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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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/26/2014

- The Northwoods teaching assistant accused of having sex with an underage teen reached a plea deal. Find out more tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) wants a spot on the legislature's powerful budget committee. Find out which Northwoods lawmaker beat him to it.

- It's a double whammy for cranberry growers in the Northwoods " a smaller harvest, and lower cranberry prices. What the U.S. government is doing about it, tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Your organization can get some free help solving a challenge or working on a project. 16 members of the Leadership Oneida County program are spending 9 months getting to know the services and organizations in the county.

- And success keeps coming for a musician native to Eagle River. Autumn Skibinski and her band "Only on Tuesdays" started a Kickstarter campaign back in July to help fundraise for an Extended Play (EP) album. Lac Vieux Desert Resort Casino in Watersmeet, Michigan donated the full amount to Autumn's band. The band completed work on the project, and released the EP Tuesday. We'll have reaction from Autumn on her group's success coming up tonight.

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

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Balanced plate could be best option for Thanksgiving mealSubmitted: 11/26/2014

- Americans will eat more than 40 million turkeys Thursday, and that won't be the only delicious food on the table.

Thanksgiving can start weight gain for many people across the country. Dieticians like Jennifer Mikulich with Aspirus say this is the time of year when some patients avoid their dieticians. She believes the key to a healthy day is a balanced plate.

"You know have a balance between those foods that have some carbohydrates and those foods that don't," Mikulich said. "If you're somebody that is a really big sweet eater and you know there is pecan pie and pumpkin pie, well maybe you won't have the dinner roll and the mashed potatoes."

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Wetland restoration plan broadens options for DNR, permit seekersSubmitted: 11/26/2014

WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin DNR puts an emphasis on keeping the state's wetland system healthy.

People and organizations now have a new option for addressing wetland damage because of construction.

When people or businesses fill in wetlands, they have to get a permit.

Before, they could restore other wetlands or buy credits from what are called wetland mitigation banks.

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Bakeries in the Northwoods prepare for ThanksgivingSubmitted: 11/26/2014

ST. GERMAIN - Not many "made from scratch" bakeries exist in the Northwoods.

But, the ones that do are busy preparing treats for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

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Small Business Saturday: why stores want you to shop localSubmitted: 11/26/2014

RHINELANDER - Following Thanksgiving Day shopping and after Black Friday, Northwoods businesses hope you'll stick around for one more shopping day- Small Business Saturday.

The day encourages shoppers to stay local and help businesses in the community.
Small Business Saturday first began in 2010.

Last year consumers spent about $5.7 billion at independent stores.

Shops like Imaginuity in Rhinelander have jumped on board to bring in customers.

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Milwaukee students protest Ferguson shooting caseSubmitted: 11/26/2014

MILWAUKEE - The family of a black man fatally shot by a white police officer in Milwaukee is showing solidarity with the family of Michael Brown.

More than 100 protesters gathered in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee and then marched through the streets Tuesday demanding justice for both Brown and for Dontre Hamilton, a Milwaukee man killed by Officer Christopher Manney earlier this year.

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Torgerson pleads not guilty for murder & disappearance of Stephanie Low; more information about informants Submitted: 11/26/2014

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WAUSAU - The case against a Wausau man facing murder charges will move forward. Thirty-five-year-old Kristopher Torgerson pled not guilty in court during his preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Torgerson didn't admit to the murder in September, but he led police to Stephanie Low's burial site in the woods of Forest County. She had been missing for nearly four years.

Torgerson faces charges of intentional homicide, armed robbery, and hiding a body related to Low's disappearance and death.

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