ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - More than 6,000 Wisconsin Public Service customers got ready for the day in the dark Monday morning.
Storms caused major power outages across the Northwoods.
"3:45 a.m. this morning the storm kind of came into our service territory starting in the Minocqua area moving through to kind of Eagle River, Rhinelander, down into the Wausau area," says WPS Community Relations representative Kelly Zagrzebski.
The majority of the outages were in Eagle River, Rhinelander and Wausau.
Merrill, Tomahawk, and Elcho had some outages, too.
"The majority of the damage that we're seeing from this storm is blown fuses, blown transformers, lots of lightning strikes. A little bit of wind up in the Rhinelander area, not so much down in the Wausau location," adds Zagrzebski.
WPS sent more than 20 crews out to turn the power back on.
4,000 homes got their power back by 10 o'clock Monday morning.
"We really want to encourage people to make sure that they give us a call when their power does go out. Don't assume that their neighbors are calling," says Zagrzebski.
They also want to remind customers to stay away from downed power lines.
MADISON - Wisconsin Elections Commission staff plan to hire a half-dozen new employees and upgrade software to bolster election security.
The commission received a $7 million federal grant in March to upgrade security after Russian actors tried to access a state Department of Workforce Development system before the 2016 election.
Staff told the commission Thursday that the Department of Administration has approved hiring six new four-year security positions, including an information technology project manager, an elections security trainer and a voting systems specialist.
MADISON - The Wisconsin Elections Commission has agreed to lift overseas ballot restrictions to avoid a legal battle.
The U.S. Department of Justice warned earlier this month that it's preparing to sue because Wisconsin law doesn't let temporary overseas voters to obtain ballots electronically or to submit downloadable back-up ballots in case they don't have time to return an official ballot.
Federal law allows all overseas voters to obtain ballots electronically and submit back-up ballots. Assembly Republicans passed a bill that would have aligned Wisconsin's statutes with the federal law but the measure died in April after Senate Republicans added language limiting special legislative elections.
FOX CROSSING - State justice officials say a police officer in the Fox Valley has fatally shot a suspect.
The Department of Justice says Fox Crossing police responded to a report of a man threatening people at Fritze Park Wednesday afternoon. Police say numerous people called about a man who they said was acting erratically and was armed with a knife.
MERRILL - Three years ago, Lincoln County got good news.
The federal government planned to spend $1.5 million to help give rural parts of the county broadband internet access. It was part of Frontier Communications' agreement to accept $283 million for broadband expansion nationwide.
But then, the contractors, equipment, and better internet were slow to arrive.
Now, Frontier is finally at work, but plenty of people are still waiting anxiously for their high-speed connection.
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