RHINELANDER - Neighbors of a proposed halfway house in Rhinelander packed City Hall this week to oppose the project.
Their advocacy was effective.
A city commission recommended the City Council deny a private agency's ability to set up the house.
It would serve recovering ex-convicts.
But some others point out the good things a halfway house could provide.
Tony Fralick has worked at Community House in Rhinelander for three years.
It's a different kind of halfway house - serving people with mental illnesses instead of ex-convicts with drug and alcohol problems.
But like the proposed house on Phillip Street, there was plenty of skepticism about Community House in the beginning.
People worried about their new neighbors, their own safety, and property values.
That was in the late 1980s.
"A lot of our guys and women in Community House go in the community every day. You wouldn't even know it. We haven't had any problems with the neighbors since. People just accept it. They're like, hey, they do good work there," Fralick says.
Opponents are concerned the new halfway house would be near their homes, a city park, and a school bus stop.
Fralick doesn't live in that neighborhood.
But he thinks the chance for people to do GOOD outweighs their concerns.
"I understand their concerns, and their safety, and their stuff, and their homes, and everything. That's fine. I'd feel the same way. But at the end of the day it's about making a difference. It's about helping people. It's about second chances. We all deserve one," Fralick says.
The city's Planning Commission rejected the idea on Wednesday.
But nothing is decided just yet.
The City Council will have the final say on April 14th.
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.
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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