NEWS STORIES

Local interest in solar energy growingSubmitted: 08/19/2013

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EAGLE RIVER - No matter how high energy prices get, our dependence remains the same. We see alternative energy production booming in other parts of the country, but many people feel like it's just not that feasible here.

One Northwoods couple says it is. Kevin and Marta Church own K and M Services, Inc. They've become certified to install solar panels, and decided to start with their own home.

The churchs aren't completely off the grid. That means they produce their own energy during the day, and use energy from WPS at night. But since the installation last October, the energy they buy from WPS has gone from 1,700 kilowatts per hour, to 400.

When they made the change, they found a lot of people had questions about solar energy.

"Some of the misconceptions are we don't have enough sun. We're on the same latitude line as Germany, and they're the largest solar producer in the world. It's just a matter of trees in the area," says Kevin Church.

The couples 24 panel project cost about $32,000. They hope it will have paid for itself in seven years.

But projects can be on a much smaller scale; even as small as four panels for about $1,500.

Energy companies like WPS encourage people to look into their options.

"For customers that do install solar generation or wind generation, Wisconsin Public Service does have a specific program to buy back any excess energy produced by those programs. It's called our net metering program," says Leah Van Zile, says Wisconsin Public Service.

There are other incentives too. For example, the Churchs got $1,200 from Focus on Energy for their solar panel project. They also got a 30 percent federal tax credit.

The Churchs are among only a handfull of people certified to install solar panels in far Northern Wisconsin. But they say interest is picking up.



Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Easter weekend brings in more businessSubmitted: 04/19/2014

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MINOCQUA - Easter weekend normally brings in a lot of tourist.

For business owners, that means an increase in sales.

The Pine Cone Boutique in Minocqua says they've seen an increase in customers.

They're right off Highway 51 North, right next to McDonald's.

One of the sales associates just started working there.

But she could tell that business picked up quickly.

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Police rescued 22 animals from home Submitted: 04/19/2014

OSHKOSH - A Winnebago County woman has been arrested after authorities found nearly two dozen animals living in deplorable conditions in the Town of Clayton.

WGBA-TV reports that since Thursday, authorities have rescued 17 horses and five dogs from the home. Winnebago sheriff's detective Chris Braman says they did not look healthy.

Another three horses were found dead.

Cattle Rescue Inc. will be caring for the surviving horses. Director Bill Blemke says they are malnourished.

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Police investigate threatening letter Submitted: 04/19/2014

STOUGHTON - Police in Stoughton are investigating a threatening letter that was sent to a black teenager, with a photo that depicted him as the victim of a lynching.

The letter had a Madison postmark but no return address. The family told the newspaper it contained a photo showing two men hanging from a tree, with a mob watching. A picture of the 18-year-old was superimposed onto one of the men.

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Celebrating Easter in the snowSubmitted: 04/19/2014

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RHINELANDER - Snow on the ground can’t keep the Easter bunny away in the Northwoods.

Hundreds of kids and their families searched for Easter eggs in Rhinelander on Saturday.

“Even with the snow and the slush, they love running around and getting out there and getting the eggs,”said Nicole Polkowski, the Rhinelander Area Optimist Club president.

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Community fundraises for boy with rare diseaseSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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THREE LAKES - Imagine not being able to move your body.

That was the reality for a 4th grader from Three Lakes

Hunter St. Louis has a rare nerve disease called Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome makes your body attack nerve cells.

The messages from the brain can't get to the nerves.

So his body was unable to move.

Hunter had to go through seven plasma replacements.

And now he'll go through intense physical therapy.

Hunter is leaving the hospital Friday, but he still has a long road to full recovery.

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Wisconsin court to decide on testing drunk driversSubmitted: 04/18/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to decide whether police can legally draw suspected drunken drivers' blood without a warrant or driver consent.

The court said it would hear three drunken driving cases, two of which involved a homicide. That announcement came nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a Missouri case that could call into question Wisconsin's law.

Wisconsin since 1993 has granted police authority to draw drunken driving suspects' blood without a warrant or consent.

About 5,000 people refused to comply with police tests in 2011 and 2012.

The eventual rulings in the three cases are expected to clarify how law enforcement can gather evidence in some Wisconsin drunken driving cases.

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Survey shows fewer high school students drinking,smoking and having sexual intercourseSubmitted: 04/18/2014

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ACROSS WISCONSIN - A new survey released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction shows fewer high school students are smoking, drinking and having sex.

The 2013 Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey is taken every two years. It anonymously surveys more than 2800 students from more than 50 public school districts around Wisconsin.

The survey shows 12 percent of high school students had smoked a cigarette on one or more days in the past 30 days of the survey. That’s down from 32 percent in 1993.

Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Services Clinician, works with teenagers that suffer from alcohol and other drug addictions. She believes intervention programs have helped lead to declines.

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