RHINELANDER - Severe storms and construction during the summer often leave Wisconsin Public Service short-handed. Luckily summer also means college students are back in town, with time on their hands.
"Wisconsin Public Service for a number of years has been employing students throughout the summer to do our maintenance on our electric and gas type facilities," said Leah Van Zile with WPS.
Checking gas meters for leaks is not difficult- a sensor "sniffs" the ground and meters for natural gas and points out leaks. Workers then spray a soapy mix on the meter and watch for bubbles to pinpoint the leak. The process is fairly simple, but very important. Hiring college students to handle the job frees up full-time employees for bigger issues.
"If we have power outages or any other kind of emergencies those employees are available to respond to those and other customer work isn't pushed back because of the maintenance we need to do every few years," said Van Zile.
If you see young people in neon WPS vests in your yard, don't be alarmed, but DO consider how your dog might respond to a stranger on their turf. Every year several WPS workers are attacked by dogs.
BEAVER DAM (AP) - Wisconsin Democratic voters are getting nervous over their large field of candidates running for governor.
The primary isn't until Aug. 14. No one has emerged as the clear front-runner ahead of next weekend's state convention. And no one is showing signs of dropping out.
Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Scott Walker is stockpiling resources and is in the middle of a $1.4 million TV ad campaign where he's run three ads unopposed touting his record.
Democrat Denise Hutchison, of Green Bay, says she hopes the field will narrow. She's optimistic that may happen after this weekend's state Democratic Party convention. But she also thinks whoever wins the primary will get the full support of Democratic voters.
MADISON (AP) - \Wisconsin dairy farmers have broken their streak of year-over-year production increases.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Wisconsin farmers produced about 2.5 billion pounds of milk last month, down 0.6 percent from 2017.
Bob Cropp is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He tells Wisconsin Public Radio that the slowdown in production is good for milk prices. Prices have been low for three straight years because of an abundance of milk on the market.
The USDA report says there were 5,000 fewer cows in the state compared to last year.
Darin Von Ruden is president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. He says farms that remained open faced cold and snowy conditions this spring.
Cropp says some experts believe milk prices may reach $17 per 100 pounds by November.
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