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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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 IN OTHER NEWS

PRICE COUNTY - Some of us owe a lot to our health clinics for keeping us healthy enough to celebrate our birthday every year.

But one local health operation celebrates a big birthday of its own this year.

Marshfield Clinic turns 100 this December, but  the clinics in Price County celebrated the milestone on Friday.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - When people found a woman's body in Lac du Flambeau, police first thought she committed suicide -- something Newswatch 12 does not cover.

But Friday, the Vilas County Sheriff's Office confirmed it is investigating the 45-year-old woman's death as suspicious.

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MADISON - Chronic wasting disease has turned up in a deer in another northern Wisconsin county.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection announced that a deer on an Oconto County hunting preserve tested positive for the disease.

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RHINELANDER - Almost 12,000 people took a trip into history this year. But you only have one more day to check out the Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander. The museum closes for the season Saturday.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - If you want to escape car exhaust, streetlights, and sirens, people in Oneida County know you don't need to pack for an extended trip.

Tucked away in western Oneida County, the Willow Flowage offers outdoor enthusiasts a year-round playground.

With 27,000 acres of undeveloped land and 6,000 acres of pristine water, the Willow Flowage reminds a lot of people of Canada...almost.

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Rhinelander Homecoming parade Submitted: 09/30/2016

RHINELANDER - Construction did not stop Hodag pride Friday night.

Green and white spilled into downtown for Rhinelander's homecoming celebration.

The dance team showed off its moves and the football team rolled down Brown Street.

The homecoming parade got students, parents, and even grandparents to come out in support.

"I am here to see my grandson, he is on the court, "said Elsa Burke.

Hodag jerseys and green facepaint lined the street as the RHS band and flag twirlers marched.

There definitely was a lot to look at, but football seemed to be the only thing on some people's minds.

"To see the Hodags come home with a W. That would be good," said RHS student Jacob Mahner.

The varsity football game kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight against the Medford Raiders.



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MADISON - A judge has ordered an investigation into whether transportation officials have been denying people temporary photo ID to vote.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson issued the order Friday after media reports surfaced that transportation officials refused to issue a temporary ID to a man without a birth certificate.

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