RHINELANDER - We learned more today about Wisconsin Public Services' five-year, $220 million project.
WPS doesn't want its customers to be out of power, so it will bury more than 1,000 miles of power lines underground.
The company chose mostly rural areas, like Vilas and Oneida counties, for the project.
That's because those areas have lots of trees that can fall on power lines during storms.
In the '50s, it wouldn't be uncommon for someone in the Northwoods to rack up days without power every year.
Thanks to efforts like tree-trimming, that number is way down.
"Today, we're talking minutes per year. There are still customers in the Northwoods that are still in hours per year, significant hours," said Richard Reitz, a WPS engineer. "We're targeting those areas where we can make the biggest improvement."
In 2014, WPS will bury lines in Minocqua and Boulder Junction.
They will also work on Highway 70 east of Eagle River.
Post Lake, Elcho, and Pelican Lake are also on the list for 2014, along with sections of Highway 101 in Wabeno.
In most places, existing poles and wires will be removed. Many lines will be bored 36 inches under the ground, while ther parts of the project will be a little messier.
"Other areas, we'll have to do some backhoe work," Reitz said. "We try to avoid backhoe work because it's mroe costly and there's more clean-up involved."
WPS has already contacted property owners who will be affected by the 2014 work.
RHINELANDER - Thursday Rhinelander turned into the city of lights. The Light of the Northwoods kicked off its drive-through light show at Hodag Park today. "We never got to do anything like this when I was a kid," said volunteer Corey Passmore. However, Passmore's son will get the chance to experience a Christmas in a way his father was never able to. "As far as I can think back we've never had anything like this in Rhinelander," said Passmore. Months of preparation, hundreds of hours setting up, and more than a dozen creative minds helped create magic in Rhinelander. "Symbolizes an opportunity for community to come together," said YMCA of the Northwoods CEO Ryan Zietlow.
RHINELANDER - The initial emergency call -- someone screaming for help on a lake near Rhinelander Thursday afternoon -- sounded bad, but it appears it was a false alarm.
Search and rescue crews called in Newbold's air boat to search Lake Thompson around 1:45 p.m.
Pelican Deputy Fire Chief Norman Peterson said first responders first searched the west bay shoreline on foot. They then used the air boat to sweep the entire lake, but didn't find anyone, any tracks, or any places someone might have gone through the ice.
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