an upstairs balcony and the wind spread it to the attic area. Upper apartments were destroyed by water and falling burning material, while the downstairs has some smoke and water damage.
Chief Petroskey says an insurance adjuster will inspect the building and determine whether it's a total loss.
If you'd like to donate you can contact your local Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS
EAGLE RIVER - Snowmobile trails open at 6 p.m. in most of Vilas County.
Local businesses that cater to snowmobilers look forward to a successful season.
The trails already have a lot more snow than they did last year at this time.
"Anytime you bring people to the Northwoods, whether it's just the snowmobilers, it's not only helping our business, it helps everybody. They bring family up so they'll go to the Children's Museum, or the downtown and restaraunts. They utilize all the area businesses," said Greg Cook from Track Side in Eagle River.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill aimed at curbing underage drinking.
The so-called ``Brown Jug bill'' creates an additional $1,000 fine for those under age 21 who buy or drink alcohol.
The measure gives bars the ability to report underage drinkers to police and then take them to court.
The underage drinker would be required to pay the business owner $1,000 if found guilty. The fine would be in addition to the $250 to $1,000 fine an underage drinker would receive from law enforcement.
The Capital Times (http://bit.ly/1dak7QJ ) reports the Tavern League of Wisconsin is pleased with Walker's decision to sign the bill.
Opponents say fines were already in place for underage drinkers.
The bill is named after an Alaskan bar that had a similar law passed.
ACROSS WISCONSIN - Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a Republican-sponsored bill that gives landlords more power over tenants.
The bill Walker signed privately Thursday allows landlords to dispose of any property an evicted tenant leaves behind, immediately tow parked vehicles and toss tenants out if a crime occurs on the property and the tenant was in a position to prevent it.
Democrats who opposed the measure argued that it strips tenants of their rights and limits local governments' control over property in their jurisdiction.
The bill was opposed by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the cities of Milwaukee and Madison as well as the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and others.
RHINELANDER - When you’re celebrating the holidays that often means drinking.
Because of that, there are more alcohol-related accidents and deaths this time of year.
But the Oneida County Sheriff’s office wants to prevent as many as accidents as it can.
The Booze and Belts campaign runs through December 21. The campaign is part of the OWI enforcement grant the sheriff's office received in October.
Throughout the campaign, you’ll see three extra squads on patrol looking out for drunk drivers and people who are not wearing their seat belts.
Lloyd Gauthier, Oneida County Patrol lieutenant, says it's all about making the right choices after you've been drinking.
"We really want people to come and enjoy the holiday season, it's Christmas time here in the Northwoods. Whether it's a family coming to one of the resorts that we have here in the area, or just enjoying the different things that we offer," said Gauthier." "We just want people to make good decisions. And you realize that if you don't make good decision, that can affect other people."
Booze and Belts is a statewide program.
It puts more officers on the streets before the holidays.
The Department of Transportation reports that's when the most accidents happen. Lieutenant Gauthier says your choices can have a range of impact.
Gauthier thinks that's because of early celebrations like office Christmas parties and private gatherings.
"Whether it's a traffic crash where you end up killing someone because you're intoxicated, or you seriously injure somebody else, a family member, or yourself," said Gauthier. "Also driving too fast, with the winter conditions roads can change rapidly."
The Sheriff's department says more officers patrolling for OWI's will keep everyone safe.
The Department of Transportation reports most accidents happen between 7pm and 3am.
Vilas county is also participating in the Booze and Belts campaign.
RHINELANDER - Many veterans are not eligible for full dental coverage.
But a new VA healthcare program is changing that.
Veterans who don’t have dental insurance can now join a new program that will give them coverage.
The VA partnered with insurance companies MetLife and Delta Dental.
Brad Nelson is the public information officer for the VA in Iron Mountain.
"About 90 percent of our veterans who are enrolled in VA healthcare, are not eligible for VA dental care directly, like we mentioned," said Nelson. "So that's why this insurance program would be a very good option for them if they don't already have dental insurance."
The new program allow veterans can work directly with the two insurance companies for the best coverage plans.
The closest full-care VA hospital is in Iron Mountain.
The program will cut down on travel time for veterans by helping them find a dentist who will accept their new insurance plan closer to home.
"Taking control of your healthcare is actually one of the messages that the VA wants to come across to our veterans, including dental care," said Nelson. "Again, we want recognize at the VA that oral health can impact a person's overall health."
The program will get vets a reduced monthly cost for the insurance.
Coverage goes into effect January 1st.
For additional information, visit the VA Healthcare website.
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