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Students build energy star home to bring down utility billsSubmitted: 06/07/2014
Story By Karolina Buczek

Students build energy star home to bring down utility bills
RHINELANDER - Attention to small details will help two families save some money on their utility bills. Rhinelander High School students in the Building Trades Program built an energy star duplex.

"There are about ten percent of homes north of Highway 29 that can say they have that label," said building instructor, Russ Germain. "I think it only makes sense if we're in the education business to educate possible future builders and homeowners."

An energy star home has most of its small cracks sealed up tightly to stop heat from escaping.

"In a normal energy star house, there's 500 CFM units of leakage. In our house, there's only 240 and 220 so we're 45 percent better than a normal energy star house," said Rhinelander High School senior Logan Rudis.

The program uses more expensive products to make sure the house conserves energy.

"We use different products," said Germain. "We spend more money on things that will essentially make the house tighter while providing good ventilation so it's a healthy home as well."

Getting the energy star certification wasn't easy. The students had to build the entire house differently than normal.

"We frame differently. We insulate differently. When it comes to air sealing, we try to do a really good job of eliminating leaks," said Germain.

The students used a unique framing technique.

"We wanted to try to frame so that it's a good, strong, safe home but we're not wasting a lot of material. We're actually adding more insulation to our walls so ultimately the customer is going to benefit," said Germain.

The duplex is finally done and will be available for rent sometime in July.

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EAGLE RIVER - The World Championship Snowmobile Derby kicked off in Eagle River Friday morning. 

You might think of snowmobile racing as a sport for adults, but people of all ages are competing. Kids as young as four years old came out Friday to ride their tiny sleds through the finish line. 

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the riders lining up for the world snowmobile championship race. But before those riders came into the spotlight they started as kids. 

"My first race was when I was five," said Maverick Woyke. 

At just 12 years old, Woyke has been racing for seven years. 

"We went and watched a race and he had so much fun watching he decided he wanted to start racing," said Maverick's dad Jesse Woyke. 

Maverick traveled to with his dad from Buffalo, Minnesota to race this weekend in Eagle River. He's no stranger to traveling for the sport. 

"We've been Jackson, Wyoming, Winter Park, Colorado, Deadwood, Duluth, Shakopee in Minnesota, we kind of go all over," said Jesse. 

Maverick isn't the only veteran in the field, many of the young riders have been riding almost as soon as they could walk. 

"I've done this race as long as I can remember. Probably since I was four or five," said 11-year-old Tyler Poker. 

It's a tradition to come to Eagle River at this time of year, and for a lot of these kids, it's a family tradition.

"We were eating dinner and Dad asked me if I wanted to come race, and I said yeah, and then this happened," said 11-year-old Reece Bollmann. 

They travel from all over Wisconsin and the Midwest to have fun, but also to compete. 

"I've been to this race four times now and I've won it the last three times so I'm hoping for a fourth," said 14-year-old Kyle Thome. 

It's a unique sport, and it brings something different than football or baseball. 

"[My favorite part about racing is] the jumps because it's so much air and it's just a blast," said Bollmann.
 
But of course the best part?

"Well, getting off of school," said Poker. 

Many of the kids will spend the weekend watching other riders after they finish their races. And the ultimate goal is to be right there on that Sunday championship starting lineā€¦one day. 
 
"If we could get there that'd be awesome," said Thome. 

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Family, friends and judges from all over northern Wisconsin attended the investiture ceremony for Judge Kevin Klein.

Klein grew up in Price County and practiced law for more than 36 years.
Klein had his own law practice and was the local bar President for Price County before becoming a judge.
"When you start out and you're young and eager to practice law, you're not thinking about many years later taking the bench. But in retrospect you can see how call those years fit together," said Klein. 

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Friday, a special prosecutor cleared the deputy in that shooting.

Ashland County Sheriff's Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich shot and killed Jason Pero, 14, in November.

Police believe Pero wanted to die.

In a 911 call, the teen was the one who told police someone was walking around with a knife that day. Pero described a a guy walking around outside his house with a knife. The man was wearing a purple sweatshirt. 

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A new women's clothing boutique opened today in downtown Rhinelander.

Oak Tree Boutique owner and Rhinelander native Amber Bellile remembers a time from her childhood when downtown flourished.

"Over the years once I moved away and would come back I noticed businesses were shutting down," said Bellile. 

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Snowmobile racer Jordan Grabowski stopped by the Eagle River Elementary School to talk to some kindergarteners about snowmobile safety.

"It's kind of a dying out sport and I want to keep it going. [I] try to get them to realize that it's not okay to ride without a helmet on and our safety gear on and that it is dangerous if you do ride it without because you could get hurt," said Grabowski.

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The bank partnered with Minocqua popcorn for the fundraising event.

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