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NEWS STORIES

Local interest in solar energy growingSubmitted: 08/19/2013

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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.



Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Art competition winners announced Tuesday nightSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Artists found out who won the Northern National Art Competition Tuesday night.

Artists from across the country submitted artwork to the art competition held at Nicolet College in Rhinelander this year.

Organizers expect about 200 people at the reception.

Some of the artists that submitted work will be at Nicolet.

The artists competed for $8,500 in prize money.

The entries come from all over the country, but there is art from the Northwoods on display.

Artists from Rhinelander, Antigo and Lake Tomahawk have work in the show.

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Gas station robbed in Stevens PointSubmitted: 07/22/2014

STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point police want to find the man who robbed a gas station last night.

A store employee told police a man came into the Southside B P on Church street just after 9:30 last night.

He demanded cash from the register.

No weapon was seen, but the man kept his hand in his pocket.

He escaped on foot with the money.

Police have not said exactly how much he got away with.

The Portage County K9 unit was brought in to try to track him.

The man is described as being six feet tall with short blond hair.

He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses.

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Downed power line starts small fire near RhinelanderSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Gusty winds forced a domino effect that caused a small fire south of Rhinelander Tuesday morning.

Winds blew over a tree, which sent a power line to the ground.

The electrical current started the fire.

It happened just before 11:00 on Hat Rapids Road near Highway 17.

Firefighters were glad the land nearby wasn't too dry with drought.

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Woman, boy nearly drown in swimming accidentSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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STAR LAKE - Two people nearly drowned in Vilas County today. A boater pulled a 47-year-old woman and an 8-year-old boy out of the water after they started drowning in Star Lake.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Office believes both went under water during a rescue attempt.

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Kids compete in annual Worm RaceSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Kids found one of the biggest races of the year in the Northwoods Tuesday.

The Rhinelander District Library hosted their annual worm race.

Teams of two faced off with worms in hand.

Each believing their worm would win the trophy this year.

"ShadowWind is the fastest racer. Because he is never beaten," said 10-year-old Louis Malias.

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Sexual assault victim advocate responds to Tuesday's state Supreme Court rulingSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - The state Supreme Court made a ruling Tuesday that could impact what evidence can be used in rape cases.

It reversed the decision of a state appeals court in a 2011 case.

A defendant argued evidence of a previous consensual relationship with the victim should be allowed in court.

But the Supreme Court said evidence of a previous relationship falls under the state's rape shield law.

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Laona man faces meth chargesSubmitted: 07/22/2014

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FOREST COUNTY - Prosecutors believe a Forest County man made meth and had other people buy ingredients for him.

36-year-old Shandon Tallier of Laona faces four felony charges.

Police became suspicious when Tallier bought ephedrine or pseudophedrine more than 50 times during the last year. Those are drugs commonly used to make meth.

Tallier was also blocked from buying the drugs more than 20 times in the last year. That's because he already bought more than the federal limit allows in a 30 day period.

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