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NEWS STORIES

Propane costs keep going upSubmitted: 01/23/2014

Karolina Buczek
Reporter/Anchor
kbuczek@wjfw.com


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.




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 IN OTHER NEWS

VILAS COUNTY - Earlier this month, legislators put a proposal into the state budget that would take away a county's ability to make its own shoreline zoning regulations. Here in the Northwoods, two counties have come out against that proposal.

If the state budget went through as it's written right now, individual counties and lake associations could lose their power to set zoning regulations. That's a big issue for many in the Northwoods. Vilas County alone has 1,300 lakes. The proposal has caused great concerns.

"The concern was that the proposal had the potential for doing great damage to the environment, had the potential for causing a severe problem as far as assessment procedures, and generally was opposed by the citizens-the residents-of this county," said Chuck Hayes, a Vilas County supervisor.

Vilas and Oneida counties both held board meetings last week. Both counties voted to ask for removal of zoning changes from the budget. They argue the issue of shoreline zoning was never given any time to be discussed.

"At the very least, I think the public should have had a chance to weigh in on this issue that affects the environment," said Hayes. "The counties, the municipalities and individual residents, their opinion wasn't sought on this. It was simply put in."

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/30/2015

- Find out how a local group is trying to help the endangered Monarch Butterfly population.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group wants to protect an endangered butterfly. The Monarch March works to save the beautiful monarch butterflies.

The butterfly is in danger because people remove milkweed from their yards. Milkweed is also removed from public ground spaces as well.

Monarchs need milkweed for food and a place to lay their eggs.

"That's the problem with the monarch; it only survives on milkweed," said Paula Larson, founder of Monarch March. "So every time you cut down milkweed, every time the highway mows down all the milkweed on the sides of the roads, they are killing hundreds of caterpillars."

A major part of the work done by Monarch March is to collect eggs and raise them until they become butterflies. The process takes about four to five weeks.

Leaders of the group believe everyone can do simple things to protect the butterflies.

"Do not cut down milkweed; plant milkweed. It's really good for gardens to become a butterfly habitat," said Larson.

The new butterflies should hatch in about two weeks. An exhibit with the caterpillars can be seen at Curran Professional Park in Rhinelander.

For more information, check out Monarch March on Facebook.

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MADISON - Republican state senators are met behind closed doors Tuesday to talk about the three main issues that have held up passage of a Wisconsin state budget for the past month.

State Sen. Paul Farrow said Tuesday that senators planned to talk about roads funding, changes to the prevailing wage and the $500 million Milwaukee Bucks stadium plan.

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FERGUSON, MO - A Justice Department report summary has found across-the-board flaws in police's response last summer to the protests in Ferguson, including antagonizing crowds and violating free-speech rights.

The Associated Press obtained the summary, which cites "vague and arbitrary" orders to keep protesters moving that violated their rights of assembly and free speech.

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COLUMBUS, OH - A 4-year-old girl who was shot in the leg by an Ohio policeman firing at a dog is recovering after surgery as her family questions how the officer responded.

Columbus police say Ava Ellis was hit accidentally June 19 when an officer fired at a charging dog at a home in suburban Whitehall. Police say another relative had flagged down the officer for help after Ava's mother cut herself on glass.

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WAUSAU - Kids who use wheelchairs or have other disabilities can't use most playgrounds. One Wausau family wants to change that.

The Hoerter family has big plans for Wausau's new accessible playground. The 30,000- to 50,000-square foot play area, called JoJo's Jungle, will give every child the opportunity to play.

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