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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
Ice skaters dedicate their lives to become talented skatersSubmitted: 11/25/2014

MINOCQUA - It takes a lot of perseverance to become a talented ice skater.

Between long practices and competing, ice skaters might not have much free time.

Danielle Wolosek has been skating since she was four.

"To be good, you have to like pretty much dedicate your life," says Danielle.

That dedication sometime means a lot of time driving.

Danielle and her sister Tessa travel from Wisconsin Rapids to the Lakeland Hawks Ice Arena in Minocqua every week.

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Students donate 2,000 pounds of food, get to dye teachers' hairSubmitted: 11/25/2014

RHINELANDER - Teachers at one Northwoods school wanted to encourage their students to give back to the community in time for Thanksgiving. They did that by offering up their hair.

Students at Zion Lutheran School in Rhinelander got to see two of their teachers dye their hair some of the colors of the rainbow on Monday. That's because students donated 2,000 pounds of food to a local food pantry.

Two students and a teacher also used the occasion to cut their hair for Locks of Love.

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Torgerson pleads not guilty for murder & disappearance of Stephanie Low; more information about informants Submitted: 11/25/2014

WAUSAU - The case against a Wausau man facing murder charges will move forward. Thirty-five-year-old Kristopher Torgerson pled not guilty in court during his preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Torgerson didn't admit to the murder in September, but he led police to Stephanie Low's burial site in the woods of Forest County. She had been missing for nearly four years.

Torgerson faces charges of intentional homicide, armed robbery, and hiding a body related to Low's disappearance and death.

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Holiday Shopping- Why some stores open on ThanksgivingSubmitted: 11/25/2014

WAUSAU - Thousands of holiday shoppers will head to stores and businesses this week.

This Friday is Black Friday and lots of people want to get to stores early for the best holiday deals.

But some businesses are opening a little earlier.

Almost 30 stores at Wausau Center Mall will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

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Frederick Place needs your help during the winter monthsSubmitted: 11/25/2014

RHINELANDER - It may be winter but Frederick Place in Rhinelander still has many empty beds.

The Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing provides emergency temporary housing for area counties.

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Newswatch 12 reports: Teen birth rate drops in the United States, still higher than other countries; Sexual education could decrease rate even moreSubmitted: 11/25/2014

WISCONSIN - Teen birth rates dropped significantly across the country in the past few years.

Despite the decline, the United States still has the highest teen birth rate compared to other developed countries.

There are many reasons the rate is going down, and there could be many explanations to why the U.S. is behind other countries.

Education could decrease the rate even more.

That could prevent more people from having to go through the difficulties of being a teen parent.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/25/2014

- With only one month left until Christmas, many people will be heading to stores to shop. The busiest shopping days of the year start this week. Some of the stores in Wausau's Center Mall open as early as 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. We talk with the mall's manager to see what they're expecting for holiday shopping.

- Plus, teachers at one Northwoods school wanted to encourage their students to give back to the community in time for Thanksgiving. They did that by offering up their hair. Students at Zion Lutheran School in Rhinelander got to see two of their teachers dye their hair some of the colors of the rainbow today. That's because students donated 2,000 pounds of food to a local food pantry.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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