RHINELANDER - Attention to small details will help two families save some money on their utility bills. Rhinelander High School students in the Building Trades Program built an energy star duplex.
"There are about ten percent of homes north of Highway 29 that can say they have that label," said building instructor, Russ Germain. "I think it only makes sense if we're in the education business to educate possible future builders and homeowners."
An energy star home has most of its small cracks sealed up tightly to stop heat from escaping.
"In a normal energy star house, there's 500 CFM units of leakage. In our house, there's only 240 and 220 so we're 45 percent better than a normal energy star house," said Rhinelander High School senior Logan Rudis.
The program uses more expensive products to make sure the house conserves energy.
"We use different products," said Germain. "We spend more money on things that will essentially make the house tighter while providing good ventilation so it's a healthy home as well."
Getting the energy star certification wasn't easy. The students had to build the entire house differently than normal.
"We frame differently. We insulate differently. When it comes to air sealing, we try to do a really good job of eliminating leaks," said Germain.
The students used a unique framing technique.
"We wanted to try to frame so that it's a good, strong, safe home but we're not wasting a lot of material. We're actually adding more insulation to our walls so ultimately the customer is going to benefit," said Germain.
The duplex is finally done and will be available for rent sometime in July.
WISCONSIN - Mud, debris, and damaged property still cover parts of Northern Iron County after a storm ripped through there more than two weeks ago.
The lack of money to repair certain areas is largely keeping the rebuilding process from getting started.
That's why the Federal Emergency Management Agency came to Iron County Tuesday.
It surveyed the damage because of its severity and the extreme costs to fix.
"Really if it's beyond the scope of local jurisdiction, and even the states that respond," said FEMA External Affairs Officer Troy Christensen.
Wisconsin Emergency Management currently believes the damage caused by the mid-July storm is around $38 million across 10 counties and Bad River Reservation. Around $15 million of that happened in Iron County.
FEMA relies on local government like the ones in Iron County to help it assess damage.
"They have sights selected so they will be showing us a lot of these sights." Said Christensen.
Those sights included multiple towns, Saxon Harbor, and crumbled highways.
This week Iron County gave its damage estimates to FEMA.
RHINELANDER - Building a robot may seem like a pretty lofty summer camp goal, but teens in the Northwoods love the technological challenge.
It's all part of a summer camp that's heavy on science and social interaction.
13-year-old Sean Timm says the eight day robotics camp at Nicolet College mixed the best of both worlds.
"I like technology a lot more than I do outside stuff," Timm said. "It's kind of nice to have technology like drones to bring me outside. It's really fun."
Camp Instructor, Mike Wojtusik has many years of experience as a technology education teacher and robotics advisor. He wants kids to see the importance in learning these skills.
"The kids are getting experience from a mechanical engineering side, electrical engineering side, design, prototyping," said Wojtusik. "We try and cover as much as we can about the whole entire system."
Learning about robotics isn't the only thing these students do. Some of them are also exercising skills they'll need in the future.
"I think it's a great experience for them to understand what really goes on in the real world as far as a career," Wojtusik said.
Certain careers that often require teamwork.
"Challenging part is working with a team because you don't always agree on the same thing," said 12-year-old Louis Malais. "When you build a robot you do the most teamwork than I think in any other job."
As their final project, students design and build their own version of a remote control robot.
They are required to work in teams to sketch a vision, make prototypes and design a working model with aluminum.
"It's not just you know operating a piece of machinery, it's learning how that machinery is put together," Wojtusik said.
Students are piecing together machines and building future careers at the same time.
"If I were to get an opportunity to do something like this in the future, I would definitely take it," Timm said.
Throughout the course of the camp, students were exposed to prototyping, brainstorming, modeling, safety and sketching.
The last day of the robotics camp is scheduled to be Thursday, July 28.
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