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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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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/31/2014

- The mining issue might deicide the winner of the 25th State Senate district. The huge district covers a large portion of northern Wisconsin. Two types of mines have caused controversy in the district: a proposed taconite mine in the north and sand mines in the west. Newswatch 12s Adam Fox sat down with both candidates; he'll have the story tonight.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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Homeless charity drive needs helpSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - The Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing needs your help taking care of the homeless. The alliance helps homeless people in Lincoln, Langlade, Forest, Oneida, and Vilas counties. Organizers just started the Everybody Deserves Shelter Campaign. Local businesses are helping run the campaign.

"We are working at establishing businesses ,within our hopefully five counties that we serve, that will offer customers and employees the chance to make a nominal one dollar donation," said NATH Executive Director Tammy Modic.

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Man gets 40 year prison sentence for shooting deputySubmitted: 10/31/2014

MEDFORD - A 29-year-old man will spend 40 years in prison for shooting a Taylor County sheriff's deputy after getting sentenced in court Friday.

Police say Alexander Schneider told them he aimed for the deputy's face when he shot him in September 2013.

The deputy went to Schneider's house in Rib Lake to talk with him about a violated restraining order. Schneider refused to come outside. He then shot at the deputy through the front door.

He will be on extended supervision for 20 years once he gets out of prison.

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25th Senate candidates differ over mining law, agree on importance of broadband and educationSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - The mining issue might decide the winner of the 25th State senate district. The huge district covers a large portion of northern Wisconsin stretching from parts of Vilas County to parts of Barron County. Two types of mines have caused controversy in the district. A proposed taconite mine in the north, and sand mines in the west.

Gogebic Taconite is proposing a four-mile open pit taconite mine in Ashland and Iron County. Project leaders say the project will lead to 700 direct jobs, as well as numerous spillover jobs because of the construction of the mine.

Republicans rewrote and passed the state's mining law in 2013. Many believe the rule change weakened water protections, but Republican candidate Dane Deutsch doesn't agree.

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Hire me then fire me, Northwoods candidate for State Treasurer wants to eliminate positionSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - Hire me then fire me. That's what a Northwoods candidate for State Treasurer wants voters to do.

Jerry Shidell is a libertarian from Rhinelander. You'll find his name on the ballot for State Treasurer. He plans on getting rid of the job.

Shidell says the treasurer doesn't have many responsibilities and the position costs too much.

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Homeless charity drive needs helpSubmitted: 10/31/2014

RHINELANDER - The Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing needs your help taking care of the homeless. The alliance helps homeless people in Lincoln, Langlade, Forest, Oneida, and Vilas counties. Organizers just started the Everybody Deserves Shelter Campaign. Local businesses are helping run the campaign.

"We are working at establishing businesses ,within our hopefully five counties that we serve, that will offer customers and employees the chance to make a nominal one dollar donation," said NATH Executive Director Tammy Modic.

+ Read More
Milwaukee police vote 'no confidence' in chiefSubmitted: 10/31/2014

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee police have taken a vote that expresses no confidence in their chief after he fired a white officer who shot and killed a black man in a downtown park.

Union president Mike Crivello announced Friday that about 99 percent of the votes expressed no confidence in Chief Edward Flynn.

He did not say how many of the union's 1,600 officers voted, only that it was a majority.

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