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WPS Proposes a Price Increase in Utility RatesSubmitted: 03/29/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer

ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - You probably turned up the heat this winter. And you may not have thought how that could impact your bill in years to come. But utility companies estimate future rate increases due to previous usage. And that could mean bigger bills in the future.

Wisconsin Public Service is proposing an increase on utility rates. Rates have remained relatively stable over the past five years. But the increase would have an effect.

"That would really only equate to a dollar, over the last six years, a dollar per month increase. Overall, electric rates are staying fairly stable," says Leah Van Zile, WPS Community Relations.

WPS has proposed the increase based off estimates of what costs will be in the future. In past years, over estimates means customers actually saved money.

"That has resulted in very, very minimal impacts, if any. For example, residential customers, they have only seen a less than a one half percent [increase] over the last five years. And actually, natural gas prices have gone down," says Van Zile.

But the increase isn't set in stone yet. It's a long process to before you'll see a change in your utility bill.

"Because of how the process works, it's really an eighteen month process from start of planning what we might do to what the actual decision is," says Van Zile.

In fact, just last year a rate increase was proposed. But rates never rose. If WPS does raise the rates, you won't notice until your January bill.





WPS announced today it has filed a request for a rate increase with state regulators.

It is asking for a 7.4 percent bump in electric rates starting next year.

A 5.6 percent increase is in the works for natural gas.

WPS says the company's electric rates have been relatively flat in recent years, and that gas rates have actually fallen.

It will be up to the state public service commission to decide what rate increase will be allowed, if any.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander will be able to cast their November election ballots starting on Friday.
It's the earliest people in Wisconsin have ever been able to vote.

The absentee ballots are stacked and ready for Friday at the Rhinelander City Clerk's office.
To make the early voting process go as smoothly as possible, you will need to come prepared.

"When you come in make sure that you're registered. That is important. Make sure you're registered in the city if you're coming into us," said Clerk Valerie Foley.

Registering is easy; all you need is a photo ID and proof of residence.
The registration form takes a couple of minutes, and then you will be able to fill out an election ballot.

"I think it is going to be a very busy day. I think people are pretty interested in the issues. And I think a lot of them would like to get and make sure they can vote if they're not certain they're going to make it to the polls in November or not," said Foley.

The clerk's office has already sent out about 200 ballots to people who have requested them.

Now, it is preparing for the early voter in-person rush.

If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or where to go for early voting, the clerk's office suggests voters visit myvote.wi.gov for more information.



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CONOVER - Vilas County could see more ATVs on the road. 

Complaints about the popular sport decreased within the last year as safety precautions increased. 

"It's just a good way to get together and have a good time with a lot of comradery," said President of the Landover ATV/UTV Club Roger Flaherty.

Flaherty started the Landover ATV club in 2001 with him and his grandson as the first members. 

Now the club has over 300 members.

 His grandson is the trail boss and is responsible for making sure riders stay safe, by putting up road and route signs. Keeping riders safe was an important part of the clubs growth.

"Well it makes me feel really good it's an accomplishment.

 I was told many times it would never happen and I heard "no" so [many times] I didn't think there was any alternative word," said Flaherty. 

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RHINELADER - Nicolet College selected two students to represent the technical college this school year as student ambassadors.

Faculty members first nominated the students, then they interviewed for the positions.

District Student Ambassador, Samantha Zalewski, from Sayner, says this is an opportunity for her to give back to the college.

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EAGLE RIVER - The streets in Eagle River got an extra wash on Tuesday and not just from the rain.

The Light and Water Utility spent most of the day flushing fire hydrants.

The city flushes the hydrants twice a year, once in the spring and fall.

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RHINELANDER - Firefighters never know exactly what to expect from a house fire, but they do know the safety of people and animals come first.

On Monday, local firefighters rescued Emmy, a house cat, from her home in Sugar Camp.

"We actually have a pet rescue kit, it's an oxygen mask that we can put over their snout, their nose and mouth, and we can apply oxygen to them that way," said Pine Lake firefighter Blake Jensen.

The rescue kit worked, and Emmy regained her energy and gave her rescuers hope.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 09/27/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Yesterday two people safely escaped a fire that badly damaged a house in Sugar Camp. It turned out that a cat could have been a victim, but the cat was rescued by a firefighter. We'll bring you details and show you the cat that was slightly injured and is recovering.

We'll tell you about a Plaza that might be built in Boulder Junction.

And you'll hear from the Rhinelander city clerk on preparations for early voting which begins this Friday.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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TOWN OF LITTLE RICE - Dennis Schoeneck's pickup truck sloshes through muddy logging roads these days.  But he'd prefer it if a much larger truck could even make it down the path.

"Heck, I think you could spit and make mud here," the Enterprise Forest Products owner said Tuesday morning.

Foot-deep ruts make up most of the logging road leading back to 23 acres of private land the long-time logger harvests in the western Oneida County town of Little Rice.  Schoeneck started logging professionally in 1979 and says 2016 has been "exceptionally wet" compared to any other year.

"The old adage, make hay while the sun shines, that's not just for farmers," Schoeneck said.  "That's for us too."

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