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COLUMN: Debt payoff story still carries interest

The last time we caught up with Kandy and Russ Hildebrandt of New Richmond about a year ago, the couple was making the talk show rounds in New York.

The Hildebrandts were a hot news story last fall when they were honored as the "Client of the Year" by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in Washington, D.C.

The couple had paid off about $123,000 in debt over the course of several years and people wanted to know how they accomplished it. The family at one time paid a monthly $1,544 finance charge on 11 credit cards and they were going deeper into debt each month. They followed a plan, and Russ took a second job, to eventually climb out of the financial hole.

By the end of last year, the Hildebrandts had appeared on everything from "The Today Show" to CNN to "Fox & Friends."

You'd think all the attention over their accomplishment would have died down since then, but the Hildebrandts still continue to tell their story to national audiences.

Most recently the couple was interviewed by Gerri Willis for her show "The Willis Report," which airs weeknights on FOX's national business network from 4 - 5 p.m.

The segment aired on Monday, Dec. 27. Willis, who recently left CNN, interviewed the Hildrebrandts in their New Richmond home last October and December of 2009 for CNN's "Your Bottom Line."

This week, Willis' FOX program is airing uplifting stories. "They wanted to launch it with our story of getting out of debt," Kandy reports.

Kandy also recently did a radio interview for Crown Financial for Chuck Bentley's "My Money Life" segment. That segment should air on national Christian radio stations in the coming couple weeks.


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has approved a grant of $5,000 to the Friends of the St. Croix Wetland Management District to support the Friends of the St. Croix Wetland Management District start-up and Auto Tour Guide project.

The funding will help the relatively new organization get up and going, and will help to produce a special guide for the Waterfowl Production Areas in this region, as well as other lands of interest to nature lovers.

The organization has already begun discussions about what partner organizations should be involved in the project as well.


A number of local residents are concerned about the urban deer problem in New Richmond. It appears that heavy snows this year have forced the deer to find food supplies in town.

Discussions have begun about possible solutions to the situation. The Vision 20/20 group, which meets informally at the Civic Center each Tuesday morning, has noticed the problem and reported that some cities in the region use various methods to cut down on the urban deer situation.