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NEWS STORIES

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

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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.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
Snowmobile safety class held this weekendSubmitted: 12/21/2014

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Riding a snowmobile can be dangerous if you don't know the rules of the trails.

That's why some people went through a snowmobile safety course on Saturday and Sunday.

The course was held at the Sloan Community Center in Lake Tomahawk.

The New-Tom Snow Fleas and the Oneida County Sheriff's office held the course.

A recreational safety officer from the sheriff's office taught the class.

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Santa gets extra help from volunteer fire department while delivering presentsSubmitted: 12/21/2014

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PINE LAKE - Santa normally gets help from elves to make Christmas presents for kids, but in Pine Lake he had help from a local volunteer fire department Sunday.

The Pine Lake Fire Department normally puts its sirens on in an emergency, but this time it was to help Santa bring joy to families who need it the most.

"It is really neat to see the kids when we come pulling into their driveway and they see Santa Claus getting off the fire truck with a big bag of presents. It is really neat to see their faces," said Operation Ho Ho Ho organizer Lynn Larson.

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Lincoln County Sheriff's Office finds body of missing Merrill man Submitted: 12/21/2014

LINCOLN COUNTY - The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office found the body of a missing Merrill man yesterday afternoon.

Jeffrey Maruska has been missing since early November.

The sheriff's office found his body with the help of cadaver dogs.

Maruska was found in a wooded area east of where he lived.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is still investigating.

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People in Sugar Camp support local dog rescue organization Submitted: 12/21/2014

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SUGAR CAMP - The number of dogs euthanized a year dropped dramatically. The Humane Society of the United States estimates the number of dogs and cats euthanized decreased from 12-20 million to 3-4 million per year, but about 2.7 million healthy sheltered animals aren't adopted.

That's why people in Sugar Camp wanted to keep a rescue organization running.

"It Matters to One" saves dogs from high-kill shelters who are on the euthanasia list. One of the founders of the organization travels to California to rescue the dogs.

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Off-duty bouncer severely beaten in MadisonSubmitted: 12/20/2014

MADISON - An off-duty bouncer at a Madison bar has severe injuries after he was beaten by two customers.

Police say the 21-year-old bouncer at The City Bar was entering the men's restroom early Saturday when he saw two men with a white powdery substance. Police say one of the men ingested the substance.

The bouncer told the men he was going to notify a manager, and he was attacked. The men left with three other males.

Police say the bouncer was taken to a hospital where he was treated for a broken nose, a fractured orbital socket and a facial laceration that required stitches.

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Scientists from UW-Madison win 'Amazing Race'Submitted: 12/20/2014

MADISON - A team of ``Sweet Scientists'' from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has become the latest winner of ``The Amazing Race.''

Amy DeJong and Maya Warren won $1 million and beat out three other teams in the last leg of the race from Manila in the Philippines to Los Angeles.

The finale of the CBS show's 25th season was broadcast Friday night. In the show, Warren jumped from a window like a stunt actor, and DeJong competed in a grueling memorization challenge.

Warren says she wanted to inspire people and show others that she and DeJong were ``much more than lab coats and goggles.''

The ``Sweet Scientists'' team is named for DeJong and Warren's research topics of candy and ice cream.

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Rhinelander Railroad Association members put on Christmas train displaySubmitted: 12/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - Members of the Rhinelander Railroad Association want more kids to get into model trains.

That's one of the reasons they have a train display in Rhinelander.

People had the chance to stop by and look at the display on Saturday.

"We do this to try to encourage the kids to get into model trains and later they can get into the bigger stuff that's a little bit more complicated," says the club's president Jim Brown.

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