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Aspirus Langlade Hospital seeks to reduce carbon footprint, installs solar panelsSubmitted: 08/15/2019
Story By Ben Meyer

Aspirus Langlade Hospital seeks to reduce carbon footprint, installs solar panels
ANTIGO - Aspirus Langlade Hospital in Antigo knows the environmental impact it has.

Healthcare facilities use a lot of power, and they have a considerable carbon footprint.

But the hospital has lofty goals for being more environmentally friendly. It hopes to set a model for how the medical industry can coexist with a clean environment.

In a few weeks, Director of Maintenance and Facilities Jason Noskowiak will flip a switch to start the flow of solar power into the hospital

The 10,000 square feet of new solar panels on the hospital's roof are all in place. When they're up and running, they will produce four percent of the building's power.


"Our goal, as a system, is to reduce our carbon footprint by 30 percent in the next three years," said Noskowiak.

The Antigo location is the first of the system's eight hospitals to get solar panels. In a decade, the hospital plans to reduce its carbon impact by 80 percent.

"It's pretty exciting to be part of that and to be leading the charge of something that will be there for decades," Noskowiak said.

But the panels are only a part of the organization's efforts.

"This is a project here that we are very proud of for the community," said Sarah Olafson, a marketing and communications specialist for the hospital.

The hospital uses paper straws, toilets that save water, and lots of natural light.

"Aspirus Langlade Hospital is committed to giving back to this community. Part of that commitment is our commitment to renewable energy, to recycle what we have now and focusing on the future," Olafson said.

Aspirus plans to install panels on other hospitals and clinics.

Langlade Hospital worked with a local contractor on the panel project. North Wind Renewable Energy in Stevens Point installed the solar array.

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Students and parents have been patiently waiting to hear from local school districts on what classes will look like in the fall.

Last night, the Three Lakes School District flipped the script, they instead took questions from community members to hear their concerns.

Educating is a stressful job, now imagine trying to plan a school year around a global pandemic, and combine that with answering questions from nearly 130 parents in one night. That's a day in Teri Maney's shoes.

"It was truly a listening session...this was laying the groundwork so people have an idea of what we're planning and thinking about at the district," Maney said. 

 Those plans primarily aim to have students back in the classroom full time.

 "That would be our goal to return on site five days a week," she added. 

But with COVID-19 showing no signs of letting up in the U.S. backup plans will be in place for any changes.

"Our next level would be a blended approach," Maney added, "We're keeping our primary focus on elementary students being on site and that might mean for our junior high and high school, a little shift of scheduling."

Three Lakes would then approach any positive cases in the district through guidelines from Oneida and Vilas county health officials.

"We also have a plan for if we would have a positive identification in a grade level, or a teacher, or if there's a teacher. We would not want to shut down the entire district," Maney explained. 

But if things don't go as planned, Three Lakes will be fully prepared for online classes.

"The last level, level four, that would be fully remote instruction."

The school board will vote on Monday night at 6:30 whether or not they will continue with the district's plan. 


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WAUSAU - It's world breastfeeding week: a time to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

When it comes to getting a newborn the nutrients it needs, breastfeeding is the safest and healthiest option. They get everything they need to grow healthy and strong in their mother's milk.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says increasing breastfeeding could save more than 800,000 newborns every year, the majority being under six months old.

Newborns can also develop immunity to illnesses like colds from receiving breast milk.

And the benefits of breastfeeding aren't just for the baby.

Jackie Barnet is a lactation consultant at the Aspirus birthing center in Wausau. She helps new moms get ready to breastfeed.

She says mothers who breastfeed have a lesser chance of developing some cancers.

"Moms also have lots of benefits of breastfeeding. One of them is a decreased risk of breast cancer," said Barnet.

A decreased risk of ovarian cancer, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes are among the benefits. The practice also helps moms recover from childbirth faster.

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