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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
Walker slightly ahead of Burke in new pollSubmitted: 10/01/2014

MADISON - With less than five weeks until Election Day, a new poll shows Gov. Scott Walker is slightly ahead of Democrat Mary Burke in the race for Wisconsin governor.

The Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday shows Walker with 50.5 percent support among likely voters compared with 44.7 percent for Burke.

That 5.8-point lead is just above the poll's 4.5 percentage point margin of error.

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Tour and workshop to help businesses draw more customers to Northwoods Submitted: 10/01/2014

VILAS COUNTY - The beautiful scenery, resorts, and other attractions draw many tourists to the Northwoods.

Local businesses want to keep it that way.

While the summer season wrapped up a month ago, some businesses are already thinking about next summer.

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Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra visits RhinelanderSubmitted: 10/01/2014

RHINELANDER - Sounds of Mozart, Beethoven and Rossini filled Rhinelander High School's auditorium Wednesday. Those same sounds were in concert Wednesday night.

Students attended a concert by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra that morning.

The Northwoods Concert Association brought the symphony into town. They were able to play at the high school thanks to the Hodag Schools Foundation.

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Young eagles struggling to find foodSubmitted: 10/01/2014

RHINELANDER - Birds of prey in the Northwoods could struggle to find food this fall. Young eagles in particular are struggling to feed right now. Animal rehabilitation groups have seen spikes in the number of starving eagles this year. The late start to the spring may be one of the problems.

"It's not the most amount of eagles that we've ever had, but it's the largest amount of starved juvenile eagles that we've ever had," said Wild Instincts Director Mark Naniot. "We saw a lot of the eagle chicks coming in that were very small compared to what we usually see. They normally fledge around the 4th of July or about a week before they start leaving the nest. We were getting some that were not even close to leaving the nest at the end of July."

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Craft brewing discussion teaches public about beer industrySubmitted: 10/01/2014

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MINOCQUA - Brewing craft beers in Wisconsin gets more popular every year. People always want to learn more about it.

Minocqua Brewing Company turned into a classroom for beer enthusiasts Wednesday night. Experts from around the state shared the history and science of making beer in Wisconsin.

People could also learn how big of an industry brewing is turning into.

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Police looking for suspect in a theft of 23 carsSubmitted: 10/01/2014

EVEREST AREA - Everest Metro Police want to find who tried to steal from 23 cars in the past week. Almost all the cars were left unlocked.

Some car owners lost money and other property. Some of the cars were inside an unlocked garage.

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DNR begins Little Rice dam repairs, some homeowners unhappy about water levelsSubmitted: 10/01/2014

CRANDON - The Wisconsin DNR will start repairing the Little Rice dam this month.

But in order to do their work, the agency will have to lower water levels earlier than usual and that's upset some people living on the water.

The dam was built in the 1930s.

"There's leaks, there's chips and cracks and it was time to do some major repair," says DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz.

The structure creates the Little Rice Flowage by damming the Wolf River just outside of Crandon.

The DNR started lowering water levels in the flowage Wednesday to repair the dam.

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