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Avoid heating hazardsSubmitted: 01/05/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson


RHINELANDER - Health officials urge people to stay indoors the next few days to avoid health problems caused by frigid temperatures.

But staying inside your home can be dangerous if you don't heat it properly.

The most common cold weather emergencies Rhinelander firefighters respond to are fires caused by portable heaters.

But it's not just the heaters that cause fires.

It's the extension cords used to power them.

"People overuse them. They join them together. In fact, we recommend if you need an extension cord to buy a power strip. That's got the circuit breaker built in to it so if the appliance were to overheat, the circuit breaker would trip," said Rhinelander Fire Department Deputy Chief Craig Metz.

People using portable heaters should place them in the middle of a room to avoid a fire hazard.

They shouldn't run extension cords through doorways.

The cords can bend, causing them to wear down.

Firefighters don't respond to as many chimney or oven fires as they did a few years ago.

New furnaces and the ability for more people to have heat through heating assistance programs have helped reduce the use of ovens and fires.

But a furnace can still pose a danger.

"You want to make sure the intake and the exhaust on your furnace is kept clean. We see that quite a bit where the snow banks will block off the exhaust of the furnace," explained Metz.

Exhaust can build up, creating deadly carbon monoxide levels if the snow isn't cleared.

Firefighters say now is a perfect time to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to be sure they're working.

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PLOVER - A 19-year-old man robbed a Plover gas station at gun point Saturday at around 1:30 a.m.

According to the Plover Police Department, a white male wearing dark clothing showed a handgun and demanded cash at the Moto Mart Gas Station on Plover road.

The suspect, Cody Krueger then left on foot.

Police later went to a home on the southwest side of the Plover. Around 11:45 a.m. Stevens Point and Plover joint SWAT team got a search warrant, but Krueger was not inside the home.

Around 1:30 p.m., police were able to find Krueger in Stevens Point. He was taken to Portage County Jail waiting charges associated with armed robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Plover Police Department at 715-345-5255. 

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STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients.  Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.

Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015.  He then moved to Connecticut.  

At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments.  Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.

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CONOVER - Crowds gathered in Conover Community Park today for a little winter fun. The Northwoods Blizzard Blast provided winter games for people of all ages. 

Dylan Kleffman spent his Saturday doing some of his favorite winter activities. 

"So far my favorite thing was the pony and the snowshoeing," said seven-year-old Kleffman.  

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SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.

Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.

Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.

Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.

People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.

"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.

"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.

But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.

"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.

Those accusations baffle Thomas.

"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.

Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.

"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.

Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.

"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.

Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its
Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.

"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.

Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.

The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.

Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.




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STEVENS POINT - An alarm system used only in extreme emergencies -- like an active shooter -- went off at a Stevens Point school Friday.  Thankfully, that report was a false alarm.

Stevens Point police were called to Ben Franklin Junior High School at 12:19 p.m.  Police responded within three minutes.  Some students were already leaving the building when officers got there.

Police made sure students outside got a safe distance away, then sent teams in to sweep the building.

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LAND O' LAKES - Dental Hygienist Melissa Wagner really listened to the information she learned from her dentist when she was young.

"It started at a young age I want to help people I want to teach them to have great teeth so they can have their teeth for the rest of their lifetime," said Wagner.

Wagner spent her morning teaching students at Land O' Lakes Elementary school what it takes to be a dentist.

"The kids [get to] be the dentists and take food out of the bad teeth [we can help] dads and grandmas and aunts and kids," said Kindergartener Taylen Nelson.

These dentists in training learned everything they needed to stay on teeth patrol and have healthy teeth.

"You can't eat candy and you can't eat squirrel or deer," said 4K student Mackenzie Feltes.

Wagner set up demonstration tables to show what unhealthy foods can do to their teeth, and how to correctly floss and brush their pearly whites.

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MINOCQUA - U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) admitted today he felt a "pang of regret" when he decided against challenging Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin for her seat in 2018.

But he said the pang of regret in having to spend more time away from his eight kids was even greater.

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