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NEWS STORIES

Local interest in solar energy growingSubmitted: 08/19/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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EAGLE RIVER - No matter how high energy prices get, our dependence remains the same. We see alternative energy production booming in other parts of the country, but many people feel like it's just not that feasible here.

One Northwoods couple says it is. Kevin and Marta Church own K and M Services, Inc. They've become certified to install solar panels, and decided to start with their own home.

The churchs aren't completely off the grid. That means they produce their own energy during the day, and use energy from WPS at night. But since the installation last October, the energy they buy from WPS has gone from 1,700 kilowatts per hour, to 400.

When they made the change, they found a lot of people had questions about solar energy.

"Some of the misconceptions are we don't have enough sun. We're on the same latitude line as Germany, and they're the largest solar producer in the world. It's just a matter of trees in the area," says Kevin Church.

The couples 24 panel project cost about $32,000. They hope it will have paid for itself in seven years.

But projects can be on a much smaller scale; even as small as four panels for about $1,500.

Energy companies like WPS encourage people to look into their options.

"For customers that do install solar generation or wind generation, Wisconsin Public Service does have a specific program to buy back any excess energy produced by those programs. It's called our net metering program," says Leah Van Zile, says Wisconsin Public Service.

There are other incentives too. For example, the Churchs got $1,200 from Focus on Energy for their solar panel project. They also got a 30 percent federal tax credit.

The Churchs are among only a handfull of people certified to install solar panels in far Northern Wisconsin. But they say interest is picking up.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
Son shoots father in hunting accidentSubmitted: 09/22/2014

MARATHON COUNTY - A boy shot his father in a hunting accident in Marathon County.

Police say the 11 year old boy was hunting for turkeys with his father and two other relatives.

The boy mistook his father for a turkey on Sunday and shot him in the upper left area of his chest.

The man was flown to an area hospital and was believed to be stable Sunday night.

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Rhinelander Area Food Pantry sets first distribution date at new locationSubmitted: 09/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry will start giving away food at their new location on October 4th.

The pantry will be moving to 627 Coon Street. That's the old Golden Harvest building.

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Empowering young girls through PSASubmitted: 09/21/2014

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RHINELANDER - Girl Scouts can be a great way to get young girls active in their community and grow into young women. Sunday, some girl scouts in Rhinelander made a PSA to show younger girls how empowering it can be to be a Girl Scout.

"This is why you should join Girl Scouts. You will gain courage, confidence and character,"

This is a message for young girls who want to better their community and themselves.

"You will make amazing friends and awesome memories,"

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Early start to fall festivities Submitted: 09/21/2014

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TOWN OF MAINE - Fall won't officially start until Monday evening, but that doesn't mean fall activities haven't hit the Northwoods.

You could find people zipped up in fleece jackets trying to find their way out of a corn maze Sunday. This is the 15th year Willow Springs Garden held its corn maze in the Town of Maine.

They started this to raise money to restore the old town hall.

"We wanted to restore it. Not for sure what we were going to use it for at first, but then the community kind of indicated to us that they want to use it," said Willlow Springs Garden Owner Peggy Griffin. "We created it to host family events, wedding, reunions, anniversaries are going on there today."

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Person flees after stolen RV crashes in Wood CountySubmitted: 09/21/2014

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RUDOLPH - Investigators in Wood County want to find a female they think may have stolen an RV and crashed it Saturday on State Highway 13.

Deputies say the driver of the RV lost control, went into the shoulder lane, came back onto the road and ended up rolling over. The crash happened just before 5 p.m. near the Town of Rudolph.

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Man accused of fondling cancer patient in hospitalSubmitted: 09/21/2014

LA CROSSE - A Whitehall man is accused of fondling a terminally ill cancer patient while she was sedated in her hospital bed.

The woman asked him to bring her some clothes and personal items, and he decided to stay the night.

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Former police officer who robbed bank gets 9 years in prisonSubmitted: 09/21/2014

MILWAUKEE - A former Mukwonago police officer convicted of robbing a bank while he was still on the force has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison.

44-year-old Alvin J. Brook robbed a bank in 2010 while brandishing his police-issued handgun, and made off with $54,000.

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