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NEWS STORIES

Local interest in solar energy growingSubmitted: 08/19/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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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.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
Old Sacred Heart Hospital demolition underwaySubmitted: 08/21/2014

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TOMAHAWK - It appears work on a new senior care facility in Tomahawk is underway.

Crews have begun tearing down the old Sacred Heart Hospital on East Washington Avenue.

Milestone Senior Living bought the property at the end of May.

It will build a 40-unit facility on the site. The facility will include 20 assisted living units and a 20-bed memory care center.

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Forest County will get a new ATV trailSubmitted: 08/21/2014

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FOREST COUNTY - ATV riders in Forest County will get a new stretch of trail to ride on.

The trail will connect the City of Crandon to the International Off-Road Raceway.

The new trail will run on the existing snowmobile trail that runs along Highway 8.That trail is already on an old road bed.

Project leaders believe it will give ATVers more access to the city, brush run and county trails.

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Medical In-Service in RhinelanderSubmitted: 08/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - Classroom aids and school secretaries need to know how to do basic first aid.

That's because the School District of Rhinelander only has one nurse. And, it's difficult for her to help everyone in case of an emergency.

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Ride to honor fallen firefighters SaturdaySubmitted: 08/21/2014

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MERRILL - A group of motorcyclists will ride 85 miles this weekend to raise money for the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Red Knights Chapter 5 based in Rhinelander is a motorcycle group made up of firefighters and EMS professionals. The 5th annual Ride for the Memorial will honor fallen firefighter Steve Fritz.

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2 companies settle with Wisconsin in scam lawsuitSubmitted: 08/21/2014

MADISON - Two out-of-state companies have agreed to pay $50,000 to consumers and Wisconsin after the state sued them for scamming people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and airline tickets.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1BFttCd ) the state Department of Justice announced the settlement Wednesday. It had accused Texas-based Green Palm Vacations and Arizona-based Perfekt Marketing of promising people free airline tickets and gift cards that consumers often didn't receive.

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No camping reservations neededSubmitted: 08/21/2014

NORTHWOODS - You might find it easier to get a campsite at a national forest campground for Labor Day Weekend.

There are nearly 50 campgrounds to choose from across the across Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Reserved sites at campgrounds within the area are actually the exception rather than the rule. Assistant Ranger of Recreation Land Evan Miller explains why those not making reservations have the advantage.

"In the state of Wisconsin, the National Forest manages about 1,200 campsites over 49 different campgrounds," said Miller. "Of those, about 75 percent are first-come, first-serve. So individuals who are here first will have the first pick. The other 25 percent are reservable through Reserve USA."

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Former volunteer fire department treasurer facing charges for stealing money Submitted: 08/21/2014

LITTLE RICE - Little Rice town leaders accuse a 34-year-old Tomahawk woman of stealing from their volunteer fire department.

According to the criminal complaint, RaginaMarie Reimert transferred money from the department's account to her husband's account that they share.

Reimert faces two charges in Oneida County. She was the former treasurer of the Little Rice Volunteer Fire Department.

Reimert is charged with misconduct of her office and theft.

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