Solar powered tent helps keep fishermen warmSubmitted: 01/05/2014
Story By Shardaa Gray

RHINELANDER - Ice fishing probably sounds like the last thing some people would want to do in these frigid temperatures.

But some professional fishermen braved the cold with the help of some green technology.

Bone chilling temperatures didn't stop fishermen from trying to get the best catch of the day.

"You're nose and hands get a little chilly once in a while, but usually you stay pretty warm overall." said Solar Sportsman representative, Jim Davis.

11 teams competed on an icy Boom Lake in Rhinelander.

This was the first Team Extreme Ice Fishing Tournament in Wisconsin.

Fishermen from as far as Minnesota and Maryland traveled to Rhinelander to qualify for the Team Extreme Championship.

"You have to be able to go above and beyond and be able to take what mother nature gives you because we're not only out here competing against each other, we're competing against mother nature." said Wisconsin Team Extreme Ice Fishing director, Raymond Tiffany.

The tournaments director figured out a way to use Mother Nature to their advantage.

It's all thanks to a solar powered tent.

"This tent is heated. It's lighted. We run our scales off the power. We run our PA System off the power," Tiffany said.

"We're not even touching the power output that this tent is capable of."

The Wisconsin based company, Solar Sportsman, made a solar ice tent last year just for this tournament.

It's powered by a 400 watt solar module that feeds into a battery inside the tent.

"We wanted to be able to run a PA System. We wanted to be able to run a monitor. We want to have the option to run an AC Scale," said Davis.

"So we needed power out here. The one thing we didn't want to have running out on the lake is a generator to keep everything going."

"We have to move green to save our planet. We want to show that we can be… we as ice fishermen can be responsible," Tiffany said.

"We want to show we care about the outdoors and the environment."

Staying warm and keeping the air free of pollution keeps both fishermen and Mother Nature happy.

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Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin's utility regulator is planning to spend more money on energy projects in rural areas, including a plan to help underwrite the use of systems that convert cattle manure into electricity.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the systems known as manure digesters also help farms manage waste, which has become an increasingly controversial issue in Wisconsin as the size of dairy farms grows.

Wisconsin Public Service Commission officials say they're considering spending $10 million to $20 million on manure digester technology.

The commission also voted Thursday to authorize at least $7.7 million in funding for rebates for solar, wind and geothermal projects around the state that would keep a rebate program in place for energy consumers.

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RHINELANDER - The Northwoods Land Trust helps protect about 12,000 acres of natural lands in six northern Wisconsin counties.

That amount of conservation is a big job. But the organization employs just one full-time and two part-time staff members.

The Land Trust relies on the help of about 40 volunteers to accomplish its mission, volunteers like Nancy Richmond.

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RHINELANDER - When people think first responders, cops, firefighters and EMTs usually come to mind. 

But the true first responder is often the person they'll never meet.

It's Nicole Lea's job to be at her best when you're at your worst.

"There's no other reason your calling us to say, 'Hey, hope you're having a great day.' It is their worst day when they're calling us," said Lea.

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RHINELANDER - Thanks to funds from one company, Wild Instincts in Rhinelander will get to expand its facility. The non-profit got a $4,400 Green Gift from Cellcom.

Wild Instincts was one of 22 organizations to get a 2016 Cellcom Green Gift. Cellcom gave almost $38,000 in funds out this year.

Wild Instincts has helped rehabilitate wildlife across the state since 2011. Director Mark Naniot explained that with a growing need to help animals comes a growing need for space.

The Green Gift program uses funds from Cellcom's cell phone recycling program to fund green non-profit initiatives.

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MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee police officer who sparked several nights of protest after fatally shooting a black man in August has been charged with five counts of sexual misconduct in a separate case stemming from an alleged attack two days after the shooting.

The criminal complaint alleges Dominique Heaggan-Brown took the victim to a bar late on the night of Aug. 14 where they drank and watched TV as coverage of the protests aired. The victim told police he had trouble remembering everything that happened after they left the bar but that he felt drugged. He said he woke up to find Heaggan-Brown assaulting him.

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MADISON - About 30 percent of all absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin so far come from the state's most heavily Democratic counties.

The latest data posted on the Wisconsin Elections Commission website shows 55,000 ballots cast in Milwaukee and Dane counties.

21,700 have come in from three conservative counties near Milwaukee.

Over 183,000 were cast statewide.

Republican candidates typically must do well in those Milwaukee suburban counties to counter the Democratic votes in Milwaukee and Madison.

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MADISON - Wisconsin may be the dairy state, but we've seen a decline in the number of dairy farms.

A report from the federal Agriculture Department shows that Wisconsin lost almost 400 dairy farms in the last year.

About 94-thousand dairy herds were active in the state as of October 1st.

Wisconsin Dairy Business Association President Gordon Speirs says the number of lost farms this year is low compared to previous years.

Annual losses reached as high as 1-thousand in some years.

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