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Spending approved to enhance election securitySubmitted: 04/18/2018
Spending approved to enhance election security
Story By Associated Press

MADISON - The Wisconsin Elections Commission has approved moving ahead with spending some of a $7 million federal grant to hire additional staff and enhance security protections ahead of the fall elections.

The nearly $7 million grant under the Help American Vote Act comes after Wisconsin was identified as a state that was targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 election.

Immediate needs to be addressed with some of the money include hiring up to six new staff, including a security trainer and voter registration data specialist, and purchasing multi-factor authentication software to improve security in Wisconsin's voter registration database.

Commission Chairman Mark Thomsen says additional spending may be directed toward needs of local election clerks. He says the commission needs to "think big" about how to spend the money.

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BEAVER DAM (AP) - Wisconsin Democratic voters are getting nervous over their large field of candidates running for governor.

The primary isn't until Aug. 14. No one has emerged as the clear front-runner ahead of next weekend's state convention. And no one is showing signs of dropping out.

Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Scott Walker is stockpiling resources and is in the middle of a $1.4 million TV ad campaign where he's run three ads unopposed touting his record.

Democrat Denise Hutchison, of Green Bay, says she hopes the field will narrow. She's optimistic that may happen after this weekend's state Democratic Party convention. But she also thinks whoever wins the primary will get the full support of Democratic voters.

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MADISON (AP) - \Wisconsin dairy farmers have broken their streak of year-over-year production increases.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Wisconsin farmers produced about 2.5 billion pounds of milk last month, down 0.6 percent from 2017.

Bob Cropp is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He tells Wisconsin Public Radio that the slowdown in production is good for milk prices. Prices have been low for three straight years because of an abundance of milk on the market.

The USDA report says there were 5,000 fewer cows in the state compared to last year.

Darin Von Ruden is president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. He says farms that remained open faced cold and snowy conditions this spring.

Cropp says some experts believe milk prices may reach $17 per 100 pounds by November.

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TOWN OF RINGLE - Emergency responders got a report of a garage fire around 12:43 a.m. Saturday morning in the Town of Ringle according to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office.

When firefighters arrived to the 11000 block of Oasis Drive, the unattached garage was engulfed in flames. The sheriff's office reports the garage, which was used as a workshop, is a total loss. 

Ringle Fire, along with Wausau Fire, Easton Fire, and SAFER Fire, were able to extinguish the fire before the home became totally involved. But the side of the home does have significant damage.

The fire department and sheriff's office are investigating the cause of the fire. 



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RHINELANDER - Some people bought a brat Saturday in support of a Northwoods organization. Wild Instincts held a brat sale fundraiser outside of Trig's in Rhinelander.

Volunteers sold brats, hot dogs, and even veggie dogs for the sale. 

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MILWAUKEE - Law enforcement officers are looking for 25-year-old inmate Tasir Bhatti who escaped from the Marshall Sherrer Correctional Center in Milwaukee. 

Bhatti was serving a five-year sentence for drug charges. The Department of Corrections reported the inmate's escape to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and the Milwaukee Police Department.

Bhatti is 5'9, 179 lbs., and has brown hair and eyes. Anyone with information regarding Bhatti's location should immediately contact law enforcement. 

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RHINELANDER - Dozens of people geared up for golf with top of the line, professional golfing equipment at Northwood Golf Club in Rhinelander Saturday.

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He'll take you outside the Tomahawk Police Department to show you the guard posts.

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