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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
Updated--ATV rider killed in crash along Highway 29 Submitted: 09/02/2014

MARATHON COUNTY - A Marathon County man died when his ATV crashed on Highway 29.

Deputies were called at 9:42 yesterday morning with a report of the accident in the town of Rib Falls.

The man riding the ATV was dead at the scene.

He had been heading north on Cardinal Lane and went across Highway 29, apparently headed for 9th Avenue.

Instead, the ATV collided with two cars on Highway 29.


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Another try for White Lake referendum after two-vote failureSubmitted: 09/02/2014

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WHITE LAKE - A big part of the community in White Lake takes its small rural school very seriously.

Two years ago, the community helped build a brand new gym and fitness center at the school.

The wood for the basketball floor was even donated by local loggers.

Each grade level at the school has only about 15 students.

Despite its size, for many, it's still the center of the community.

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Rhinelander Food Pantry needs volunteers to help move to new locationSubmitted: 09/02/2014

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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Food Pantry could use more volunteers to help move to their new location.

The pantry will move into the old Golden Harvest building.

But before they move they need to make some changes to the building.

One of those changes is building a new wall.

"It will separate the distribution area from the storage area," says Rhinelander Food Pantry volunteer Bill Vancos. "The distribution area will end up being about twice the size of what our current area is right now at the current location, so that'll be great. And then we'll also have the storage all on one level."

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Phelps to welcome business incubatorSubmitted: 09/02/2014

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PHELPS - The Vilas County Economic Development Corporation will open a business incubator in Phelps.

New chairman Carl Ruedebusch bought a 9,000 square foot building.

It will give small businesses space to develop and share resources.

Leaders hope it will also bring some much needed businesses to the community.

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Watch out for kids as school resumesSubmitted: 09/02/2014

RHINELANDER - Students went back to class in many districts across Wisconsin Tuesday morning.

The Wisconsin State Patrol wants drivers to watch out for them.

Some kids might get to and from school on their bikes.

It's the law to give bikers three feet of space when you're passing them.

You also need to stay 20 feet away from stopped school buses.

Parents should make sure their kids know how to stay safe on their way to and from school.

Kids need to watch out for traffic.

Parents should remind them texting while walking can be a distraction.

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Boy found safe after becoming lost in the woodsSubmitted: 09/02/2014

FLORENCE COUNTY - A family in Florence County needed help finding their three-year-old after he disappeared in the woods Monday.

The boy was missing for nearly two hours Monday morning.

The family was packing up to head home when the boy wandered away around 9:15.

He had walked about a half mile into the woods.

The family says he was very wet but healthy.

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A local girl earns her Girl Scout Silver AwardSubmitted: 09/01/2014

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RHINELANDER - Shandi Peitsch will receive her Girl Scout Silver Award.

The fourteen-year-old will get the award because she finished a service project at the Rhinelander Ice Arena.

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