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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

MARINETTE COUNTY - A 90-year-old man died in an ATV crash in Marinette County late Saturday afternoon.

According to the Marinette County Sheriff's Office, it happened private property north of Newton Lake in the Town of Athelstane.

90-year-old James Bosanny was driving the ATV with his 64-year-old son, James Bosanny, Jr., on board. He lost control on a small hill after hitting a plow before the ATV accelerated and hit a tree. They both were thrown off the ATV. The 90-year-old died at the scene.Crews took the son first to Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette and then later taken to a hospital in Green Bay for serious injuries.

The sheriff's office says neither was wearing a helmet. Police don't think alcohol or speed played a part in the crash. 

Crews are still investigating. James Bosanny, Sr., was from Monroe, Wisconsin, and his son, James Bosanny, Jr., was from Hortonville, Wisconsin. 

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RHINELANDER - In between the rain Sunday, people got outside and on the water.

Mel's Trading Post in Rhinelander held its annual Paddle Sport Demo Day at Hodag Park.

People were able to test out kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards for free.

The owner of Mel's trading post, Mitch Mode, likes this day not only try and sell some equipment but to also get feedback from people about the different boats.

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RHINELANDER - You can only learn so much reading from a book or sitting behind a desk.

So Friday, Crescent Elementary School kindergartners got out of their classrooms and into Rhinelander. The students learned about their community they see every day, but might not fully understand.

"The goal today was to get the kindergartners out throughout Rhinelander to see the businesses and what type career opportunities," said kindergarten teacher Julie Gerth.

With the help of Partners in Education and a Hodag School Foundation grant, the students visited Grace Lodge assisted living, Covantage Credit Union, Trig's and the courthouse.

The kids also got to see a firetruck, police car, and a public works vehicle at Pioneer Park. The field trip was designed to show off what the community can offer them now, and in their futures.

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NORTHWOODS - Memorial Day Weekend means the return of snowbirds and tourists.

Tourism is a big industry here in the Northwoods.

Many businesses have reopened for the summer, but the people coming to the Northwoods aren't just from the surrounding states.

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MARATHON COUNTY - Firefighters call a Town of Berlin house a total loss after a fire destroyed it early Sunday morning.

According to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, crews got a call around 1:40 a.m. to the 11,000 block of Naugart Drive. When they got there, the house was totally up in flames.Several surrounding fire departments were called in to help.

No one was hurt. The house is valued at more than $100,000. 

Investigators don't think the cause of the fire was anything suspicious, but they are still investigating. 

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Tomahawk holds annual car show Submitted: 05/29/2016

TOMAHAWK - Car enthusiasts flocked to Tomahawk Sunday for the Main Street Memories car show.

The 22nd annual car show attracted cars and visitors from all over.

The streets of Tomahawk were filled with more than 200 cars of all different kinds. Main Street Memories car show is a Memorial Day tradition.

"You know 22 years going strong, and we're proud of it," said Tomahawk Main Street director Christine Vorpagel. "Tomahawk Main Street, we're all about historic preservation and sustainable development."

For many spectators, car shows are another way of learning about American history.

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RHINELANDER - After the vendors closed up at the end of the first Hodag Farmers Market of the season, several people stayed behind to honor the man who started the market.

That's Douglas Jacobson, and he died last October.

His son, Jonathan Jacobson, said Douglas Jacobson was a big part of the Rhinelander community‚Ä"serving as Lions Club president, being part of many clubs and being a landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service.

The Jacobson family and Rhinelander city leaders worked to dedicate a bench in his honor in Pioneer Park. That bench went up on Saturday, just off the road that leads into the park.   

"He was a pioneer in helping to establish the Hodag Farmers Market many years ago. And from those humble beginnings, the market vendors, the patrons that arrive here, the citizens of Rhinelander, and those in the community have a wonderful place to come to get fresh, home grown, locally grown vegetables," Jonathan Jacobson said. "It was a great event. It was really nice to have everybody stop out and pay attention to what my dad's been doing and acknowledge all the effort he put into the farmers market for many years. And not only that, dad was a great citizen here in the Rhinelander community."

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