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NEWS STORIES

College students fill staff needs at WPSSubmitted: 06/13/2013
Story By Kailey Burton


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.


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 IN OTHER NEWS
Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private-sector job growth during June 2013-14 stretchSubmitted: 12/18/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private-sector job growth for the 12-month period ending in June.

The latest figures were reported Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

They show that Wisconsin grew private-sector jobs between July 2013 and the end of June this year by 1.45 percent. That lags the national average of growth at 2.3 percent.

Wisconsin ranks 32nd nationally and behind Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development also reported Thursday that unemployment dropped from 5.4 percent to 5.2 percent between October and November. The national unemployment rate for November is 5.8 percent.

The monthly also shows Wisconsin added 16,500 private sector jobs in November.

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Peace Candle Lighting: a new holiday tradition Submitted: 12/18/2014

WOODRUFF - Some members of a Northwoods church hope to offer people the chance to start a new holiday tradition this year.

Members of Holy Family Catholic Church in Woodruff think everyone has something to gain by giving more attention to peace.

Church members brought a peace candle to the Northwoods.

They hope the candle lighting will help the community reflect on peace this holiday season.

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Tree of Hope helps families in MerrillSubmitted: 12/18/2014

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MERRILL - Needy families in Merrill will have a better Christmas this year.

The Merrill Fire Department is sponsoring the Tree of Hope.

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2 Salvation Army red kettles stolen in HaywardSubmitted: 12/18/2014

HAYWARD - Two Salvation Army red kettles have been stolen in Hayward in recent weeks.

The Salvation Army says one of the kettles contained an estimated $400.

The most recent theft happened Wednesday at Walgreen's. Sawyer County Salvation Army director Debbie Huebner says surveillance video shows someone grabbed the kettle's stand and put the whole structure into the back of a vehicle.

Huebner says that kettle had been emptied right before the theft. But a few weeks ago, a thief cut a cable to steal a kettle from Walmart. Huebner estimated it contained $300 to $400.

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911 service restored after roughly 7-hour outageSubmitted: 12/18/2014

MADISON - Emergency 911 service has been restored to multiple southern Wisconsin counties after an outage that lasted roughly seven hours.

That service was restored at around 4 p.m. Thursday.

Frontier spokeswoman Karen Miller says the outage happened after an underground cable was inadvertently severed by a third party shortly after 9 a.m. The outage affected 911 phone service and high-speed internet access.

The issue impacted Juneau, Columbia, Adams and Marquette counties in south-central Wisconsin.

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Expert: Walker still has time to declare Pres. run after Jeb Bush comments, Legislature to take lead on some issuesSubmitted: 12/18/2014

RHINELANDER - Gov. Scott Walker won't say when he'll decide if he'll run for president in the upcoming 2016 election, but some political observers say former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's announcement to "actively explore" a presidential run adds some urgency to declare for possible contenders.

Gov. Walker said this week that Bush's comments, "don't affect me one way or another."

However, UW-Madison Professor of Political Science Kenneth Mayer says Walker and other possible candidates may have time into January or February to make a decision.

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Stranger donates $1,200 gold coin to Langlade County Salvation ArmySubmitted: 12/18/2014

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ANTIGO - Salvation Army workers in Langlade County don't know who to thank.

A stranger dropped a $1,200 gold coin into one of the red kettles in Antigo.

"The coin is in very good condition. Somebody knew what they were doing when they dropped it in the bucket," says Langlade County Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator William Kelly.

Someone donated a 1922 Philadelphia mint Saint-Gaudens $20 gold coin at Fleet Farm in Antigo.

Volunteers don't know who made the donation.

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