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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

OSHKOSH - A 40-year-old Sussex man has died after his vehicle fell through the ice on Lake Winnebago.

Emergency crews were called just before 7 a.m. Sunday to the lake about two miles east of Oshkosh's Merritt Street boat landing. The operator of an all-terrain vehicle called for help after watching the vehicle fall through.

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MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee police say a 7-year-old boy has drowned while attending a birthday party at a hotel.

Police say the party was at the Comfort Suites Park Place hotel in northwest Milwaukee.

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CALEDONIA - An elderly couple is dead after being struck by a sport utility vehicle as they left a church in southeastern Wisconsin.

Police say Oscar and Vernetta Lang, both 83 and from Caledonia, died after being struck about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Relay For Life season kicks offSubmitted: 01/25/2015

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RHINELANDER - You'll see Relay For Life events across the Northwoods throughout the next few months. The group raises money for people battling cancer.

In Oneida County, fundraising has already started. The group held its big kickoff event Saturday.

The kickoff program highlights what Relay For Life does. It's also an opportunity for the community to learn how to get involved.

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KENOSHA - Police say 11 people were hurt but none seriously when a bus crashed on Interstate 94 in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Kenosha County sheriff's office says the coach-style commercial bus was returning from Milwaukee to the Chicago area when the driver suffered an apparent medical condition and collapsed about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

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RHINELANDER - Weddings can be a lot of fun, but many brides and grooms say it takes a lot of planning to make the big day one to remember. Sometimes that means numerous trips to find a location for the wedding as well as the dress, but brides-to-be found all they needed for their big day in one setting.

Just about every girl envisions what they're wedding would look like. From how their make-up will be done, to getting their make-up getting done, to what their dress looks like and how the cake will taste.

You could find all of that at the 2015 Magical Moments Bridal Expo in Rhinelander Saturday.

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MADISON - Lawmakers are set to reignite conversations this week about whether vaping, using electronic cigarettes and other vapor smoking devices, should be included in Wisconsin's smoking ban.

The ban took effect in 2010. It outlaws smoking in all public indoor locations, including restaurants and bars. But the ban does not currently apply to vaping, giving venue owners the right to decide whether or not to permit e-cigarettes.

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