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Supreme Court puts limits on WI absentee ballots Submitted: 04/06/2020
WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court blocked part of a lower court decision to extend the absentee voting deadline in Wisconsin.

A federal judge in the Western District of Wisconsin issued a ruling last week extending the state's absentee ballot deadline to April 13.  However, the Supreme Court ruled absentee ballots must still be postmarked by Spring Election Day, April 7th.  They must also be received by April 13th.

As their meeting, Monday night, the Wisconsin Election Commission said about 45,000 absentee ballots are still out in Wisconsin.

Story By: Justin Betti

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 LOCAL NEWS

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RHINELANDER - The Lights of the Northwoods Festival draws in hundreds of people to experience the best light-show in the area. Leaders from the festival want the community to know that the staff is still working to light up the Northwoods.

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ONEIDA COUNTY -
Oneida County health officials confirmed two more people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the county's total to 5.

Health officials say the 4th individual is in their 50's and has traveled outside the community, but has not had any contact with any of the previously confirmed cases in the county.  That person is now in isolation.

They say the 5th individual is in their 70's, and is currently in the hospital.  They say they person has not had contact with any of the previously confirmed cases in the county, nor have they traveled outside of the community.



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RHINELANDER -
The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing face masks to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Stores in our area that sell the materials to make them have been declared non-essential, though.

"I don't want to jeopardize anybody's health and be open as usual," store owner Mary Wilke said.

Wilke knew she had to close both of her Sew Smart crafting supply stores as soon as COVID-19 appeared, but she was offering curbside delivery until she got a call.

"The health department called me and told me that I was not abiding by the law and I had to cease immediately and I could no longer do that," Wilke said. "The only options I had were to do mail order or deliveries."

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RHINELANDER - As the Coronavirus spreads across the world, medical professionals balance giving patients the best care possible while also keeping themselves healthy.

That juggling act forced many healthcare providers to stay away from their families -- fearing they may bring the virus home.

One local church opened its doors to give them a clean, safe, and free place to stay. 

"We said hey we aren't going to wait around for someone else to do it, we wanted to do something positive for the community." said Lead Pastor Joseph Fehlen. 

The Grace Foursquare Church in Rhinelander transformed its Family Life Center into a place for medical professionals to stay.  

"We were sitting around thinking what in the world can we do with our empty buildings. We were just like hey how about we open up our Family Life Center for medical professionals that might be scared to go home or can't go home because they are interacting with the Coronavirus," Fehlen said. 

Fehlen says there are eight beds available with most household items handy.   

"We've got some items donated. Slumberland gave us an amazing deal. Home Depot has been working with us to give us different supplies. People in our church have already donated and just the outpouring of people who've offered to help," Fehlen said. 

The church assures that all spaces have been deep cleaned and prepared for the healthcare workers.

"There's a lot of space, there's a washer and dryer they can use when they come in. So there's a lot of things to do to keep it sanitized and we will have out bleach bottles and wipes all over the place," Fehlen said. 

Fehlen says the church space will be available for as long as it's needed. In the meantime he hopes positive actions like this will keep the community moving forward during these times of need.

"Hang around with people who are hope dealers, dealing out hope, graciousness, love, forgiveness and acceptance to each other. Find those people," Fehlen said. 

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 REGIONAL NEWS

MADISON - The number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Wisconsin is up to 77 as of Monday, the state Department of Health Services reported.

That is an increase of nine people from Sunday. There have now been deaths reported in 16 counties. More than half of all deaths, 40, have occurred in Milwaukee County, followed by Dane County with nine.

As of Monday, there were 2,440 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. But because testing is not widespread, health officials continue to caution the actual number of cases is far higher.

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MILWAUKEE -
A second person has died of injuries suffered in a crash caused by a homicide suspect fleeing from law enforcement in Milwaukee.

A 23-year-old man died over the weekend after he was critically injured in a crash Friday that also caused the death of a 20-year-old woman.

The 27-year-old suspect is wanted for a homicide in Minot, North Dakota.

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WISCONSIN - Gov. Tony Evers announced Saturday that the state of Wisconsin has been granted a major disaster declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides access to Public Assistance programs for all 72 Wisconsin counties and federally recognized tribes.

"I am grateful for the swift action of the federal government in reviewing our request for a major disaster declaration," said Gov. Evers. "The assistance granted today will help ensure Wisconsin can gain access to critical assistance as we continue our work to respond to this pandemic."

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MADISON (AP) - Wisconsin's attempt to conduct an election in the midst of a coronavirus crisis lurched forward Friday, with a Democratic governor pushing for an all-mail election to replace in-person voting and Republican leaders refusing to budge.

Just three days before Tuesday's spring primary, which features the Democratic presidential contest plus a high-stakes state Supreme Court race, a federal judge had extended absentee voting through April 13 but refused requests to postpone the election.

With thousands of poll workers quitting, Gov. Tony Evers for the first time Friday called for an all-mail election, ordering a special session Saturday and asking the Republican-dominated Legislature to agree.

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