NEWS STORIES

Propane costs keep going upSubmitted: 01/23/2014

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RHINELANDER - Many people use propane to heat their homes in the Northwoods.

It's typically an afforable alternative to other heating options.

But the cost of propane is reaching record highs.

The cost of a gallon of propane has gone up more than one dollar since Monday.

Prices locally range from 4.69 dollars per gallon all the way to 5.50 a gallon.

On Monday the price per gallon was less than three dollars.

A national propane shortage is causing the problem.

“The whole country’s cold. And a lot of the propane that’s manufactured comes
out of the South so they’re pulling it out of the pipelines faster than they
can get it here. They’re just using unprecedented amounts of fuel everywhere
else in the country so that’s why it’s driving up. Crazy,” said Wally Dahlquist
of Dahlquist Heating & Cooling.

Some local propane vendors had to close down early today because they couldn't
afford to pay the up front cost to their propane distributors.

High demand for propane causes distributors to raise prices in a short period
of time.

That means your propane bill could more than double compared to last month.

“The average home will use about 200 gallons of fuel a month this time of year.
The normal bills would have been 300 dollars but now you’re talking 800 dollars
so it’s gone up substantially,” said Dahlquist.

Some people are lowering their thermostats to save money.

Propane vendors say 200 gallons of propane will cost anywhere from 800 to 1,000
dollars.

That's forcing some people to look at other heating options to stay warm this
winter.




Story By: Karolina Buczek

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Duffy calls out veterans disability claims backlog, teams with congressional delegation to defend Milwaukee officeSubmitted: 04/22/2014

WISCONSIN - More than 350,000 American veterans have been waiting months or even years to get their disability benefits.

That backlog includes about 3,500 veterans under the umbrella of the Milwaukee Regional Office, which serves Wisconsin veterans.

The backlog is because of massive case of laggard claims processing across the nation.

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Oneida County Sheriff announces bid for general electionSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Sheriff Grady Hartman wants to keep his job for another four years.

The Oneida County Sheriff announced Monday he will run in the general election.

Governor Scott Walker appointed Hartman to the position in January 2013 when former Sheriff Jeff Hoffman retired.

Hartman has served in the Oneida County Sheriff's office for 15 years.

He was promoted to Sergeant in 2006.

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Northwoods man initially charged with homicide, takes plea deal Submitted: 04/22/2014

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - A Lac Du Flambeau man will take a plea deal before letting his case go to a jury.

31-year-old James Peterson was originally charged with first degree intentional homicide.

Witnesses told police he showed up to a party in 2013 with a knife and drunkenly started a fight, but other witnesses say Peterson was attacked.

Online records show Peterson accepted a plea deal in Vilas County court Monday.

He pleaded no contest to two lesser charges including hurting someone by carelessly using a weapon. He was also found guilty of a second OWI.

Peterson will face sentencing in August.

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Merrill looks to identify mission, major issues, future plans in first-ever strategic planSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MERRILL - What does a city see as its mission?

How does it address its biggest issues?

Where does it hope to go in the next few decades?

Leaders in Merrill want to answer those questions with their first-ever strategic plan.

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Northwoods students celebrate Earth DaySubmitted: 04/22/2014

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - People from all over the Northwoods celebrated Earth Day today. Students at Lac du Flambeau school participated in a natural resources fair today.

Classes, groups and individual students submitted projects to be judged. By doing the projects they learned the importance of Earth Day.

“Polluting could harm the earth and if that harms the earth later on we won't have a better earth to do stuff on like camping, or fishing, hiking and taking walks,” says Sky Risingsun, a Lac du Flambeau student.

35 projects were judged in the science competition. Each student was given a white spruce seed to take home and plant in their own yard.


“It's a white spruce which is a native tree to this area,” says Bryan Hoover, Lac du Flambeau Energy and Air Quality Coordinator. “We've got almost 500 of them and every student is going to take one home so that they can pick a spot in their yard to plant the new tree and watch that tree grow as it matures.”

This was the 2nd annual natural resources fair.

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Raising awareness about alcohol useSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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NORTHWOODS - People in Wisconsin love their beer, but alcohol is a big problem in the Northwoods. Experts want people to remember that alcohol is a drug and should never be abused.

Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system. Experts feel drinking here in the Northwoods has become too normalized.

“When you talk to people even from the Northwoods community alcohol goes hand in hand with family gatherings , graduation, prom, hunting, snowmobiling, recreational activities,” says Katie Kennedy, Options Counseling Service Clinician. “It's kind of created this normalized look at alcohol that it's okay to do that in these environments or in these situations when it actually really increases risks.”

It's not just adults that have alcohol problems. Kids under 21 are finding unique ways to abuse the drug. Some have even resorted to snorting alcohol as a means to get drunk faster.

“What happens anytime you ingest a substance as far as snorting like right into your nose it goes into your mucus membrane,” says Kennedy. “So instead of drinking alcohol whereas it's processed through your system it's a process, the alcohol goes immediately into your body into your blood stream it affects you a lot quicker.”

In 2012 Wisconsin was the number one state for binge drinking. That's according to the Center for Disease Control. April is alcohol awareness month.

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Trost aide: Walker to sign police billSubmitted: 04/22/2014

MADISON - An aide to a Wisconsin lawmaker says Gov. Scott Walker intends to sign a bill that would put outside agencies in charge of investigating officer-involved deaths.

Craig Trost, an aide to Rep. Chris Taylor, says in an email that Walker's office notified Taylor's office that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday.

Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, developed the legislation in response to three high-profile deaths in the last 10 years. None of those incidents resulted in criminal charges.

Supporters say the new requirements will counter claims that police protect their own from consequences of using deadly force. But police observers say the bill could create conflict and confusion for Wisconsin agencies that have traditionally done the investigations themselves.

The bill passed the Legislature earlier this year.

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