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NEWS STORIES

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


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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LANSING, MI - People will eventually be able to hike or bike from Ironwood, Michigan all the way to Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced the plans for the trail in 2012, and just this week, the trail got its name.

It will be called the Iron Belle Trail.

The Michigan DNR held a 3-week trail naming contest this past fall.

It got nearly 9,000 entries.

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Ford recalls 220,000 vehiclesSubmitted: 01/28/2015

NATIONWIDE - Ford announced on Wednesday it's recalling 220,000 cars for safety reasons.

But one local dealer Newswatch 12 spoke with says car owners likely won't be able to get their cars fixed until March.

That's because Ford needs to make the part to fix one of the issues and then send it to the dealers. Ford told the dealer Newswatch 12 spoke with that the parts won't be delivered until March.

The company is recalling certain 2010 to 2013 Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and Ford Police Interceptor sedans.

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RACINE - Gov. Scott Walker says he's planning trips soon to important 2016 presidential primary states of South Carolina, Nevada and Florida.

Walker told reporters in Racine on Wednesday that he wants to see if his message is resonating with voters around the country before he decides on whether to run for president.

Walker on Tuesday took the first formal step in a presidential run by creating a tax-exempt group that can raise unlimited amounts of money to help boost his effort.

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WASHINGTON, DC - The director of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Tomah says he had already taken steps to address reports of overmedication of patients before federal officials announced a review of prescription practices at the Wisconsin facility.

Tomah VA director Mario DeSanctis says his staff began looking into the unusually high rate of opiate prescriptions in 2012. In an interview with the La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/1BxJtoY ) this week, DeSanctis says steps to institute solutions to the problem have already been taken.

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MADISON - A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging Republican Gov. Scott Walker to reconsider his decision to reject a Menominee Tribe casino in Kenosha.

Ten lawmakers, including Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, sent Walker the letter Wednesday.

Walker said Friday he was not going to approve the $800 million casino, citing concerns over potential losses to the state due to terms of a compact with the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe.

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HURLEY - Cars in line wrap around block after block on the snowy streets of Hurley.

"Well, I got here at 11:15, and now I'm through the line, and it's 1:30," says Cindy Brannigan. "But it's worth it."

She calls this time of each month, the last week, "the hard time" for many families in the area. The next paycheck or Social Security check is a week away.

Sometimes, the food supply at home is almost gone.

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EAGLE RIVER - In school, kids learn not only how to read and write but also how to be good neighbors. A Northwoods school joined a national effort this week to show kindness to each other and the community.

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