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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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/24/2014

- Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry. A speaker in Woodruff today wants to help people here understand how big of an issue it is, and how the third largest criminal industry in the world can be found right here in the Northwoods.

- Kids with disabilities can sometimes have a difficult time finding a job. Special education teachers at Rhinelander High School want to change that. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek joined students on their amazing race to employment.

- And students across the region crunched into apples at the same time today. It was in celebration of Food Day. Food Day raises awareness of where food comes from and eating healthy.

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

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Hulsey launches write-in candidacy for governorSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MADISON - Just 12 days before the election, state Representative Brett Hulsey says he is running for governor as an independent write-in candidate.

Hulsey lost the Democratic primary to Mary Burke, earning 16 percent of the vote.

Hulsey announced Thursday that he was mounting a last-minute write-in campaign, but if it appears the effort is helping Republican Governor Scott Walker, he will stop.

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Wisconsin health officials start Ebola hotlineSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin state health officials have launched an Ebola hotline.

The state Department of Health Services announced Friday that the line is for fielding questions Wisconsin residents have about the Ebola virus. The toll-free number is 844-684-1064.

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Apple Crunch promotes healthy eatingSubmitted: 10/24/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - Students across the region crunched into apples at the same time Friday.

It was in celebration of Food Day.

Food Day raises awareness of where food comes from and eating healthy.

Click "Play Video" to see why serving something as simple as apples is leaving a lasting impact on young kids.

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DNR thinks registering deer online and by phone easier for huntersSubmitted: 10/24/2014

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WISCONSIN - The DNR will make changes to how people register deer. This year they're starting a program allowing hunters to register deer online or by phone.

Only some hunters will take part in the program. Next year it will be in full effect.

"Right now we're doing a pilot program in 2014, where there's 14,000 people who've been picked to practice this registration. And next year everybody will be able to either register by phone or on the internet. They will still have the opportunity to register at a station as long as there is a telephone or a computer for them," says DNR Conservation Warden Paul Hartrick.

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Kids with disabilities tour local businesses, practice networking skillsSubmitted: 10/24/2014

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RHINELANDER - Kids with disabilities can sometimes have a difficult time finding a job.

Special education teachers at Rhinelander High School want to change that. They set up the "Amazing Race To Employment" for their students.

Students with disabilities went to different local businesses today. The race gave them a chance to ask managers questions about working at the business.

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Wisconsin court won't reconsider voter ID caseSubmitted: 10/24/2014

MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court has refused to reconsider whether the state's voter photo identification law is unconstitutional.

Republicans passed the law in 2011. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the immigrant group Voces de la Frontera as well as the League of Women Voters challenged the mandate in separate lawsuits. The state Supreme Court concluded in July that the law is constitutional in both cases.

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