MADISON - Wisconsin environmental officials are urging people to cut down on their holiday waste.
The federal government estimates the volume of household waste jumps 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day as families dispose of gift wrap, decorations, packaging, disposable plates and leftover food.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources waste reduction officials suggest replacing old light strings with energy-efficient strings, using timers to turn lights off, using washable dishes and silverware and dividing leftovers among visitors.
They also suggest giving family and friends gift cards, using reusable bags when shopping, wrapping gifts in newspapers, recycling wrapping paper, saving gift boxes and bows for other occasions.
(Copyright 2012 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)
Rhinelander teachers work a night at Culver's to earn money for their school
RHINELANDER - You could find teachers working at Culver's tonight. They served students and their families for the Rhinelander Middle School.
It was all part of Teachers Night at Culver's. A percentage of the evening's sales went to James Williams Middle School. Teachers say they liked taking on the new job.
"We're excited about meeting people that I have never met before, parents of students I don't have. I'm also excited to see parents I do know and families," said Adair Sexton, the Middle School Band Director.
New radio meter technology could help with water waste issues
RHINELANDER - Technology seems to change almost daily. That's why the City of Rhinelander Public Works Department is growing its use of radio water meter devices.
A little blue box takes in signals from radio water meters on certain homes installed with radio meters. Workers don't even need to get out of their cars to get a reading.
More than 200 homes in Rhinelander use the technology, but there are more then 3200 water customers in the area.
But Rhinelander Public Works Director Tim Kingman says the radio meters make the process much faster.
"An employee can go into a an area where these radio read instruments or meters are used and touch a button and it collects several if not dozens of meter readings at a time," Kingman said.
Tom Roeser reads meters, installs radio meters and does other kind of work for the Rhinelander Water Department. He has to walk through plenty of yards to get to readers.
"Oh yeah I get asked what I'm doing a lot," Roeser said.
For most of the properties in Rhinelander, Roeser uses a touch stick to automatically send readings to a wireless receiver he carries with him.
"You don't have to scroll to find out where you are in your route," Roeser said. "You can just read it and it moves into the hand held and you can continue on."
If the reader doesn't work, Roeser punches in the reading by hand. The department installs the radio meters on homes that are more spaced out, which helps speed up the process.
Rhinelander bills water quarterly, so every three months. A city wide radio meter system would speed up the process so much the city could have monthly billing. The upgrade would help customers find water waste issues sooner because they would see signs of it in their bill more often.
"We try to do that frequently as possibly can," Kingman said. "But with a quarterly system we're not able to do that as quickly as we would desire."
Kingman says right now it wouldn't be worth it to upgrade the entire system. The cost would outweigh the benefits to taxpayers and customers. So they'll take their time and upgrade little by little.
"We're trying to do two or three percent a year,"Kingman said.
That means Roeser will have plenty of walking ahead of him, but that's what he likes.
"The radar reads are fine, especially on the long runs," Roeser said. "But I like doing the walking."
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