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

Local interest in solar energy growing
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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RHINELANDER - Eighth-grader Alexx Huff doesn't practice half-court shots much.

At the end of basketball practice, he's usually too tired to try and make 40-footers. But Huff had plenty of energy two weeks ago, when he stepped onto the court during halftime of a varsity basketball game in Rhinelander.

"I'm really nervous, I'm really shaky," Huff said, remembering the night. "There's a lot of people watching."

Huff was randomly selected to take part a shooting contest held during every game. The contest ends with a half-court shot.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/15/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Olson Memorial Library in Eagle River held a grand RE-opening that shows patience and perseverance pays off. We talk to the Library Foundation president and vice-president as well as Governor Scott Walker who attended the event.

We'll show you a half-court basketball shot a Rhinelander eighth-grader made that won money for him and raised money the Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation.

And tonight on Friday Night Blitz we'll bring you scores from high school games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following basketball games:

Phelps vs. Laona Wabeno (Boys and Girls)

Rhinelander vs. Northland Pines (Boys and Girls)

Elcho vs. Crandon (Boys)


That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll bring you all this and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MINOCQUA - Earlier this month, the Minocqua Fire Department celebrated the opening of its new fire station. 

Now, thanks to a Northwoods couple, the fire department has yet another thing to celebrate. 

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MADISON - A drug distributor from California hoped to flood northern Wisconsin with meth to create more addicts.  Now, Marcos Castaneda faces life in federal prison.

Castaneda, 37, pleaded guilty in federal court in Madison for providing nearly $6 million of meth between 2013 and 2016.

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RHINELANDER - The first batch of showed up at Rhinelander Brewery Thursday.
This moves Rhinelander a step closer to brewing beer here for the first time since the 1960s.
Thursday the brewery got its brew kettle, six fermenters and a storage tank.

The brewery will have a ten tap system and wants five of the beers to be made in Rhinelander.
The rest will come from a brewery in Monroe that currently brews its beer.
"Really excited that it's coming to fruition and the people have been waiting a long time for us to be making beer here. We're going to make some small batch craft beer," said Rhinelander Brewery gift shop manager Brenda O' Rourke. 

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