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updated: 2/7/2014 5:36 PM

Wisconsin residents help neighbors short on propane

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AMBERG, Wis. -- Residents and businesses in northern Wisconsin are helping neighbors make it through the region's propane shortage.

Amberg residents have shared supplies of the gas that's used for heating and cooking, the Press-Gazette Media (http://gbpg.net/1e9mdPw ) reported.

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Some residents and cabin owners who had spare liquid propane donated it to those who did not. And some small communities offered up town offices and facilities to act as warming stations.

Wisconsin is one of several Midwest states struggling with a propane shortage after farmers' late harvests depleted regional supplies. Farmers use the gas to dry crops for storage. And as colder-than-normal temperatures spread across much of the country, supplies dropped to the lowest level ever last month.

"I know everybody, and I'm watching my neighbors and friends suffer through this," said Tom Oldenburg, who owns and operates Driftwood Sport and Fuel just off U.S. 141 in Amberg. "It's hard."

State officials have loosened highway regulations and provided state and federal aid to residents. Business owners in the area said they've made late-night deliveries to residents with low supplies.

Eric Burmeister, director of Marinette County Emergency Management, said the push to get fuel into the region, and an influx of funds through state programs, helped the area get through what appears to be the most critical part of the situation.

"Not that the state, or the Midwest, is out of this propane shortage, but here in Marinette County we're balancing again," Burmeister said. "We're out of that critical stage where we had people who were out of fuel or below 10 percent."

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