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NEWS STORIES

College students fill staff needs at WPSSubmitted: 06/13/2013

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RHINELANDER - Severe storms and construction during the summer often leave Wisconsin Public Service short-handed. Luckily summer also means college students are back in town, with time on their hands.

"Wisconsin Public Service for a number of years has been employing students throughout the summer to do our maintenance on our electric and gas type facilities," said Leah Van Zile with WPS.

Checking gas meters for leaks is not difficult- a sensor "sniffs" the ground and meters for natural gas and points out leaks. Workers then spray a soapy mix on the meter and watch for bubbles to pinpoint the leak. The process is fairly simple, but very important. Hiring college students to handle the job frees up full-time employees for bigger issues.

"If we have power outages or any other kind of emergencies those employees are available to respond to those and other customer work isn't pushed back because of the maintenance we need to do every few years," said Van Zile.

If you see young people in neon WPS vests in your yard, don't be alarmed, but DO consider how your dog might respond to a stranger on their turf. Every year several WPS workers are attacked by dogs.


Story By: Kailey Burton

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Former Rhinelander teacher faces another charge for stealingSubmitted: 07/29/2014

RHINELANDER - The former Rhinelander High School teacher convicted of having and making THC and stealing from the school district faces another charge for stealing.

Joshua Juergens is charged with a felony for stealing from Ministry St. Mary's in Rhinelander.

According to the criminal complaint, Juergens went to urgent care because his back hurt. Juergen's girlfriend said that he was given painkillers at the hospital. She was in the exam room for part of the exam. Juergens was walking around touching the medical equipment. She told him to stop. After that Juergens told her he had questions for the nurse and told her to leave.

His girlfriend drove him home about a half hour later. When they both got home she said she saw the patient monitor and thermometer in a St. Mary's bag. That's when she brought the equipment back.

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Reconstruction of Hwy 51, Hwy 47 intersection pushed back to 2018Submitted: 07/29/2014

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WOODRUFF - Construction on the intersection of Highway 51 and Highway 47 in Woodruff will be pushed back to 2018. The project was supposed to start in 2017.

That's because DOT supervisors aren't sure how they want to reconstruct the road yet. They're looking at a few different design plans right now.

Project leaders want to make sure they pick the safest option. They also want more community input before they make a decision.

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WPS planning to change ratesSubmitted: 07/29/2014

THE NORTHWOODS - If Wisconsin Public Service gets what it wants, you'll see an increase on one part of your energy bill. But WPS thinks it will be offset by rate reductions for many customers.

WPS puts a $10 fixed monthly charge on residential electric bills. That's true no matter how much power the customer uses. The cost helps cover equipment like meters and wires all customers need.

Right now, some of the cost for equipment gets passed on in per-unit energy charges. WPS wants to raise the fixed cost to $25 per month to better reflect delivery costs.

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Election voting under way in WisconsinSubmitted: 07/29/2014

MILWAUKEE - Early election voting is underway at city clerks' offices across Wisconsin.

Voters who can't make it to the polls for the primary election next month are able to cast ballots. It's the first election since the Legislature put limits on the process. In-person absentee voting can only be conducted during the two business weeks prior to an election. Voting is to take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Hand, foot and mouth disease spreading around NorthwoodsSubmitted: 07/29/2014

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NORTHWOODS - A virus that usually affects kids seems to be spreading around the Northwoods.

Pediatricians we spoke with have seen more people with hand, foot and mouth disease come in during the last month.

The symptoms include a fever, mouth sores and a rash on the hands and feet, but the rash can be found on other parts of the body.

The infection is spread through close contact including through saliva, coughing and sneezing.

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Act 10, voter ID, domestic registry decisions nearSubmitted: 07/29/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court plans to rule Thursday in three major cases.

The court is planning to issue its ruling on the collective bargaining changes Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature approved in 2011, despite massive protests that led to a series of recall elections.

Elements of the law have been upheld by the state Supreme Court and two federal courts already.

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Hwy 51 closed near IrmaSubmitted: 07/29/2014

LINCOLN COUNTY - Wisconsin State Patrol shut down Highway 51 South near Irma Tuesday afternoon.

An SUV hit a semi around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon. No one was seriously hurt.

Traffic going south was rerouted while traffic going north was fine.

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