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NEWS STORIES

Utility bills scam hitting customers who might be behind on paymentsSubmitted: 04/16/2013
Story By Lane Kimble

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RHINELANDER - A seemingly endless winter made for a tough year on utility bills. Some people are behind on payments and that could mean your provider shuts off services starting this week.

The latest scam is taking advantage of customers who find themselves stuck in that position.

Wisconsin Public Service customers say someone will call claiming to be from the company. They'll request money for unpaid accounts, claiming services will be shut down if you don't pay.

The scammer will suggest you buy a prepaid debit card or arrange for a cash pickup. WPS Community Relations Leader Leah Van Zile says those should be warning signs.

"They would not be offended at all if somebody says, 'You know, I'm not sure about this, I'm going to call back in,'" Van Zile said. "It's just a part of safety nowadays in the world that we operate."

What about if you actually are behind on your bill? Van Zile says there are still options to keep your lights and heat going.

All it takes is a phone call or a click.

"There may still be some dollars available for energy assistance, so if some of those folks haven't taken advantage of that program and they are income eligible, we really encourage them to contact the social services office for their county and see if there's some crisis dollars available," Van Zile said.

If you do think a scammer has called you, make sure to write down as much information about the caller as possible.

That includes the date and time, phone number and any description of the caller you can gather.

We have a link to the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program below.

Related Weblinks:
Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Rhinelander's Flory sees Washington wildfires firsthandSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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WASHINGTON - Hot, dry conditions still worry firefighters in Washington state fighting the Carlton Complex wildfire.

In July, the Northwoods sent a team of firefighters to the area to help fight it.

Now, Rhinelander's Suzanne Flory is in Washington near the fire site.

She's working with the U.S. Forest Service.

This is one of the pictures Flory sent us of her area.

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Minocqua Chamber names new directorSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce will welcome a new executive director later this month.

Krystal Westfahl will start at the chamber August 21st. She'll replace Kim Baltus who left to join the Howard Young Foundation.

Westfahl comes to the Northwoods from Appleton. That's where she has been in charge of fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Wisconsin for the past seven years. Before that, she worked as director of the Sampson State Park World War II Military Museum in Upstate New York.

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Northwoods man uses hobby to say thank you to veteransSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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ELCHO - A Northwoods man found a unique way to give back to our troops one year ago.

During the lunch hour you'll likely find Al Breit manning the grill.

His wife Diane works the bar, and together they own the Post Lake Inn in Elcho.

Every day Breit finds an opportunity to sneak downstairs to work on a special project.

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Northland Pines football players recognized for accomplishmentsSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Three local graduates in Eagle River will go to play division three college football this fall.

Northland Pines High School already recognized football players who are going to division one or division two schools in February, but they wanted to also recognize players who will go play at D3 schools.

"We have a lot of individuals that are good students and are really good at football. They enjoy it; they work hard at it, both in the season and in the off season," said Northland pines High School Football Coach Eric Swanson. "This is kind of a time for us to honor those individuals because they have worked just as hard as the kids that are playing a little higher ball."

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Barbeque lovers come to the northwoods this weekend for Submitted: 08/01/2014

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ST. GERMAIN - In the south, you can find barbeque on every corner. Up here it's not that easy... But if you're craving it, you can head to Pig in the Pines this weekend.

It's the 10th annual year of the event in St. Germain. There are award winning ribs, live music and family friendly attractions to enjoy.

Barbeque lovers from across the midwest are drawn to Pig in the Pines...and of course everything is finger licking good.

"It does help the community," says St. Germain Chamber Director Penny Wiesmann. "It draws people from all over the Midwest. We have people talking about; this is their fourth or fifth annual year. The smells are incredible. You don't know where to go. You don't know if you should get ribs or pork or brisket or the corn. Try everything. Eat all day long."

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Northwoods caregiver talks importance of Silver AlertSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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RHINELANDER - More than 16,000 people in northcentral Wisconsin live with some form of dementia. They're some of the 110,000 people living with a cognitive impairment in the state. About 60% of them will wander at some point.

A new tool could help their families find them.

The Silver Alert program became available in Wisconsin Friday.

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UW Trout Lake Station holds open houseSubmitted: 08/01/2014

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BOULDER JUNCTION - UW Trout Lake leaders want people to get interested in science. They invited people to come out and see what it's like to be a researcher at the Trout Lake Station in Boulder Junction.

More than 230 people showed up to the open house. People got the chance to go on a boat ride, learn about sampling and learn more about invasive species.

"The open house is a wonderful forum for us to be able to invite the community in and let them know what we're doing," says UW Trout Lake Station Director Tim Kratz. "Have a discussion about the kinds of research that we're doing on lakes, to hear the concerns or questions that people might have and just to enjoy a beautiful day on Trout Lake."

They also had activities for the kids.

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