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NEWS STORIES

Family benefits from Heat Up Wisconsin programSubmitted: 10/06/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com


WAUSAU - A Wausau family will feel a little warmer this winter after winning a free furnace through the Heat Up Wisconsin program.

Dan Hackbarth found the contest in a local advertisement, so he thought he would apply and see how he could do.

It's a Lennox program that provides free installations of high-efficiency gas furnaces for people and families in need.

Hackbarth describes his tough times.

"I kind of put down that two years ago I lost my job and then the following year I lost both of my parents," Hackbarth said. "They had been helping me out quite a bit because a loss of job means loss of income too."

The Hackbarths old furnace was more than 50 years old.

Their son Zachary, 1st grade, is excited for the upgrade.

"I think its awesome," Zachary said. "We think its going to be nice and cozy, we think its going to be awesome."

The Heat Up Wisconsin program stretches from Wisconsin to Minnesota, as well as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Individual Lennox dealers select from applicants in their area. They then decide which person is in the most need from their stories.

More than 300 families have received free furnaces since the program started in 2010.








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MERRILL - The Community Warming Center in Merrill finished up its first winter season a few weeks ago. The center provides a place to stay for people in need from November through April.

The guest's ages ranged from 22 to 45 years old. The center is run through the Merrill United Way. The Warming Center's director said its first year went much better than expected.

"It's kind of like building the field of dreams and not knowing if anyone will come to play, or to stay in our case," said Merrill United Way Executive Director Dee Olsen. "But what ended up happening was the community was responsive and we ended up with 11 guests throughout the season with 90 user nights."

The center is already preparing for the next season. They have new blankets and pillows ready for their next year.

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But workers chopped down a stand of phragmites on Monday on Highway 8 just west of Rhinelander. The stand had been chemically treated in the fall, a step that workers hope will help control the spread of the species.

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Kids in Rhinelander Monday learned about endangered bats across Wisconsin on Monday. A bat expert with Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest showed the importance of keeping bats healthy. The students helped local scientists by building new homes for the bats.

"Ms. Swaney showed us a presentation about the bats with a speaker and now we're building them," said 7th grader Jackie Wells.

"They have predators and it will kind of keep them safe in their little bat homes," said 7th Grader Connor Lund.

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"If we were seeing a reaction, for example a tingling of the mouth, swelling of the throat, a visual that a student might give us if they are unable to breath at that time, we would immediately administer an EpiPen," Director of Pupil Services Unified School District of Antigo Karen Baker.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many Northwoods cities need to make improvements to the roads now that it's spring.

Rhinelander wants to do it, enough to impose a new sales tax.

Another local city will make improvements to the road and the pipes under the road.

Eagle River will replace infrastructure on Division Street.

Eagle River's mayor Jeff Hyslop says it's about 70 years old.

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"We start with green coffee. It comes in 130 to 155 pound sacks of coffee," said owner of Eagle River Roasters Dan Beihoff.

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