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NEWS STORIES

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


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
Human Service Center welcomes new executive directorSubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - A familiar face will lead a Northwoods organization dedicated to helping individuals and families.

Tamara Feest became Executive Director of the Human Service Center earlier this month.

The center is located in Rhinelander and serves Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties.

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Update: Body of missing boater found in Kenosha CountySubmitted: 09/19/2014

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KENOSHA - Update: 9/19/14 4:15pm

Sheriff's officials say the body of a missing fisherman has been recovered from a lake in Kenosha County.

Authorities say the body of 66-year-old John Spoor, of McHenry, Illinois, was found in about 7 feet of water Friday morning.

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Northwoods churches invite people in for Back to Church SundaySubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - Northwoods ministers want more people to go to church this Sunday. That's true every Sunday, but they're putting a special emphasis on this week.

Calvary Baptist Church in Rhinelander is one of many churches taking part in National Back to Church Sunday.

A vast majority of Americans believe in God,but a much smaller minority attend church on a regular basis.

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Bad weather takes a toll on local vineyardsSubmitted: 09/19/2014

TRIPOLI - A cool summer and a lot of rain hurt grape growing conditions this year. Some winemakers in the Northwoods don't have enough grapes to make wine and they worry the harsh weather may have hurt their vineyards.

"Here's a couple of vines that we lost," explained David Welbes, owner of Brigadoon Winery. "They died."

Many vineyards in the Northwoods don't look good this year. The bad weather has made it nearly impossible for grapes to grow into a healthy crop.

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UWSP student, instructor teaming up on safety appSubmitted: 09/19/2014

STEVENS POINT - Two members of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point community are developing a safety app that allows students to track the location of friends when they go out on the town.

Stevens Point Journal Media (http://spjour.nl/1DmZSyb ) reports UWSP senior Jenna Furger and instructor Drew Frisk are working together to conduct the smartphone program's first beta test. They hope to roll out the app within the next couple of months.

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Fall color contest looking for best shots in NW WisconsinSubmitted: 09/19/2014

PRICE COUNTY - Fall could give you the chance to win some cash for your photography. Travel Northwest Wisconsin is looking for the best fall photos from the area.

The photos must come from areas in northwestern Wisconsin like Iron, Rusk and Sawyer County. Price County Director of Tourism Kathy Reinhard believes her area will offer good opportunities for photographers.

"It's just spectacular. It doesn't matter if you're on the trails doing silent sports, motorized sports, or if you prefer the water trails canoeing down the Flambeau River, you'll find beautiful color throughout the county."

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Child sex-related crimes send Rhinelander man to jailSubmitted: 09/19/2014

RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man inappropriately touched a young girl this May.

The victim was younger than 10 years old.

Blaine Ciardo admitted his actions and apologized in Oneida County Court on Friday. But Ciardo will spend another year in jail. He has spent almost four months in jail so far.

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