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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Packers' Abbrederis WaivedSubmitted: 10/27/2016

GREEN BAY - Thursday evening, it was announced that Wisconsin native, Wisconsin Badger alum, and Green Bay Packer Jared Abbrederis has been waived.

According the the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wide receiver Abbrederis was waived on Thursday. He was placed on injured reserve on Monday due to a quad injury ever since the game with the Cowboys. From the article, Abbrederis negotiated an injury settlement and wanted to be waived immediately so it would help him potentially be picked up by another team.

Abbrederis was originally drafted by Green Bay in 2014 in the fifth round. He missed that whole season due to an ACL injury and then a big majority of the 2015 camp with a concussion.

This story will be updated if new information is released.

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RHINELANDER - It took 10 years, but Rhinelander may finally get the spark it needs to build a dog park.

An anonymous woman gave dog park advocate Tina Werres a $10,000 dollar donation recently.  Werres raised about $2,000 -- literally pennies at a time with donation jars -- over the last decade.

But many people didn't want to give a lot of money until a specific location was chosen.  Werres says she still doesn't have a spot approved, but this big donation puts her much closer to actually building a park.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - A spinoff in the Ashlee Martinson saga seems to have come to a close.

The man convicted of stealing from the home where Martinson killed her parents will spend a month in jail.

Mark Spietz, 39, of Kaukana, was sentenced in Oneida County Court on Thursday.

Back in August, a jury decided Spietz was guilty on four counts of burglary and theft.

According to the criminal complaint, Spietz took ATVs, bows, a tractor, a trailer and Jennifer Ayers' purse from the home. Spietz claimed he was securing the property for a company based in Arizona.

In court on Thursday, Spietz's wife, siblings and parents all testified to his character and work ethic. They testified Spietz is a good father to a seven-year-old son and two step-sons. They said he also takes care of his parents who have health problems.

Spietz's attorney said he believes his client is still innocent.

"I believe that Mark had he had intended to steal the ATVs he wouldn't have gone through the bother of finding the titles," said Spietz's attorney Brian Bennet. "I believe that a person doesn't commit burglaries in broad daylight with the name on the side of his truck or trailer."

However, the state said it didn't seem Spietz took responsibility for what he did. District Attorney Mike Schiek asked for jail time.

Judge Michael Bloom agreed. He recalled sentencing Ashlee Martinson.

"And I looked at her sitting right where you're sitting now, before I had to look an 18-year-old girl in the face and send her to prison for 23 years, and I told her, you had a choice," Judge Bloom said. "And Mr. Spietz, you as well had a choice."

Spietz will also spend 18 months on probation. He can serve his jail time in any county jail as long as he clears it with the Onieda County Sheriff's Office. He also received Huber privileges and will be allowed to go to work and help his parents during his jail time. 

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TOWN OF CRESCENT - Who should pay what to keep a Northwoods lake healthy?  That's -- in part -- the question people around Squash Lake near Rhinelander have debated for months now.

Some want to form a lake district to generate money, but not everyone is on board.  Supporters sent out a petition this summer and got more than 51 percent of landowners to say they support the district.

The organizers say the district fees would pay for DNR divers to clear Eurasian Water Milfoil, which costs around $20,000.  Those fees would cover a grant that's coming to an end.

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MADISON - A 74-year-old man will no longer face disturbing child pornography charges in Iron County.

Instead, Charles Raimondi is now charged in federal court, which could mean a harsher sentence if he's convicted.

Raimondi is accused having a five-year-old girl pose for sexually explicit pictures over a span of about two years.

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WOOD COUNTY - We now know the names of the people involved in a Wood County Crash that killed two people Tuesday afternoon.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department says the cars crashed head-on along Highway 80 in the Town of Dexter around 3:30.

71-year-old Barbara Baldwin of New Lisbon was driving one of the cars, and died in the crash.

Her passenger, 74 year old Louise Hemenway of New Lisbon, also died.

Another passenger in the car, 72-year-old Dona Sharp, was hurt....as was the driver of the second car, 30-year-old Greg Kopelke of Wisconsin Rapids.

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MADISON - A Department of Natural Resources review has found Wisconsin's fight against chronic wasting disease was hampered by funding as well as social and political factors.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Thursday the review found the state five years ago greatly de-emphasized killing deer in high-infection areas, a statewide feeding ban wasn't sought and prohibitions on carcass movement were complicated by expanding infection areas.

A new electronic deer harvest registration system has made collecting tissue samples harder, a marketing campaign to educate the public was discontinued due to cost and lack of money prevented surveys of public attitudes about CWD's spread.

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