NEWS STORIES

Local interest in solar energy growingSubmitted: 08/19/2013

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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.



Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
House demolished to make way for new construction project Submitted: 04/16/2014

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MINOCQUA - Imagine seeing the home you grew up in being torn down to make way for a construction project. That's exactly what happened to one family in Minocqua. Here's a look today as they began tearing down the house.
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Students could move to high school earlier Submitted: 04/16/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - A Northwoods school district could move students to middle and high school earlier than usual.

The Northland Pines school district is considering moving 5th graders to the middle school.

They might also move 7th and 8th graders to the high school.

If passed, the plan would take place in two phases over the next two school years.

The first phase would move 5th graders from Land O' Lakes and St. Germain Elementary schools to Eagle River Elementary starting during the 2014-2015 school year.

The school hopes this would improve students' education.

5th graders at Land O' Lakes and St. Germain Elementary schools have one 5th grader teacher teaching all subjects.

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Prosecuting sex traffickers, giving victims better rightsSubmitted: 04/16/2014

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WAUSAU - More people, including children, could be forced into prostitution.

Officials in Marathon county worry sex trafficking is growing in Wisconsin.

But a new bill could help police crack down on sex traffickers.

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Meth bust in town of Pine LakeSubmitted: 04/16/2014

RHINELANDER - Police arrested four people in a meth bust near Rhinelander.

The Oneida County Sheriff’s Department says the bust went down yesterday in the town of Pine Lake.

Arrested were 38 year old Gerry Frederick, 55 year old Thomas Franz, 40 year old Scott Dumpprope and 46 year old Carrie Steinmetz.

Potential charges include conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine and maintaining a drug house.

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Meet Minocqua's newly appointed Chief of Police Submitted: 04/16/2014

MINOCQUA - The Minocqua police department could have a new police chief in early May. David Jeager has been the acting chief of police since October.

He will undergo a background check, drug screening, and psychological exam before he is named the current chief of police. He would be replacing former Police Chief Andy Gee. Jeager is excited about what the future may bring.

"I'm extremely excited," says Minocqua acting Police Chief David Jeager. "I believe that this department has great potential and we have a great group of people working for this department,” says Jeager.

“We have great officers, we have great dispatchers, we have great administration.I feel that we can really provide a service to this community that's second to none,” says Jeager.

Jeager has worked in law enforcement for more than 20 years. He's worked at the Minocqua Police Department for 6 years.

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Northwoods landfill increases recyclingSubmitted: 04/16/2014

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RHINELANDER - A landfill near Rhinelander saw more recycling last year.

The Oneida County Solid Waste Department had an increase in recycled materials in 2013.

People might be buying more because of an improving economy, but that's not the only reason for the increase.

The contracts from disposal companies also play a major role.

"The contract for the city of Rhinelander had come up and it was re-bid," said Oneida County Solid Waste Superintendent Brian Dutcher. "Northern Waste at the time was awarded that bid or that contract. All of the materials that they picked up for the city came out here."

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Artists, engineers combine for campus, national paper venture in northcentral WisconsinSubmitted: 04/16/2014

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STEVENS POINT - College and professional artists need special cotton-fiber paper for painting, drawing, and printing.

UW-Stevens Point's art students bought that expensive paper from traditional European mills for years.

Meanwhile, UWSP’s Paper Science and Engineering Department taught students about the papermaking business on its huge paper machine just a building away on campus.

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