NEWS STORIES

Local interest in solar energy growingSubmitted: 08/19/2013

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.



Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
2 fined for mistreating dairy cowsSubmitted: 04/22/2014

GREEN BAY - Two people convicted of mistreating cows at a Brown County dairy farm have been fined hundreds of dollars.

Lucia Martinez pleaded no contest Tuesday to two counts of mistreating animals, and Abelardo Jaimes pleaded no contest to one count. As part of a plea deal the charge was downgraded from a misdemeanor to a forfeiture.

Prosecutor David Lasee says with fines and court costs, Martinez will owe about $1,100, while Jaimes will have to pay $600 to $700.

Martinez, Jaimes and two others were charged after Mercy for Animals, an animal-rights group, secretly recorded workers beating injured cows.

Jaimes' attorney, Luca Lopes Fagundes, says workers were told they needed to make sure sick cows didn't remain down because they could die.

A message left with Martinez's attorney wasn't immediately returned.

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Wisconsin DNR to hand out turkey certificatesSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials say they're going to hand out personalized certificates to successful first-time turkey hunters this year.

The Department of Natural Resources says hunters can fill out information about when and where they killed the bird as well as information on its weight and spur length on the agency's website. Hunters also can submit a photo of themselves with their turkeys.

The agency will send the certificates out electronically within a few weeks of receiving the information.

The certificate program will run during both the spring and fall hunts.

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Father facing charges connected to false cancer claims from daughterSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MERRILL - A Merrill man will face charges in connection to his daughter’s false cancer claim.

Police believe 57-year-old Edmund Winchell took advantage of businesses by asking for donations and putting out collection containers at their stores.

His daughter 19-year-old Celina Winchell posted statuses on Facebook late last year saying she had cancer.

A pizzeria employee in Wausau saw the post and offered to put a donation jar at the store. The problem is Winchell never had cancer. She faces two charges in Marathon County.

Her father Edmund Winchell now faces 18 charges including obstructing an officer and false representation.

The criminal complaint shows the family was having financial problems.

Edmund Winchell will be back in court in May.

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Trost aide: Walker to sign police billSubmitted: 04/22/2014

MADISON - An aide to a Wisconsin lawmaker says Gov. Scott Walker intends to sign a bill that would put outside agencies in charge of investigating officer-involved deaths.

Craig Trost, an aide to Rep. Chris Taylor, says in an email that Walker's office notified Taylor's office that he plans to sign the bill Wednesday.

Taylor, a Madison Democrat, and Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, developed the legislation in response to three high-profile deaths in the last 10 years. None of those incidents resulted in criminal charges.

Supporters say the new requirements will counter claims that police protect their own from consequences of using deadly force. But police observers say the bill could create conflict and confusion for Wisconsin agencies that have traditionally done the investigations themselves.

The bill passed the Legislature earlier this year.

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It's time to start looking out for ticksSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - It may not feel like summer just yet, but it is time to start thinking about tick prevention.

The peak season for ticks is May through August but healthcare professionals suggest you be on the lookout as soon as the snow melts.

Last year, there were 153 reported cases of tick-borne illnesses in Oneida County alone.

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Merrill looks to identify mission, major issues, future plans in first-ever strategic planSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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MERRILL - What does a city see as its mission?

How does it address its biggest issues?

Where does it hope to go in the next few decades?

Leaders in Merrill want to answer those questions with their first-ever strategic plan.

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Oneida County Sheriff announces bid for general electionSubmitted: 04/22/2014

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RHINELANDER - Sheriff Grady Hartman wants to keep his job for another four years.

The Oneida County Sheriff announced Monday he will run in the general election.

Governor Scott Walker appointed Hartman to the position in January 2013 when former Sheriff Jeff Hoffman retired.

Hartman has served in the Oneida County Sheriff's office for 15 years.

He was promoted to Sergeant in 2006.

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