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NEWS STORIES

It's Time to Spring Forward-- and Check your Smoke DetectorsSubmitted: 03/09/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


RHINELANDER - Daylight savings time means we'll finally get a little more sunlight, but it's also the time firefighters want you to make sure your homes are safe.

Fire Departments recommend checking your smoke detector once a month. They also want people change the batteries twice a year. That's why daylight savings is the perfect time to remind people to do so.

"With fire situations in homes the earliest detection possible will save your life because a bad situation only keeps getting worse if you don't know the fire is going on it's easy to get possibly trapped, or in a situation you can't get out of. Or maybe get the rest of your family members out of your house in time," says Ryan Berghammer, from the Rhinelander Fire Department.

Firefighters say the worst mistake people make is taking out the batteries when something gets smoking in the kitchen, or stealing the batteries to use in other things. The smoke detector often gets left with the batteries out.

Another thing they want people to know is carbon monoxide detectors are NOT good indefinitely. Because of the sensors inside they last from five to seven years.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MOLE LAKE - When you drive through Mole Lake, you'll notice a lot of solar panels.

It's part of a project tribal leaders have worked on for more than a year, and they hope it will save the community a lot in energy costs.

Tribal leaders applied and received a couple million dollars in grants from the U.S. Energy Department and the Housing and Urban Development Department. Then they started working with a Pewaukee-based company called SunVest Solar, Inc., and started installing the panels on homes and businesses in 
September.

Now, they are almost done.

According to SunVest Solar, this is the largest per capital solar array installation in the Midwest. Tribal Administrator Jeff Ackley, Jr., says 50 homes and 17 businesses have solar panels.

"Most of the state of Wisconsin has less than one percent of its generation coming from solar and now you have a community where almost 50 percent of the homes get their power from the sun," said Adam Gusse, head of operations at SunVest Solar, Inc.

"I thought it would put us on the map," Ackley said.

Project leaders think the panels can produce up to 85 percent of power in homes and between 20 and 60 percent for businesses.

"It will be significant savings all around for the community," Ackley said. "From rough crunchings of numbers we're looking at probably saving between $60,000 and $80,000 per year on energy usage."

The first batch of panels turned on in November, and some people say they've already seen the savings.

"Some are seeing up to $100 in savings just after that first month," Gusse said. "So they'll see much more per month savings as they go on."

Gusse said the panels don't produce as much power in the winter as they will in the summer, but residents still save money.

Tribal leaders can apply for more grants to put panels on more homes. 

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ANTIGO - Two kids from Antigo should be sitting in their desks at school this week. But the Antigo Police Department says 11-year-old Averie Brown and 9-year-old Dalton Brown haven't been seen since Nov.18.

Police think their mother, 37-year-old Cathy Brown, who doesn't have custody of her children, illegally took the kids out of state.

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TOMAHAWK - Fishermen who like the Grandmother Flowage near Tomahawk needed to find a new place to fish this past fall.

The Packaging Corporation of America lowered the water level 14 feet to repair the dam there.

PCA owns the dam that controls the flowage.

The DNR recommended emptying the flowage a quarter inch per hour, which comes to about six inches per day.

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SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA - Two children taken from Antigo could be in South Dakota. The kids are thought to be with their non-custodial mother in the Black Hills area.

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THREE LAKES - Students in Three Lakes now have a new option for winter recess. This year the Three Lakes Park District donated an ice skating rink to the Three Lakes Elementary School. The Three Lakes Fire Department and other members of the community joined in to put the rink together.

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RHINELANDER - It seemed like Rhinelander could finally start looking for a new city administrator. But the City Council will now consider another option, one that could potentially create a longer wait to fill an important job.

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EAGLE RIVER - Patti Underhill spends her days crafting.

"Basically I like to sew," she said. "When I was young, I made my own Barbie doll clothes and my mom showed me how to sew."

It's a hobby that--now in her retirement--is paying off for Underhill in small ways. She is one of 29 vendors who volunteers her time to work in the Eagle River Serve Senior Craft Shop. Vendors keep 70 percent of the profits, and the other 30 percent goes back to the shop or includes sales tax.

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