RHINELANDER - Rhinelander police can start cleaning out the department's evidence storage.
Some of that evidence dates back to the early 1990s.
A few months ago, the department asked the city council to pass an ordinance telling the department how to go about getting rid of unclaimed property.
The city council did just that.
"The new ordinance, as it's been passed, is going to allow us to be able to contact people who had the rights to that property, see if they're still interested in it, and if they're not, we'll be able to auction the property off," said Rhinelander Police Chief Michael Steffes.
The people will have 30 days to claim their property.
Officers haven't started going through the evidence room yet.
"Our detectives, as they have discretionary time, will be able to go into there, assess cases that are - starting with our oldest cases that we have, determine whether or not the cases have completely gone through the courts, and if the evidence is available to be disposed of," Steffes explained.
The department will most likely use an online auction site.
Unclaimed cash and any money made from the auction will be put in the city's general fund.
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.
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.
MERRILL - People on the west side of Merrill will need to put up with the sound of construction this summer. What was once an empty lot will now be the site of the Stonebridge Apartments. The apartments are a new source of affordable housing in Merrill and should be complete by the late summer.
When you're looking at Park Place apartments in Merrill, you might confuse the building with something else.
"I think Park Place looks like a 1970s dormitory at UW Madison," said Merrill Area Housing Authority Executive Director Paul Russell.
But a new apartment complex being built just across the street is going to offer a different look.
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