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NEWS STORIES

Energy Saving ChallengeSubmitted: 01/30/2013
Story By Ryan Abney


RHINELANDER - Going "green" seems like a popular phrase these days.
For some of us, that's as easy as reusing grocery bags and turning down the heat.

But for bigger organizations, it can be a bigger and more expensive transition.

That's why Wisconsin Public Service decided to make going green a competition.
Leader Leah Van Zile is the W-P-S Community Relations Leader.She said the challenge was created to not only educate but to entertain.

"There's a lot of information about ways to reduce your energy use and ways to save on your bill, but it's not really an exciting topic.So we thought of a way to really encourage community members to become excited about energy, and we thought pairing it with a grant opportunity with non-profits might be a neat spin a new avenue to increase energy awareness in the communities."

The Retired Senior Volunteer Program was one organization to earn a 750-dollar grant. By just switching out light bulbs, she's noticed a HUGE difference.

"I found out myself that if you don't have LED lights the average cost is 9-dollars a month just for a couple strings of lights, LED's is 90-cents...so what a savings."

The W-P-S serves over 700-thousand electric and natural gas customers in Northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

MADISON - The flu gets the blame for the deaths of three more children in Wisconsin.

That brings the total number of pediatric deaths to five.

The latest report from the state Department of Health Services shows this flu season is second only to 2009, when the swine flu caused the deaths of six children.

In the U.S. this season, Wisconsin is behind only Texas with seven pediatric deaths.

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CRANDON - The School District of Crandon needs a new superintendent midway through the school year.

Jim Asher told the school board Monday he was retiring, effective immediately.

Asher told us he had been wrestling with the decision since November.

He said he made the decision "for him," and that it had nothing to do with the district.

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ANTIGO - Social workers in Langlade County describe last year like a flood.

Applications for health insurance swamped Langlade County Social Services.

The county was one of many in the area facing challenges during the first-ever enrollment period after the Affordable Care Act was put in place.

This year's enrollment window ends in two and a half weeks.

It's going much differently.

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MINOCQUA - People in Minocqua brought back a Northwoods tradition this year when they rebuilt the city's giant snowman.

For a few years, the giant snowman didn't get built, because of poor weather conditions.

"Who doesn't love to build a snowman?" asked Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Krystal Westfahl. "And to have the opportunity to build a 30-foot snowman brings out every kid in us."

Volunteers in Minocqua helped build the enormous snowman, named Snowmy Kromer, just outside of the Chamber of Commerce. He used to be built near the Island City Ice Cream store. But this year, they wanted to try a new spot.

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MADISON - A Wisconsin appeals court says a requirement that singers in the state Capitol obtain a permit was unconstitutional.

The case involves Michael Crute was cited for joining in a daily sing-along protest in the Capitol rotunda in July 2013. State rules then prohibited anyone from participating in an unpermitted event in state buildings.

Crute argued the regulations violated his free speech rights. A Madison judge tossed out his ticket in February. The 4th District Court of Appeals upheld that decision on Thursday, ruling the regulations didn't further a significant state interest.

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods supermarkets want to be prepared for the Superbowl this Sunday. Some local stores have ordered a lot more food for this week to make sure they don't run out of Superbowl staples.

The assistant store director of Trig's in Rhinelander has ordered extra shipments of soda, pizza, and snack food. The store wants to be prepared but it doesn't expect food to sell as quickly as it does during other times of the year.

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MADISON - Members of the Menominee Tribe, southeastern Wisconsin union workers and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers are urging Gov. Scott Walker to reconsider his rejection of a new casino in Kenosha.

Walker rejected the tribe's proposal last week and reiterated on Wednesday that he would not change his mind.

But advocates for the project gathered at the Capitol Thursday to say Walker can still change his mind by the Feb. 19 deadline.

Walker says he can't reverse his decision even if he wanted to.

But Kenosha casino backers say the Bureau of Indian Affairs would be willing to let Walker change his mind. A spokeswoman for BIA did not immediately return a message asking if Walker could reverse course.


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