Solar panels save school district moneySubmitted: 05/14/2018
Solar panels save school district money
Ryan Sandberg
Ryan Sandberg
Meteorologist/News Producer

EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines School District hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday to celebrate its new solar panel system.

The District flipped the switch on last fall, but waited for nicer weather to make it official.

The sun plays a big role to help power the Northland Pines School District.

Last November, the district began using its new solar panel system at the Eagle River Elementary School and the Northland Pines Middle and High School.

"We're looking at trying to be very fiscally responsible. Save as much money as we can for our tax payers," said Northland Pines District Administrator Mike Richie.

Since November, about 1,000 solar panels have saved the school district more than $15,000 in energy.
The system will generate about 430,000 kilowatt-hours in a year, which will be about 22 percent of the buildings' use.

"School districts are struggling for dollars around the country, specially Wisconsin. And this gives them a tool to reduce their energy cost," said Mark Hanson of Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction.

The solar project also has many educational benefits.

"This is a chance for students to learn about solar, have it in their curriculum, and also see it as a path forward for future jobs," said Hanson.

Richie hopes the project continues for many years to come.

"It looks like it's going to produce about anywhere between $40,000 to $70,000 per year at the end of its twelfth year. If those numbers hold true, it'd be a very wise investment for the school district to continue with this project," said Richie.

Thanks to a third-party investor, the school district has no upfront costs for the solar system.

People can go the Northland Pines District website to see just how much energy the solar panels produce and how much money is saved over time.

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RHINELANDER - Hardly anyone goes through life without knowing someone who is affected by cancer in some way.

Thursday evening people gathered to honor those impacted by cancer at the11th annual Celebration of Life in Rhinelander.

Organizers emphasized that cancer survivors can still live active and productive lives.

Becky Gauthier of Rhinelander gave the keynote speech.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2017.

She shared her story that's been driven by courage.

"If it's ever you, just have hope," Gauthier said. "Don't ever give up. Just know that miracles happen every day and even if they tell you bad news, it doesn't mean it's your future."

At the end of the ceremony organizers released butterflies as a symbol of hope. 

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RHINELANDER - The Wilderness Queen river boat moved from the Willow Flowage to its home in Rhinelander 10 years ago.
Later this fall it will move again, but sadly much farther away.

Owner Patty Zastrow sold the boat to people from southern Wisconsin.  She's moving out of state with her husband.

Zastrow is sad to see the boat leave the Northwoods after owning it for six years.  Current State Senator Tom Tiffany owned the boat for 20 years and ran it on the Flowage in western Oneida County before selling it.

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NORTHWOODS - Trout Habitat Project coordinator Kyle Siebers volunteers his time searching the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest for flat, dry streams and rivers.

"I've always been interested in the outdoors," said Siebers. "I just wanted to give back."

Siebers worked alongside CNNF biologists, technicians, and volunteers to restore trout habitats. The group recently restored a quarter mile of habitat for Wild Brook trout near Wabeno.

"We built brush bundles and cut the woody vegetation along the stream banks and then we bundled that together to put in the stream to narrow it," said Siebers.

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MILWAUKEE - A bus driver took action when she saw a little girl standing in the street in a T-shirt and underwear.

Diana Serrano was beginning her route for the Milwaukee County Transit System on Aug. 4 when a motorist in front of the bus stopped to help the girl and carried her to the side of the road.

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NEW YORK - Fans are mourning Aretha Franklin at some of the places where the legendary singer performed.

Several people, some visibly mourning, walked or drove by New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit Thursday morning after news of Franklin's death was announced. Franklin's voice on some of the songs she made hits streamed from the second floor of a home across the street.

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MADISON - Conservative state appeals court Judge Brian Hagedorn is running for Wisconsin Supreme Court, setting up a contest with liberal-backed Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer.

Hagedorn is Governor Scott Walker's former chief legal counsel. He announced his run for the state's highest court on Thursday. The election to replace retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson is in April.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/16/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll tell you about a quarterback from Chequamegon High School who was recently diagnosed with cancer but is now ready to play football for the Screaming Eagles.

And we'll take you to a stream in the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest where a group of volunteers want to restore the trout population

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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