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UPDATE: Storm knocks out power for thousands across the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 08/26/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson

UPDATE: Storm knocks out power for thousands across the Northwoods
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.

Those lines may still be live.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - Stepping onto a boat and casting a line doesn't come easy for some people.

The Northwoods "Let's Go Fishing" pontoon helps veterans, seniors, the disabled get on the lake for a day of fun.

The Northwoods chapter needs volunteer captains and mates to keep the rides running.

The first training session is tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the Pavilion at Hodag Park in Rhinelander.

Chapter President Mark Schroeder says the program is like lake therapy.

"Hey for one thing we are out on the water. It's something that is good for all us; it is good for everyone really," said Schroeder.

Anyone can volunteer to be a captain or a mate.

The training takes about two hours.

"When you're out in the water, there's something that happens. It is the look that people have, it's the smile have. It truly changes your attitude towards life," said Pastor Rod Ankrom of Calvary Baptist Church.

Pontoon rides run through mid-September.

If you want to schedule a ride or volunteer, call 715-219-5436.



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WAUSAU - People in Wausau walked, biked, and ran through a busy street in the downtown area Sunday afternoon. But they didn't have to worry about any cars.

This was the first-ever Open Streets Wausau event. From noon to 4 p.m., most of 3rd St. from the mall to Wausau Ave. was open to only pedestrians.

The open streets event is an international movement, but was introduced to Wausau thanks to one man.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - The Lincoln County Jail needs help finding an inmate that didn't return to jail on Friday.

Chastity Lerae Ritchie, 24, is serving a sentence for failing to pay child support.

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WAUSAU - People in Wausau walked, biked, and ran through a busy street in the downtown area Sunday afternoon. But they didn't have to worry about any cars.

This was the first-ever Open Streets Wausau event. From noon to 4 p.m., most of 3rd St. from the mall to Wausau Ave. was open to only pedestrians.

The open streets event is an international movement, but was introduced to Wausau thanks to one man.

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PHILLIPS - Each year an event in the Northwoods gives people the chance to learn about Wisconsin history. This year's theme focused on Native American culture.

"Our elders tell us by understanding where you've been then you have a better understanding of where you're going in life," said Wayne Valliere.

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RHINELANDER - An 11-year-old boy wandered away from home this afternoon in Rhinelander.

Luckily, he was found safe about an hour later at around 5pm.

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MINOCQUA - Girls on the Run of the Northwoods hosted a community run Saturday at Minocqua's Torpy Park.

For those who may not know what Girls on the Run is all about, it's an organization helping young girls to be confident and healthy.

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