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NEWS STORIES

Energy Saving ChallengeSubmitted: 01/30/2013
Story By Ryan Abney


RHINELANDER - Going "green" seems like a popular phrase these days.
For some of us, that's as easy as reusing grocery bags and turning down the heat.

But for bigger organizations, it can be a bigger and more expensive transition.

That's why Wisconsin Public Service decided to make going green a competition.
Leader Leah Van Zile is the W-P-S Community Relations Leader.She said the challenge was created to not only educate but to entertain.

"There's a lot of information about ways to reduce your energy use and ways to save on your bill, but it's not really an exciting topic.So we thought of a way to really encourage community members to become excited about energy, and we thought pairing it with a grant opportunity with non-profits might be a neat spin a new avenue to increase energy awareness in the communities."

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program was one organization to earn a 750-dollar grant. By just switching out light bulbs, she's noticed a HUGE difference.

"I found out myself that if you don't have LED lights the average cost is 9-dollars a month just for a couple strings of lights, LED's is 90-cents...so what a savings."

The W-P-S serves over 700-thousand electric and natural gas customers in Northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

BIG FLATS - The Adams County Sheriff's Office believes a 62-year-old man set a mobile home on fire in Big Flats, north of Friendship, last Friday. The Sheriff's Office says that the body of the man's 92-year-old mother was likely still inside at the time, dead of an apparent gunshot wound.

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CONOVER - The first stretch of the Conover-Phelps trail may be ready in the fall.

Crews started carving out the first part of the trail, a 3.2 mile stretch, last week.

The trail starts at Community Park in Conover and continues across County Highway K to Highway 45. It runs 
parallel to the highway along old railway beds. The trail will end at Muskrat Creek Road in Conover.

The trail is for non-motorized vehicles except for snowmobiles, which will be allowed in the winter. 

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MARATHON COUNTY - Warren Rydell doesn't mind the buzz or stingers.

"You don't need to be afraid of bees, you just have to love them for what they are," said Rydell.

Rydell has raised bees since the 1980s. Now with 35 colonies and thousands of bees in Marathon County, he's produced hundreds of pounds of honey just this year.

"We're having success with it," said Rydell, who's with the Marathon County Beekeepers Association. "A little at a time. You make mistakes, but it's getting better."

But here and across the country, bee populations have been on the decline for years. Bees are important pollinators for the environment, which is why the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will meet next week to devise a pollinator protection plan.

"Whether people know it or not, for every three tablespoons of food you eat, two of those table spoons are produced by bees, and without them, we're not going to be able to feed people," said Rydell.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A stretch of Highway 8 in Oneida County will get smoother after some resurfacing over the next few months. The project started Monday on a section of the road between Rhinelander and Tomahawk. It's been several years since that area of Highway 8 has been repaved.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has asked Wisconsin's attorney general to take "immediate action" to protect ratepayers and workers from what the Republican presidential candidate calls "devastating impacts" of a new rule designed to cut greenhouse gases.

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HURLEY - Iron County officials say other developers with better qualifications than Gogebic Taconite are interested in mining ore in the Penokee Hills.

County Board members met last week with representatives from La Pointe Iron Co., which owns much of the land in northern Wisconsin that Gogebic Taconite tried to develop before pulling out in February.

One county board member says Gogebic Taconite's performance may make it harder for another developer to gain the public's trust.

He says county residents will likely remain divided on the mine because of environmental concerns.

But if state and federal regulators can guarantee the environment won't suffer, he says the mine might be worth pursuing because it could bring jobs to an area that desperately needs them.

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WOODRUFF - More than 9,000 firefighters spent the day Monday in California battling wildfires.

20 more from Northern Wisconsin will join that group this week.

Firefighters, along with students from Blackwell Job Corps left for Oregon Monday.

Students at Blackwell Job Corps near Laona have been learning how to fight wildfires.

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