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Local interest in solar energy growingSubmitted: 08/19/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

Local interest in solar energy growing
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.



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RHINELANDER - Nicole Hanse has a passion for health and she took a risk on it.

"I just kind of put a business out there," said Hanse.

That business started two years ago. But it wasn't just a love for wellness that motivated the start of a career in holistic living.

"I have Celiac Disease," Hanse said.

It's a disease that causes migraines, fatigue, and can keep her body from getting the nutrition she needs.

So Hanse decided to help everyone stay healthy after she learned how to help keep her health in good form. That's by proper diet, exercise, and the use of chemical free products like essential oils.

"Products that they can use in the home to reduce the toxic load for personal care products," she continued.

Even with four years of using and distributing Young Living Essential Oils, people still have their doubts on what she does.

"A lot of people don't know what health coaching is or people are just kind of apprehensive," Hanse said.

But Kristal Blomberg is one person who wasn't apprehensive about working with Hanse. They've been working together for about a year using essential oils to help their lives.

"I used to get chronic sinus infections and always at the doctors getting prescriptions and stuff," Blomberg said.

As a small Northwoods health and wellness business, Hanse wants to provide people with information they can use to better their lives.

"I want them to be empowered by knowledge and that's simply it," said Hanse.

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RHINELANDER - It's easy to slip on ice, skid on roads, or get stuck in the snow.

One thing that also happens is joint pain from common winter activities.

Shoveling snow is one of the biggest problems Rhinelander Chiropractor Dr. Tony Lowenberg sees causing this pain.

He said shoveling snow is a physical activity that can cause excessive stress on the body; especially for people who don't lift heavy often.

"Lifting and the twisting creates wear and tear on their body. Then [people] feel it as pain and then their muscles get tight," said Dr. Lowenberg.

Landscaper Greg Piasecki shovels snow as part of his job.

He said that shoveling snow causes him to have lower back pain. He needs to take pain relievers before and after.

"It's hard on your body if you shovel a lot," Piasecki said.

Dr. Lowenberg said chiropractic care can help prevent pain.

He also recommended stretching beforehand to warm up your body.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. -elect Tony Evers and incoming Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will go on a statewide budget listening tour starting this week.

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MADISON (WMTV) -

Five people were injured after a shooting and stabbing on the east side of Madison early Sunday morning.

Police were sent to Visions Nightclub at 3554 E. Washington Ave. for a fight in progress at 1:44 a.m., according to Madison Police Chief Mike Koval's blog.


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THREE LAKES - Local businesses got a chance to show off their creations Sunday at Fika's Bakery and Coffee in Three Lakes. 

People could come in and get a cup of coffee while seeing the different things for sale.

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MILWAUKEE - City and county officials in Milwaukee have released a list of recommendations to fight overdose deaths caused by drugs, which include increasing access to resources and education efforts.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the City-County Heroin, Opioid, and Cocaine Task Force's recommendations include developing safe needle exchange programs, offering rapid drug testing kits and creating incentives to encourage property owners to rent to recovering patients.

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MINOCQUA - Minocqua Winter Park opened its doors for its ski season this weekend, about three weeks earlier than past years.

Jo Horton comes to the park almost everyday to get her daily exercise in.
"I love to exercise and skiing is my winter sport," said Horton.

She gets to put on her skis earlier this year thanks to Jon Hollander. Hollander is a part of the park's trail committee.

"It's a lot of work," said Hollander. "The hardest part of the job is clearing down trees."

Hollander said they were able to open early because he continued to groom in the summer months.

"It's removing stumps, rocks, and boulders," said Hollander.

But he said all his hard work makes it worth it when he sees people like Horton getting out on the trails.

"The fun part is to see people come out and enjoy the park," said Hollander.
"A day like today is excellent," said Horton.

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