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NEWS STORIES

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


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
Driver found dead after hit-and-run, shootingSubmitted: 08/30/2014

MILWAUKEE - Police say a male driver has been found dead -- apparently shot after a hit-and-run in Milwaukee.

Authorities say the driver was found dead Friday night in a vehicle that had gone off the road and hit a pole at 31st and Hope.

During their investigation, police learned the driver had been involved in a hit-and-run just a few blocks away. A male who was possibly associated with that first accident shot at the other driver -- who fled, lost control of his vehicle, and hit the pole.

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Potato Fest draws in large crowd, teaches kids about agricultureSubmitted: 08/30/2014

RHINELANDER - Potato salad, french fries, mashed potatoes...just about every form of potato was at the second annual Potato Fest in Rhinelander Saturday.

"[We've got] great food. We have just about every single food that can be made with a potato. We have lots of fun games," said the 67th Alice in Dairyland Zoey Brooks. "We have potato sack races, the potato dig for kids, and the Wisconsin spud mobile is here as well."

There were a few changes to the event this year. Event organizers made sure people had something to do every minute at Potato Fest.

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Cancer patient gets dying wish, weds woman he lovesSubmitted: 08/30/2014

GREEN BAY - When Harley Thomas learned in August that he would have just three months to live, he told his doctors he wanted nothing more than to marry the woman he loves.

The Cancer Team at Bellin Health granted that wish, and hosted a wedding for Thomas and Lori Feeley on Thursday. Area businesses donated everything from Feeley's dress to the cake.

Thomas and Feeley have been together nearly nine years. They planned to marry before, but were in and out of homelessness and didn't have the money.

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Couch potato race promotes physical activitySubmitted: 08/30/2014

RHINELANDER - One type of potato you couldn't find at Potato Fest this year was a couch potato. Leaders at the YMCA of the Northwoods helped promote health and staying active by putting on the second annual couch potato race.

Teams of racers had to build a moving couch and push it down Brown Street in downtown Rhinelander. They also had to finish obstacle courses along the way.

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UPDATE: 12-year-old boy drowns in hotel poolSubmitted: 08/30/2014

MILWAUKEE - A 12-year-old boy is dead after apparently drowning in a hotel pool in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office says Zay-Vun Mooreland of Milwaukee died Friday night at the Rodeway Inn & Suites.

A message left with the hotel manager was not immediately returned Saturday.

The medical examiner's report says Mooreland could not swim. He was in the pool with his siblings and a cousin when his older brother went into deep water with Mooreland on his back. The brother began to struggle in the deep water.

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Gov. Walker warns Potawatomi it could lose gamesSubmitted: 08/29/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker's administration has warned the Forest County Potawatomi tribe that it could lose about 2,000 slot machines if it succeeds in withholding its $25 million annual payment to the state.

The Potawatomi say they're withholding the money because the state may end up owing the tribe money if Walker approves the Menominee tribe's proposed Kenosha casino. The Potawatomi fear a Kenosha casino would significantly cut into their Milwaukee casino profits.

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Ginseng harvest season starts MondaySubmitted: 08/29/2014

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STATEWIDE - People could sell Wisconsin wild ginseng root for as much as $1,000 per pound last year.

Wisconsin's ginseng is known as some of the best in the world.

Some believe it gives people energy and has other health benefits.

It's seen an increase in popularity and demand.

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