THREE LAKES - You could soon get to your favorite websites faster in parts of Central and Northern Wisconsin.
The state will use $4.2 million from the federal government to boost broadband at libraries in Wisconsin.
That includes the Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes. Demmer Memorial Library Director Janet Dixon says the upgrade will make their internet three times faster for the same price they pay now.
"Our patrons are doing a lot of research on our computers now and sometimes they're awfully slow and we would really like to have that consistent speed for them," Dixon said.
More than 350 libraries across Wisconsin will get the internet speed boost.
Dixon says the fiber broadband will get their connection from 3mbps to 10mbps. She believes the upgrade will help rural areas avoid falling behind in technology and opportunity.
"I think the speed is important for them (patrons)," Dixon said. "So we want to be able to provide that even though we're up here in the Northwoods, we want to have good internet service."
Workers will start laying the broadband fiber lines in April. That means libraries could get the broadband boost by November. State Superintendent Tony Evers is excited for the project.
"More than 60 percent of our public libraries report inadequate Internet connection speeds to serve library patrons," Evers said in a press release. "Many of our libraries are the only public Internet access in their small, rural communities. Our libraries provide online education resources for students of all ages including BadgerLink services for job seekers and information on government services so this upgrade of Internet connectivity will be a welcome improvement across the state."
Planning for the project started in 2013 and is a part of improving the state's BadgerNet broadband connection.
RHINELANDER - People lived through detours, dust, and demolition throughout most of 2016 in downtown Rhinelander. Residents won't see that kind of work in 2017, but the city is planning more closures and road work to finish up the Streetscape Project.
Crews will start with the Davenport Street Bridge shutting down for a month in starting April 17. Public Works Director Tim Kingman says some sections of concrete, sidewalk, and asphalt pavement shifted, settled and cracked over the winter.
TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk High School sporting events got an attendance boost this winter. At the same time, local charities benefited from the community's generosity.
The school's Varsity Club sponsored six nights of special events, one for each winter sport. The Varsity Club gave out T-shirts printed with team rosters. Meanwhile, fans brought donations for local charities.
"Each kid would walk in and they'd put on their T-shirt," said Varsity Club member Jackie Elliott. "When we got our student section going, they were all together, and you just had this block of white. It was awesome."
RHINELANDER - Cracked concrete, twisted rebar, and overgrown trees and bushes don't paint the most ideal picture for a park. But a Rhinelander alderman sees the perfect chance for a peaceful place to enjoy nature.
Alderman Alex Young hopes to turn an old snow dumping dock site into a "pocket park." The site sits where Norway Street runs into the Wisconsin River behind Ripco Credit Union and the DNR Service Center building.
WAUSAU - A contractor fell from a ladder and died at the construction site of the new Hilton Garden Inn in Wausau last week. Now, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.
Marathon County Sheriff's Captain Dale Wisnewski said Shane J. Cash, 45, of Wisconsin Rapids was drilling holes in the ceiling on Thursday when he fell from his ladder and died on scene.
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