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Rhinelander again welcomes American flag downtownSubmitted: 06/18/2013
Story By Adam Fox


RHINELANDER - A huge American flag flying over Rhinelander fills most of us with pride.

Last year, city leaders tried to put a flag up on the AT&T tower in downtown Rhinelander.

But it was too big.

AT&T is hoping this 15x25 foot flag will be a better fit.

Today was the third attempt to get a flag to fly on the downtown cell tower.

"Hopefully it will work and be successful," Blaine Oborn said. "I think it is going to be a great addition to the community because it really brings out that patriotic-ness and celebrates those who served in the military, and it makes recognition of our county."

The flag flew for about 15 minutes, then caught on itself and tangled.

But Rhinelander Mayor Dick Johns is still optimistic.

"I would have liked to have it up earlier, but it is beautiful today, Johns said. "I'm glad its here and I hope our problems are over with it."

The city plans on flying the flag all summer.

They'll likely take it down for the winter because the weather conditions make it difficult to maintain.

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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 
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"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.

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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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