WAUSAU - Water and sidewalk chalk don't mix very well.
The rain put many artists at Chalkfest in Wausau behind on schedule to finish up their artwork. That's because organizers had to cover all of the artwork with plastic for a few hours.
"The only thing that can really mess us up is rain. We're prepared for that every year. We have plastic laid out ahead of time with staples and duct tape. Once we know the rain is coming we mobilize everyone on the square and we all help and we get it done," said Mort McBain, an event organizer.
This year, the artists had to cover up their artwork before it even started raining. That's because organizers didn't want to risk any piece getting ruined.
"We've had a couple of really nice pieces ruined by the rain. Every year it happens. This year, we made a special effort because we knew it was going to be rainy," said McBain.
Organizers use a very strong plastic to cover up the artwork. It makes sure no drop of water smudges the chalk.
Not only does the plastic cover up and protect the artwork. It also keeps the ground underneath dry. That's important because as soon as it stops raining, the artist can just take it off and finish up what they were working on.
However, not all water ruins chalk drawings. Artists need water to help them create their piece.
"You definitely want water because it helps you blend and get the pigment on the concrete. But when it's coming from the sky, you can't control it and it runs all over the place," said featured artist Brett Budzinski.
Raindrops create small smudges. That can make the drawing look fuzzy. Artists and organizers want to avoid that.
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 - 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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