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NEWS STORIES

More details on WPS plan to bury power linesSubmitted: 07/26/2013
Story By Lex Gray


RHINELANDER - We learned more today about Wisconsin Public Services' five-year, $220 million project.

WPS doesn't want its customers to be out of power, so it will bury more than 1,000 miles of power lines underground.

The company chose mostly rural areas, like Vilas and Oneida counties, for the project.

That's because those areas have lots of trees that can fall on power lines during storms.

In the '50s, it wouldn't be uncommon for someone in the Northwoods to rack up days without power every year.

Thanks to efforts like tree-trimming, that number is way down.

"Today, we're talking minutes per year. There are still customers in the Northwoods that are still in hours per year, significant hours," said Richard Reitz, a WPS engineer. "We're targeting those areas where we can make the biggest improvement."

In 2014, WPS will bury lines in Minocqua and Boulder Junction.

They will also work on Highway 70 east of Eagle River.

Post Lake, Elcho, and Pelican Lake are also on the list for 2014, along with sections of Highway 101 in Wabeno.

In most places, existing poles and wires will be removed. Many lines will be bored 36 inches under the ground, while ther parts of the project will be a little messier.

"Other areas, we'll have to do some backhoe work," Reitz said. "We try to avoid backhoe work because it's mroe costly and there's more clean-up involved."

WPS has already contacted property owners who will be affected by the 2014 work.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
20 flu-related hospitalizations in Wisconsin so far in OctoberSubmitted: 10/22/2014

MADISON - State health officials say the flu season is off to a strong start in Wisconsin.

State epidemiologist Thomas Haupt says influenza hospitalizations have been unexpectedly on the rise in October. 20 people have been hospitalized in the past three weeks. Haupt tells WISN-TV (http://bit.ly/1wo5JOD ) one or two hospitalizations are common this time of year, but not 20.

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Integrys declines Eaglewatch bidSubmitted: 10/22/2014

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ST. GERMAIN - The winner of a huge Northwoods land auction will end up getting nothing.

The parent company of Wisconsin Public Service won't go through with the sale of its large lakefront property, Eaglewatch, in St. Germain.

Integrys declined a $3.8 million bid for the 187-acre property.

It held the auction last month to sell off the land.

That property also has 10,000 feet of lake frontage.

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Asian carp DNA found in Green Bay's Fox RiverSubmitted: 10/22/2014

GREEN BAY - Wisconsin wildlife officials say Asian carp DNA has been found in the Fox River in downtown Green Bay.

The state Department of Natural Resources says a single positive sample for silver carp was identified from 200 samples taken this summer in the Fox, a tributary of Lake Michigan.

The discovery by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was in the heart of the city, and was part of a survey that started at the mouth of the river and ended about five miles upstream.

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State water use declines in 2013Submitted: 10/22/2014

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STATEWIDE - Cooler temperatures helped the state use less water in 2013 than it did in 2012.

The state DNR found Wisconsin's groundwater and surface withdrawals dropped by 6% from the year before.

Power generation makes up 74% of the state's water use.

Cooler temperatures in 2013 meant power plants didn't need to use as much water to cool down equipment.

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Volunteers needed for new community warming centerSubmitted: 10/22/2014

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MERRILL - The first community warming center in Merrill is set to open in less than two weeks. However, Merrill Area United Way organizers still need volunteers to help manage the center.

The group recently re-fit the former Lincoln Community Bank Drive-Thru on W. Main Street in Merrill to serve as the center. It will help homeless people stay warm from November to April at night. The Lincoln County Homelessness Task Force reported more than 20 homeless living in the area as recently as July.

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Many Northwoods voters will consider whether to accept federal BadgerCare moneySubmitted: 10/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Voters in Oneida, Lincoln, Florence, and Iron Counties will tell the state whether it should accept federal money to expand BadgerCare.

That's Wisconsin's health insurance program for low-income people.

Gov. Scott Walker rejected federal money offered by the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama promised that money would cover at least 90% of the cost of expansion for years into the future.

Walker has said Wisconsin can't trust the federal government to keep paying the money.

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President Obama scheduled to campaign for Burke on TuesdaySubmitted: 10/22/2014

MADISON - A date has been set for President Barack Obama's campaign stop in Milwaukee next week with Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke.

Burke's campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki says that Obama will be with Burke on Tuesday. The president's stop comes as Burke is locked in a tight race against Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

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