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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

MIAMI BEACH, FLA - Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless has been arrested for allegedly firing two shots into the air during an argument outside a Miami Beach parking garage.

A witness told Miami Beach police that Quarless and three others pulled up to a car full of women early Saturday. An arrest affidavit says the football player and another man approached the car. The conversation eventually escalated and the witness told authorities he heard the women yelling for Quarless and his friend to leave them alone.

That's when authorities say Quarless pulled out a handgun and fired two shots in the air.

He was charged with discharging a firearm in public.

A call and emails to the Packers were not immediately returned Saturday.

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WAUSAU - A crash in Wausau left one man injured after his motorcycle collided with a van Friday night.

The Wausau Police Department got a call about a southbound crash around 9:00pm on Grand Avenue near Ruder Street.

A motorcycle was in the left lane and a van in the right. The 48-year-old Schofield woman driving the van said she didn't see the motorcycle in her blind spot. She hit the 43-year-old Schofield man on the motorcycle, who landed on the sidewalk. 

The man was not wearing a helmet. He was taken to Aspirus Hospital in Wausau.

The woman got two citations, one for not having insurance on the van and another for unsafe lane deviation.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Around 15,000 people came out to support the Boulder Junction Volunteer Fire Department Saturday.

The volunteer fire department held their 25th annual chicken barbeque fundraiser.

All money raised during the barbeque goes to the fire department to help with equipment upgrades and training.

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BOULDER JUNCTION - Parades and marching bands go hand in hand.

Boulder Junction has gone without one in their 4th of July parade for more than 20 years, but one marching band that is changing that tradition.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he and GOP legislative leaders have agreed to completely remove a part of the proposed state budget that would severely roll back the state's open records laws.

Walker announced the decision in a joint statement Saturday with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and the co-chairs of the joint budget committee.

The statement says the records proposal "will be removed from the budget in its entirety." They say the plan "was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way."

The restrictions, which Republicans slipped into the proposed budget late Thursday, would exempt nearly everything created by government officials from Wisconsin's open records law.

The statement says the Legislature will form a committee to study the issue and allow for public discussion.

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ANTIGO - Low temperatures this time of year can cause problems for some farmers. One Northwoods strawberry farm had to close down for a few hours earlier this week because the berries aren't ripening as fast as normal.

"The cold days this week made the berries ripen much slower than normal," says Andy Merry, owner of Merry's Berries.

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MADISON - Wisconsin could force drunk drivers to pay in more money to support SafeRide Home programs in the state.

Earlier this week, we told you the state was planning to kick in less money to support county SafeRide Home programs. The program offers free taxi rides home from bars.

A proposal passed by a Capitol committee on Thursday night could help SafeRide Home.

It would add a $50 surcharge to some OWI offenses. That money would go back into SafeRide Home programs.

The proposal is part of the state budget, which has yet to become law.

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