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.
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.”
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.
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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